The Trouble with Facebook

How the FUCK do you get off Facebook?

I thought I could do this.  Today.  I thought:

1) I can figure out a way to just make my blog Facebook my Facebook existence, and re-friend all the friends and potential party invites I will need in the future from my blog.  I’ll make a new personal Facebook that exists only to be the blog admin, and maybe this will actually help me get more traction for the blog!  (Right now Facebook does NOTHING for this blog, and honestly I think people are going to start leaving Facebook in droves to the point where I shouldn’t even start now.)

2) Or – I can keep my personal Facebook and just hide or unfriend everyone I don’t really want to see and make sure I go through all my friends again and shut down all the people who I don’t want to see my posts when I actually do post.  Yeah, this sounds like a fucking great time.

And then, as I logged in to somehow figure out this conundrum,  I got a Facebook friend request from a guy I was virginally in love with from afar my freshman year of high school.  Let’s discuss how serious this was.  A soccer teammate arranged a meeting of me and him after school by the gym.  I was carrying a bunch of discarded flowers that had been dropped near my locker as well as my school books and clothing, and was walking barefoot in my soccer uniform like some kind of disheveled pageant queen.  The friend gesticulated and made some kind of introduction and I basically rolled my eyes and said “hi…” and didn’t even stop walking, I was so embarrassed.  At some point I found a Latin test of his near his locker and made the discovery that he was a poor speller in English and Latin.  Later on I was almost beat up, several times, because his girlfriend (that he got after the one time we spoke) found out 1) that I noted how hot he was in the cafeteria and 2) that I spread some rumor I’d heard about discarded condoms in the backseat of her car.  I mean this guy was it for me at least for 1991 and part of 1992.  So as disgusted I’ve been at the multiplying high school friend requests I had to say yes and at least check out his pictures before I deactivated my account.

Yes, I deactivated, I didn’t delete.  I need some time to think about this.  I just couldn’t handle it today though it’s on my list of minimalist tasks.  Instead, I cleaned out both my hotmail and gmail inboxes and made some startling discoveries there. For example, realizing the amount of odd online memberships I have (today I deleted Flickr, Classmates.com, and tried to get off of some other weird alumni thing and Mandy.com – a site for production people like me), as well as finding emails about a car insurance medical claim (what?) I don’t remember and have no other evidence of.  Where else do I exist online as a random login from 2005 before Facebook took over and started controlling everything?

I remember when I first had access to online and email and chat rooms where I could talk with people across the globe, or connect with people obsessed with the same bands.  It was so exciting!  I met a woman in Boulder who had slept with my very favorite rock star from Spacehog (I later met him at the start of my minimalist awakening in Marfa, Texas – see “Non-Marfa Bullshit”).  I didn’t realize these things were following me around, as I deposited little pieces of myself all over computer networks where they would never go away.

This isn’t the first time I’ve gone through something like this.  In January of 2008, I got off myspace.  I did this because of an ex-boyfriend.  By April I had moved to Colorado, was living with my parents as I worked to re-settle, and was so lonely I joined Facebook to connect with my felllow Detroiters (especially the co-workers I’d been so close with) as well as my new friends in Denver.  I didn’t know it was going to turn into groups and photos and tagging and untagging (it was a real mess the first time I found out what untagging was) and Facebook stalking and high school friends out of the woodwork (including one I didn’t remember who asked to crash on my couch on a cross-country trip) and conversations on Monday mornings at work revolving around what we all saw on Facebook over the weekend and my god, this shit is exhausting.  On the downhill slope for me, those shopping sites that seem so tantalizing, and then require more logins, more passwords… and then finally, not only does Facebook show me things that people I don’t know post because it involves someone I know (I still don’t care), but, THE ADS.  Did we really think this wasn’t coming?

I have been so frustrated by what I see every time I log in, like a drooling dog for distraction, by 90% of what is posted by friends and advertisers on Facebook that I quickly drafted a pros/cons list to help me figure this one out, realizing it was an urgent situation.

Pro – Keep up with family.

Con – Family keeps up with me: my Aunt and Mom both got terribly confused by a post I somehow didn’t block them from, advertising a blog post and featuring a ELEVEN YEAR OLD photo of me, the resulting conversations were awkward and unpleasant.  The photo wasn’t racy at all, so imagine what happens if they read the blog!

Pro – Party invites.

Con – Too many party invites, even from people in different countries (the equivalent of Facebook spam!).

Pro – Sometimes cool stuff is posted.

Con – When this happens, I feel like I should read it or get distracted by fun jokey Facebook wall conversations.

Pro – Sometimes I have fun jokey Facebook conversations.

Con – So much more annoying, anger-inducing stuff is posted, you literally can be unfollowing shit all day.

No matter how many things I tell Facebook I don’t like and don’t want to see, it still keeps asking me, like when my Mom pushes extra helpings on me and I’m already full.

Paradoxically (thanks to a friend for this word), I followed a link from theminimalists.com to a Facebook minimalists group and posted something on the wall about how I wanted to talk to other people about how to deal with technology.  What the fuck was I thinking?  Do I really need to join a minimalists group, let alone one that discusses things on the epicenter of everything not minimalist?  Like, is that really going to simplify my life?

In the hour or so that I’ve been deactivated and cleaning out my inbox, I’ve had a few moments of wanting to quickly type facebook.com in my browser window as I do several times a day.  I often gasp at the number of notifications despite how frequently I unsubscribe from people.  How can you not have 25 notifications per half day when you have 600 friends including people you don’t remember from high school?

But how can I disconnect from something that will show me that guy from high school?

Facebook, I fucking hate you Facebook.  I do not know what to do with you.  I am in your grip, and just like you wanted, you kind of own me.

I guess I could get off and start over and do it “right” this time.  But how can I?  The high school friends will start coming back, the guilt will come back.

Deactivate is all I can handle right now, and I look forward to a lack of distraction for as long as I can take it.

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2 thoughts on “The Trouble with Facebook

  1. Laurie Allen says:

    FB is the herpes of social media. You can never, ever get rid of it completely, only minimize your flare-ups.

  2. I like that analogy. I also think of it as a digital “Country Buffet”, only you don’t pay and you get force fed.

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