{.cold turkey much.}

by devourslowly

Self: Hello, my name is <insert name>.
Support Group: Hello <insert name>.
Self: I am a Facebookaholic.
SG: *clap* *clap* *clap*
Self: It has been twenty one days since I quit Facebook.
SG: *clap* *clap* *clap*

For over a year I had an on-off relationship with Facebook.  There were times when I spent hours on the site, nosing into businesses that were not mine and times when I stayed off it for so long I couldn’t remember my login details.  As much as I bemoaned the hours sucked in by the Facebook black hole, I also enjoyed indulging in my voyeuristic tendencies legitimised somehow because the information came off a social networking site.

I can’t remember the number of times I came face to face with the deactivate button.

Three weeks ago I pressed it.

Quietly and without ceremony, I left behind the communion of millions that is Facebook.

There goes my tentative link with casual acquaintances from so-and-so’s 21st, playmates from two decades ago, that girl who lent me a pad of refill on the first day of Intermediate and a handful of unrecognisable faces linked to me only because I was too embarrassed to ask who they were.

There goes the hours spent perusing status updates from friends only to be struck with an overwhelming sense of hollowness when I realised that I really couldn’t care less about their engagements/marriages/breakups.  Why should I?  I hardly know them.

There goes the bursting sense of urgency to go through profiles and albums only to weed out my pictures and untag myself.  The Internet has a phenomenal memory, I do not want my grandchildren to dig out that picture of me drinking a bottle of Heineken while wearing a mini dress.  Grandmas are not meant to drink beer, nor are they meant to have legs.

There goes being on the receiving end of bully-by-status-update of ex boyfriends eager to show off how happy they are now that they live lives sans moi.  I knew that would be the case, that is why we broke up in the first place.

But there were people who I only talked to on Facebook.  People who I actually want to keep in touch with.  They were the only hesitation I grappled with for months.  Deactivating my account would mean that they would be lost to me forever.  Clearly I had forgotten about our email addresses.  Dumbo bumbo – gold star to you not to me.

Immediately after quitting, I emailed a selected few to inform them of my defection.  There were only four recipients for that email.  Four – a reassurance that my decision was the right one.  For over 3 years I had exposed my privacy and wasted my time for the sake of four meaningful connections.

One of the four replied with similar sentiment.  He already has one foot out of the Facebook door.  We have known each other since the age of 3 or 4, as bosom as bosom buddies go.  I am relieved that we can exchange frank emails without the intrusion of third party readers. Outside of the infamous four, there are a handful of people I speak to everyday who haven’t even picked up on my lack of Facebook presence.  It has been three weeks guys, where is the love?!

I remember after the end of my first proper relationship I spent hours crying and other times debating the virtue of remaining friends with the boy.  He was a prick of a boyfriend but I didn’t want to let go of that connection we once shared.  U told me something valuable – people grow up and grow apart, it is ok to leave someone behind.  A hard concept for me to accept but I did eventually.  Over the years I tried applying that sentiment to casual relationships.  People do grow up and grow apart and there is nothing wrong with that.  Having these unfiltered connections on Facebook only held me back and slowed me down from moving on.  If I no longer speak to someone in real life then why would I want to be constantly bombarded with their photos and their happenings?  Similarly, why would I want them in on a slice of my life?

I do want to make clear that I am not one of those super weirdos who guards her privacy with fortitude and lives the life of an underground vigilante.  I am not running an antidisestablishmentterrianistic operation that I have to keep my name out of the headlines.  I do not even know what that would involve.

The fact that I have this blog and share minute (and sometimes meaningless) details of what I eat and what I buy speaks for itself.  I don’t mind sharing my life, I just want to control what I do share.

In the eighties and nighties people railed against big brother and questioned the intrusiveness of CCTVs and censuses.  In the noughties we seem to be eager to air our (sometimes dirty) laundry in public for all and sundry.  H has a work colleague who announced his divorce on FB before telling his wife.  Ok, the announcement was in French so I am guessing he figured it would only be read and understood by his family who are French (and presumably can read it).  Clearly he hasn’t been told about Google Translator.  Similarly there are a number of jilted lovers on FB who I was regrettably friends with, eager to paint their recent ex as sad-arse monsters only weeks after posting comments like ‘xxx has the best bf ever, flowers and candies – so spoilt‘.  Make up your mind lady, in the mean time get out of my face.

I do not deny that Facebook has its uses.  If used professionally and emotionless-ly, FB is a great business networking tool.  Sadly people (well, the ones I know anyway) are neither intrinsically professional nor emotionless.  Operating in a sentimental vacuum, Facebook is handy for small start-ups like Cinnamon Spoon.  With a click of the button I could spread the word of my culinary prowess and promise of chocolate brownies that will brighten up your day.  But then I am no marketer and am still learning the craft of mass communication and product promotion.

In the mean time, I could do without the distraction of meaningless updates, wall posts, (sometimes obscene) photos and witticisms that really are not very witty.

It has been three weeks since I freed myself from the Facebook shackles.

I feel fine.