Social media has been part of my life since the days of MySpace. Before that, it was Diaryland, Yahoo, AIM, ICQ, and other ways of interacting through the miracle that is the internet. I’ve been on blogs, forums, chatrooms, online classrooms, and gotten lost on YouTube far more often than maybe I should have. Online gaming has also caught me up in its clutches, from Farmville to World of Warcraft.
In recent years, and especially in the last year, I’ve been living on Facebook. I even went so far as to join dozens of groups filled with people who either agreed with me on a topic or would be able to teach me things I didn’t know about a topic I was mildly curious to learn more about. It had, essentially, consumed my life and my livelihood.
Because of Facebook, I was having face-to-face conversations with the few people I interacted with in real life, but either referencing/sharing things that I saw on Facebook, or would keep looking at my phone for Facebook. Because of Facebook, I interacted with friends and strangers all over the world so regularly, that I wasn’t updating my blog, working on my business, or even tending to some other more pressing daily necessities.
This weekend, I dumped my entire friend list. Childhood friends, internet friends, ex lovers, family…all went on the proverbial chopping block. I got down to 0 friends. Then, I went through and unliked as many pages as I could. I posted a public message to my profile stating what I had done and that anyone who considered me a close friend or family could re-add me. So far, I’ve gotten three friend requests.
Chances are, most of the people I regularly interacted with on social media didn’t even notice my absence. Facebook’s algorithm is such that my flouncing wasn’t likely noticed by most of my Facebook friends. In fact, less than a week prior, I had posted notifying friends of a changed phone number; only a few people texted my new number to make sure I had theirs.
It’s possible some of the deleted feel dissed in some way, as if I’ve gotten mad at them for some unforeseen faux pas. Should they contact me, I’ll reassure them, but it’s more likely that many simply haven’t noticed I’m gone or do not care. I know that when you unfriend someone, it doesn’t necessarily unfollow them if they allow non-friends to follow. I didn’t have that feature, I don’t think.
Regardless of whether or if anyone notices, having a quiet feed is kind of nice. I’m not getting constant notifications that my loose acquaintance has liked some meme which has little to no interest to me or is outright offensive. I’m not getting reminded to wish said loose acquaintance happy birthday a la Garfunkle and Oates. I’m not seeing vitriol spewed from people who would otherwise preach love.
I miss actually interacting socially. That doesn’t seem to happen often enough. I do not have any close friends, let alone loose acquaintances, in my current town. I’m not even sure how much I actually have in common anymore with anyone else I call my friend. You don’t have to be identically minded to be friends, of course, but it seems like the more time goes by the less I actually can relate.
I don’t really know what I was hoping to gain from penning this post, other than maybe to vent to the one or two people who still follow my blog. I probably have more friends on Facebook (total of three now) than I do blog readers at this point. Time will tell whether than changes. Meanwhile, I will get off of here and focus on grading or I will pack up and head home and try again on Wednesday.