Footloose and Facebook-Free

If I were following the instructions laid out before me, I would be linking my blog to the great social networks in the sky. Or Cloud. Being the rascal that I am, I found that I have no such connections to make. I have a Twitter account, but I have never tweeted.   (I read smart people’s tweets and keep my mouth shut.) I do not have a fancy phone, so I have no access to Instagram. And since I am the least professional person in the world (Hugs for coworkers! Blue jeans every day!), I have no interest in LinkedIn. What about Facebook?

It has been said that if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world (with number two quickly becoming likely). Well, then I guess I have seceded from the Facebook nation.

Why other people have shunned Facebook in trendy ways:

The ads are out of control.

I have no problem with ads. They have to serve several billion people. They should make a profit somehow. If an ad here or there helps them cover all the technical requirements and staffing, then let them.

They keep changing their privacy settings/ I think they are selling my information/ they might charge one day.

Again, they are providing the service for free. If they want to offer their product, they get to dictate terms. It is hardly an essential element of life.

I do not like their new layout.

Wait a month or two. It will change. (And odds are, many will cry out how the last format was “Sooo much better!!!!”)

Facebook makes people competitive or only shows one well-manicured view of the person’s world.

Yeah, folks present the reality that they think others want to see. Or they swing to the other side of the pendulum and only talk about the bad things in their life. Whatever lens is used to frame the snapshot of their lives, the viewer should be taking it in knowing that there is more than what is presented.

They are decidedly anti-khakis, only featuring my friends that wear jeans and purposefully erasing the pictures I post that show me wearing those cute khakis I bought when I ran into Stephen King and I think there is a governmental circumventing going on seeing as how khakis are what makes this economy great.

Um… what? No, nevermind.   I think I see someone I need to talk to. On the other side of the room. Bye!

The above reasons are enough for some. There are those reasons, and then there are my reasons. And, since we are talking Facebook, let us make this all about me. 😉

Why I quit Facebook

It is too addictive.

I check too often, knowing that I will receive very little in return for my efforts. I tend to get two to three personal e-mails a week. Why do I check it four times in two hours? Partly I think I have a need to feel important. Also, I think I expect the internet to entertain me.

Now replace “e-mail” with “Facebook” and there is the same problem, but with more sources for stimulation. Having several hundred friends guarantees that something clever was posted, right? No? Well, maybe check back in half an hour. Or twenty minutes.

I read more without it.

Closely tied to the previous reason, this one is backed by facts.

I love books, but I found myself not having time to read as much as I wanted. When I quit Facebook, I went from reading a book or two a month to reading four books a week. That is almost ten times as much. Besides, the books I read are edited for errors and do not require Wi-Fi or Java updates.

People can get a bit out of control

This is my “all under one umbrella” critique. I have read as a friend tried to find her doctor online to send him messages about family health issues. (To my way of thinking, that goes too far over the personal/privacy border. That being said, I do not have children, nor do these imaginary offspring have any serious health concerns.)

Many a time have I heard of friends with people that comment, discuss, and argue on a post that someone else made. They pick an online fight when no one asked their opinion. Freedom of Speech is a tenet which I have much reverence for. However I believe that politeness and even-tempers should also factor in.

It is too easy to get to know people

“How is that a bad thing? Are your friends guilty of crimes?” Part of me wants to claim that the above is invalid. Yet, the romantic side of me has to win out. I see many cute people a day. It would be easy to hop online and learn vast amounts of information about them. I have made friends like that; seeing that we have many common interests.

Still, the softie in me wants to fall in love the old-fashioned way. How do I want to hear all about what a significant other cares about and dreams of?

I want her to tell me.  In person.

I do not want to creep on someone’s page to learn about their life. I want them to about their family as we drive in rush hour traffic and they have get a frustrating text from their little brother that refuses to grow up. I want to know their political views because the politician on television just did something absurd. And I want to hear about their childhood camp experiences because we walk by a lake and someone is kayaking in the early morning.

Or, I could read it all as snippets and links on a computer screen. Blech.

The more intimate you are with a person, the more they tell you the little things about them in a quiet voice. I cannot tell you how much I would rather learn about a person from them, watching their face change and their tone adjust based on what they are saying. Much like any performance, it is infinitely better live.

There are too many really stunning women online

I tend to prefer female friends. They are huggably soft, they are easier to talk to, and we get along better. However, many of my friends are too attractive for my own good. In person, we do just fine. I compliment them when they look spiffy, then go about talking or working together or whatever it is that makes us pals.

The photos however, can get me into trouble.

Let me be clear here. If a woman has a Facebook page, an Instagram account, or any sort of online presence, she has the right to put whatever she wants on there. If she is a free-spirit who loves nude beaches, okay. If she likes to show off questionably placed tattoos then that is her expressing herself. I have no right to try to govern or dictate what parts of her private life are shared.

I am not responsible for them, but I do have to keep myself in check. My friends are mostly in their twenties and thirties. They are attractive people and they like their bodies and being healthy. There is the marathon runner who surfs in her bikini, the mountain climber who lies in the sun with her sports bra and tight pants. In a black and white photo, one of my favorite people adopts a slinky pose on the floor by a sunny window.

I find it far too easy to focus solely on these women’s desirable attributes. They are posting these photos. It is not as though their account has been hacked and images that they do not like have been presented to the world. However if I find myself looking at a picture for more than ten seconds, it is probably time to do something else.

As I said, my gal pals are quite lovely. Their curves are enticing; their smiles are engaging, and their attire suits them. In the real world I can appreciate them as a multi-faceted, quirky character. Online, I can objectify them far too easily. And I would rather be loyal than lascivious.

Selfies

I hate Selfies. I hate that DC had an entire month of covers devoted to Selfies. I feel dirty that a lovely friend had no difficulty in talking me into taking a Selfie with her. There has only been one well-done Selfie. Facebook, and the internet at large, has too many Selfies. (There is more to the world than you! Make it stop! Downfall of society!)

Ahem. Hit a nerve there. Pet peeve. Moving on…

I do not think that Facebook is inherently bad. I think it has many upsides. I like playing Scrabble online with my mom. I think it is much easier to catch up with friends who have moved away as life progressed. I feel that it has made it easier to connect with those one cares about. Still, there are other options.

We have phones (Smart, or otherwise), we can call. We can text. We can, dare I say it; make plans to meet in person. (Audible gasp!)

That is what I have switched to. I will e-mail my friends to catch up and text when something important comes up. I would much rather see their happy smiles face-to-face as opposed to face-to-Facebook.

I do not  think that Facebook is evil.  This is not some rallying cry to get everyone to cease their accounts in some massive groundswell.  However I do know that for me, it is time to mosey along to greener pastures.

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About anecdotaltales

He's a simple enough fellow. He likes movies, comics, radio shows from the 40's, and books. He likes to write and wishes his cat wouldn't shed on his laptop.
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