I gave up Facebook for Lent. 40 days and 40 nights (plus Sundays) without knowing who tagged me, poked me, wrote on my wall, hosted an event, had a birthday, had a baby, friend requested me or sent me a message. Nada. And you know what? I think it was harder on my friends than it was on me. Do you know how many sentences start with “Did you see on Facebook…”? Too many. My old Girl Scout troop made plans to get together and I missed a lot of chatter over Facebook message. Once my best friend sent Mr. Wonderful a link to the dog she wants to get to show to me. She could have sent me a regular old email, but what fun would that be? I did miss out on some news, but really, the Facebook fast wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
That’s mostly because Facebook is annoying. Yes, it’s obviously a great way to keep in touch with people you don’t get to see very often, if ever. I do like that aspect. It’s brought people back into my life that I wouldn’t otherwise be in touch with. Yay Facebook. It’s also brought people back into my life that I never wanted to talk to ever again. Want a clean breakup? Not possible if you and your friends have Facebook. One day you’re minding your business checking out your news feed when you see an innocent friend’s picture. You click further and there’s your ex with his arm around a pretty girl and suddenly you feel like you’ve been punched in the stomach. (This doesn’t actually happen to me for a variety of reasons, but I’ve heard stories.)
Currently I’m annoyed with Facebook because, try though you might, your privacy is compromised. I think I keep a good handle on my information, but I can’t control other people. I tried to keep my engagement off of Facebook for two weeks so I could ask my bridesmaids in real life and you’d think I was working some top-secret CIA operative. It’s my news, dammit! Recently a new “friend” sent me a bunch of friend suggestions. I’m not new to Facebook. I’ve actually had an account since back when you needed a .edu email address to sign up. If I wanted to be friends with someone, I’d friend request them. I think we’re at a point in society that you can assume someone has an account and be shocked if you find that they don’t. I don’t need people I’ve coexisted with for the past however-many-years to all of a sudden want to be my friend. If we develop a relationship, sure. Here’s the thing about friend suggestions. You both get them. So I got a bunch of friend requests, some from people I don’t even know. So now if I don’t accept, I’m a jerk, but really, neither of us apparently wanted to be friends in the first place. (Incidentally, I unfriended that “friend” because I don’t need that kind of person in my life and he IMMEDIATELY re-friend requested me. Really?)
One of my favorite things about Facebook is the games. Yeah, I know. I really like a good time-suck. But here’s the thing. I just want to play a game. I don’t want to find neighbors, add decorations to an arbitrary plot of land, or wait for my energy to replenish. I just want to play. Also? Let’s get something straight. I’m not going to spend real money on Facebook games. I believe my opinions on paying for apps is well documented. The day that Facebook ever requires a credit card is the day I delete my account.
I really wish that there was an alternative to Facebook. Maybe more customizable? Maybe such that I don’t feel like a jerk for turning down a friend request? Don’t even get me started on family requests. I just don’t think we could get away from the drama. I’ve been thinking about deleting my account, but I’m hesitant because I don’t want to miss out on anyone’s news. Besides, who will wish me a happy birthday? My family?