Excluded Middles: Quitting Facebook

Fate works in mysterious ways, and today it prompted me to click on the Freshly Pressed button for the first time [I haven’t looked at the FP’d pages since WordPress changed the interface ages ago].
What did I see? A post about why someone quit Facebook.
Given my ongoing ambivalence towards Facebook, I just had to see what it said. And lo… I found all the reasons Facebook is not for me!

Good Things Run Wild

Originally published as โ€œThe Sosyal Networkโ€ in the Manila Bulletin, October 26, 2011

I recently shut down my Facebook account. This is partly for pragmatic reasons: doing so has saved me a lot more time for work and leisure reading. It is partly for security reasons: like most people, I live with an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and am in constant fear of creepy strangers looking at my bikini photos.

I do not regret it. Getting rid of my Facebook account has liberated me from the bondage of constantly keeping up with my peers. I no longer know where everyone else is going and with whom and what they are doing there, and I no longer feel bad or uncool about not being there too. It has also saved me the trouble of trying to find good photos of myself to post, and evaluating my self-worth on the number ofโ€ฆ

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

27 responses to “Excluded Middles: Quitting Facebook

  • anne54

    That was a thought provoking blog, and the comments as well. While I am on FB, I wonder why it has taken hold. It doesn’t appeal to me very much. I am on it so infrequently that I often get messages telling me that I am missing all these interesting invites and notifications while I have “been away”. I originally set it up to promote my art work. I don’t know how useful it has really been, but then I probably haven’t used it effectively.

    Give me a good blog to read any day!

    Like

  • EllaDee

    Facebook – people love it, hate it or manage it. In the early days it was a novelty but now the attraction of hearing and seeing the dross of peoples’ lives… who haven’t moved on, has worn off. That’s where the hide tool comes in and also selective access… I just don’t get why FB glues people to their smartphones.
    I think if people are going to use social media to promote themselves or a product it needs to be separate from their personal profile, and targetted, to have any chance of success. Last year I did an interesting exercise using FB, WP and Twitter to promote a series of blog posts I wrote for a Women in Focus competition, but the results were skewed as I didn’t want to impose too much on my FB family & friends who don’t share my interests in that regard.
    That’s why I keep the persona’s separate, and privacy issues need to be considered by the user as sure as hell the providers have a different set of interests.

    Like

    • acflory

      I began with a personal account on FB and now have an author page but neither is thriving. lol

      It’s interesting but I have one friend who was never into computers at all, but she loves FB. Then again she is a very gregarious person so I guess she finally found a use for the internet that was worthwhile [for her].

      Bottom line for me is that I’m seriously uncomfortable promoting my stuff at the best of times. Annoying family and friends just feels…tacky. Besides, they’re not interested. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I actually prefer Twitter to FB but I’m not that comfortable on Twitter either. My blog is most definitely home.

      Like

  • davidprosser

    I had a period out of FB a few years ago because the mail was overwhelming. Because it was a vehicle to advertise books I went back but shut off all notifications so I no longer get messages constantly about Farm Games etc.
    I’m happy now that I can send links there to my blog, that I can still see personal messages there from people I have no email contact with and like this morning, I can send a contact link to a cause for.If one person buys a book or joins a cause because of my remaining on Facebook then it satisfies my reasons for remaining but no way will it be allowed to intrude on or take over my life.
    xxx Massive Hugs from one hermit to another xxx

    Like

    • acflory

      Actually the causes function can be rather effective but I do wonder if people jump on board because they actually believe in the cause or because everyone else is doing? Not saying that happens with your causes coz I know how important they are to you. Just in general. One thing is for sure, social media has played a massive role in the Arab Spring and if it promotes people power then I can’t argue against it. -semaphores across the ocean-

      Like

  • metan

    No FB for me and I want to keep it that way. Of course I don’t have a book or otherwise to utilize FB’s help to put out there in the world but still… I think that the online world is invasive enough without allowing it yet another foothold in our lives.

    Like

  • Tasha Turner

    I think a lot of it depends on how you use it and why. The author of the article talks about striving to keep up. If there is one thing I’ve learned from social media “keeping up”, worrying about your numbers, and presenting too much of an image that is not you makes social media a nightmare. I suspect I’m helped by having to shut social media off for at least 25 hours every week and for a number of times during the year for 48-72+ hours. I frequently forget to turn my phone back on after Shabbat until sometime Sunday. So I’ve learned to just look over the last hour or so tops.

    Other than being a bit nicer on the Internet than in person I’m pretty much the same person… Or so I’ve been told by the people from the Internet I’ve met in person.

    I also limit my online interaction to an hour a day keeping my list next to me of what my goals are and I stay away from most of the drama. By doing those things it lets me be where I need to be to meet my target market and make connections with them without driving me crazy. But that means learning to turn off notifications and logging all your devices off of social media except when you want to be on it. My clients are learning this and they say its making an impact on how they feel,

    Like

    • acflory

      I think you are more of a people person than me Tasha. That said, I do wish I could be more like you. My head knows I need to crawl out of my hole more and stop being such a hermit, but my heart just isn’t buying it. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Like

      • Tasha Turner

        That could be but I work with introverts. It’s a bit of an adjustment to ones thinking but not nearly as many changes as you fear. I see you are able to comment on others blogs. So I know you can do a bit more. We should talk.

