|Indiana Joel graphic|
“Coney?” I asked. “What’s that?”
“He’s this guy in Africa,” she said.
“Well, he kills people and rapes women and stuff.”
Now, I love my sister to death, but she has never shown even a remote interest in foreign affairs, so I was baffled by her choice of conversation topic. Of course, within a few moments, I knew where it was coming from.
“I saw it on Facebook,” she said, with a shrug. “There’s a video and everybody is watching it.”
But not me.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about deactivating Facebook. You can read it HERE. It’s been nearly a month since I abandoned my account, and it’s been interesting to see the subtle ways my life has changed. I thought I would be tempted to return to its cyber embrace, but I’ve yet to feel anything but relief for escaping from its productivity-stealing, voyeuristic black hole.
And though I may not be up to date on the latest viral videos or the fashionable causes, and though I may miss someone posting new party photos, I don’t feel like anything is missing in my life. I know less about other people’s lives and I like it that way.
I’ve had a few different friends complain that their tagged photos were effectively halved when I left, as I used to be an avid Facebook photo uploader. I’ve also had people complain that it’s harder to get ahold of me, to which I reply—don’t you have a phone? Or is an email that much harder to send than a Facebook message?
Actually, in the weeks after I left, I had a sudden influx of lengthy, thoughtful e-mails from friends who might have otherwise whipped something off in FB chat. People called my cell phone instead of poking me. Or came over to my house instead of writing on my wall. Rather than killing my social life, ditching Facebook has actually had an entirely positive effect on my day-to-day relationships.
Around the time I quit, #RIPFacebook was trending on Twitter. That’s stupid. Facebook isn’t going anywhere, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it outlives me. Google Plus is trying its best to be relevant, but is failing hard. And Twitter will never fully replace it. I think Facebook is a useful and valuable tool for a lot of people, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, I think people are starting to question their relationship with Mark Zuckerberg. I think they’re starting to question the amount of time they spend looking at a computer screen. And then wondering what else they could accomplish with the time they spend scrolling through someone else’s vacation photos.
Maybe you should think about it too.