29 Apr 2012
TL;DR: I’ve locked myself out of facebook for a week. Don’t try to contact me via it for anything that’s time-sensitive.
As soon as I click the log-out button on Facebook, I will have effectively locked myself out of the site for a week. Why? I have a hypothesis that the site is a net-negative on my life, and I wanted to test that hypothesis. Going further, I have a hypothesis that social media in general (though there are exceptions) isn’t a particularly worthwhile use of my time. Facebook just happens to be the most obvious (and, in my case, the most used) example of social media.
I’ve been on the site for a few years now, since sometime in 2006, when (if memory serves me) you still needed a .edu email address to sign up. At that point, it was touted as a needed refuge from the staried gif-backgrounded world that was MySpace. It was a place where your peer group had a place to share. MySpace had lost its luster. Mostly, I think, due to the fact that our parents had gotten on the site (sorry, parents). Well, now the same thing has happened to Facebook.
I don’t blame the current lack of utility of Facebook on parents. Social norms have simply pushed “friending” to the point where there are people who I’m “friends” with on Facebook who I wouldn’t ordinarily consider friends. This places a definite limit on what I can or will say on that site.
Looking through my feed, it’s largely dominated by things I actually don’t have any interest in. This isn’t to blame on the people who share things. If that’s their perogative, I don’t take issue with it. It’s just that it doesn’t offer me a whole lot of value.
That largely leaves the final use-case of Facebook: voyeurism. This, I feel, is the most damning of any argument I could have against the site. Facebook has become a way to deciminate information amongst a large group of people who you have some affiliation with. In doing so, it becomes easy to keep up to date with people without actually talking to them.
If you read through my recent posts, you could probably surmise the biggest events in my recent history: an end of a relationship, a commitment to get out of San Francisco, and the purchase of two vehicles. The first is actually unusual in that I’ve posted something about the impact that has had on me in a deeper sense than what I’d ordinarily share on FB, but, even then, it’s hard to get a sense for what I’m actually doing or going through. The insights into my personal life gleaned from FB are largely skin-deep. So it goes for most of the people who I’m friends with on the site.
I don’t know what will come of this. It’s only a week.