        Personal information: foods, colors, books, cute pictures, other things of interest not super personal details.

        Giving people congrats or if ill/struck by tragedy a few words of support. This goes a long way.

        So much of what I see people doing is wasting time and/or going after the wrong audience.

        Like

  • Jason Reeser

    I think FB is like anything else, it reflects who we are. I hear people talk about this sort of thing all the time, but I wonder, are they image obsessed without FB? I would bet they are. Do they waste time on other pursuits? I’d bet they do. FB is a tool, like anything else. You use it according to who you are. Books don’t make people readers. And food doesn’t make people overeaters. FB can lead to time wasting, or obsessions, but blaming it on FB might be less constructive than some self-examination. And certainly, if you can’t keep from obsessing over it, you should back off or quit. For many of us, FB is a great way to keep up with friends and family. With the tendency towards busy lifestyles we have now, I think FB has allowed me to build relationships I never would have the old fashioned way.

    Like

    • acflory

      Hi Jason. ๐Ÿ™‚ [For those who don’t know, Jason is the author of Lady of the Lazaretto].

      I think you’ve made some great points about FB. As a tool it isn’t responsible for how people use it, however I do wonder if it encourages that self obsession in at least some of those who use it.

      My daughter uses FB primarily as a way to organize outings with her friends but her social networks exist in the MMO’s she plays. To some extend I am the same, preferring to chat with other gamers about issues common to all of us.

      Beyond that however, I’ve never been very sociable so rarely use FB in that way. I am far more comfortable chatting with friends on my blog, or theirs.

      lol – Horses for courses I guess.;)

      Like

  • Candy Korman

    So are YOU going to quit Facebook?

    I was a late adopter of both Facebook & Twitter, but now I enjoy them and find them both to be useful for promoting my books and blogs. I know people who have gotten “lost” in Facebook. They seem to live there and ignore the real world but… that’s not in my nature. Is it in yours? I’m curious.

    It’s funny… I know people who must dance Tango every night (not me). I know people who drink to excess (not me). I know people who cannot do something, anything, in moderation including social media (not me.)

    LOL… I think the only thing I cannot moderate is WRITING. I’m always writing.

    So… Meeka… are you quitting Facebook?

    Like

    • acflory

      -grin- No, I’m not quitting Facebook, mainly because I’m not really /on/ Facebook. I probably spend more time on Goodreads because I’ve found some interesting discussions to join.

      My problem with Facebook is not a fear of addiction but rather an inability to connect to people using that medium.

      I think that comes from always being the outsider. As a kid I’d see everyone else in groups, but I’d never know how to get into those groups myself. Not that much has changed in the last 50 years. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

      • Candy Korman

        I was definitely an “outsider” as a kid and teen, and I can see the way Facebook can be like high school all over again. I just laugh at it now. The important thing is that I’ve found readers on Facebook and that makes all the chit chat worthwhile.

        Like

        • acflory

          “I’ve found readers” Yes, I can see how that would change everything. No such luck for me yet. Unless family and friends have been incredibly quiet about it, I’m pretty sure none of them has read either book. -sigh-

          Like

  • Carrie Rubin

    That’s a good post. Thanks for directing us there. I don’t feel pressure to keep up with FB, but I don’t really think it adds much for me beyond my blog (I mostly use my public FB page; don’t do much with my private one), so I’ve teetered back and forth about getting rid of it. Certainly food for thought.

    Like

    • acflory

      I wasn’t suggesting anyone should quit Facebook because of those reasons! I think I just had a little epiphany about why I find connecting via Facebook so hard.

      Most of the people I call friends don’t give a flying fruitbat about what I’m wearing or where I’ve been.

      Sadly, most of the people I have met on FB don’t care about what I’ve been reading either, or what MMO I’ve been playing, or even much about my views on politics, life, death or the universe. They might care about my love life – if I had one and chose to talk about it – but that is personal. I would rather eat rusty razor blades than talk about those things in such a public forum. So what is there left for me to say?

      All my blog posts are mirrored on FB and Twitter automatically, so I do have a presence of sorts but those posts generate zero interest.

      -shrug-

      Square pegs just don’t go into round holes, and even saying this much makes me feel kind of exposed. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Like

      • Carrie Rubin

        I never share anything personal on FB either, so I suppose that defeats the site’s purpose. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think I’m doing it wrong!

        Like

      • Tasha Turner

        It depends on what you consider personal:
        Favorite colors, flowers, foods, movies, music, memes, animals, books, pictures, blogs, etc.

        You just have to figure out what you are comfortable sharing. Some people mostly share articles, blogs, memes, and hints/tips, even favorite quotes and do fine because they interact with others.

        On the other hand some people share every intimate detail combined with buy my book and they do poorly.

        It’s a matter of finding the right comfort level and making sure that you are commenting and liking your “friends” post (the ones you see and do). The more genuine you are the better most do. That does not mean you give up all privacy.

        Like

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