A month ago today I deleted my Facebook account. I originally joined in 2006. Final year of University. In the computer room queue, people discussed how many friends they had in this strange online community and were eager to update their statuses. I joined more out of intrigue than desire to accumulate my friends into a concrete number. I'd always thought it weird when someone could reel off how many friends they had. The fact that they bothered to count alerted my senses to a loser from loserville.
Soon enough, the bug had bitten. I jumped on the bandwagon- it felt dirty, wrong- and so right all at once. I latched onto the novelty of being social without seeing anyone. Housemates would message me from their bedrooms instead of calling up the stairs because it was more fun that way. I could sit at my desk and still chat with my friends. 'Hey, I'm in the library trying to study!' 'Really? I'm at home writing my essay. Cool.' Yes, it was.
I became the Facebook master. I can hold my own in a conversation but give me a blank page and I am witty perfection in cyber form. It became an addictive tool of procrastination when I really should have been writing my dissertation about Gray's Model of Impulsivity. (Don't ask. I may harm you).
When I left University, however, things changed. Stepping away from my social network- where conversations started online and were resumed in the real world- suddenly I had no real world. My only way of communicating with University friends was through this non-social channel, and it grew tiresome.
All the non-verbal tools of communication- recognition of facial expressions, body language, eye contact, gestures- had no forum on Facebook. Then there's the auditory means of communicating, such as voice tonality. Can we really glean true meaning of speech if it hasn't been spoken?
The accumulation of these points made the decision to quit Facebook an easy one. Friends pleaded with me not to leave and I admit, sometimes, a part of me didn't want to. A small part. When I finally deactivated that account, I felt surprisingly liberated, a feeling which continued. It was no longer necessary to constantly check my page or think of something witty to say. The pressure was off.
So reader, it has been a month. I am in contact with those I wish- not the false set of friends acquired. Gone are those people whose friend requests I accepted because I walked past them in school or smiled at them at work. I have no care except for those I really care about. Now I write letters and pick up that thing called a telephone. How very old fashioned of me...