About this time last year I wrote about one of two New Year’s resolutions for 2011: To deactivate my Facebook account for one year.
Below are THE GOALS I HAD HOPED TO ACHIEVE AFTER MY FACEBOOK-LESS EXPERIMENT / the actual result:
-FREE UP TIME TO DO THINGS LIKE READ BOOKS THAT HAVE BEEN STARING AT ME FROM MY BOOKSHELF FOR MONTHS / I did finally read a few of those : Everything Is Illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer), The Feast of the Goat (Mario Vargas Llosa) and started Midnight’s Children (Salman Rushdie)–all novels that I’ve owned for years and finally picked up because my nightly Facebook visit was no longer allowed.
-KEEP ME LESS INFORMED ABOUT PEOPLE I DON’T EVEN KNOW / And people I do know, for that matter. I could no longer participate in the I-saw-on-Facebook-that conversations, and I was always the last to know who was engaged, who was married and who was pregnant. It was nice. It was like the olden days, before college, when I discovered that type of news by word-of-mouth or a save-the-date or shower invitation. I felt like I no longer knew things I wasn’t supposed to and only knew things people wanted me to know. I was respecting others’ privacy and mine was in turn being respected.
-FORCE ME TO COMMUNICATE WITH FRIENDS VIA MORE DIRECT AND INTENTIONAL MODES OF COMMUNICATION LIKE EMAIL AND PHONE CALLS / I wish I could say I became really awesome at calling my long-distance friends regularly and having actual conversation with them, but I didn’t. I did text them more and follow them more closely on Twitter. Are either of those any more personal than Facebook? Probably not.
Overall, I did not feel socially deprived while off Facebook. What I missed most was seeing friends’ wedding pictures, which was my first order of business when I signed back on on January 1 (around 3am). But other than that, I realized I’m not meant to keep up with 1,100+ people’s lives. Being back on, I’m overwhelmed by all I missed: pregnancies, babies born, new relationships–I can’t handle absorbing all of that information like I used to and I don’t crave that information like I used to. That craving, I’m really glad it’s gone. And it took a full year of purging for it to go away.
Ok, let’s get real, it’s not COMPLETELY gone, but I have a much healthier dose of it. And I’m more inclined to keep up with my friends outside their Facebook walls and inside their real lives.