It was a rash decision. One minute I was on Facebook, the next I wasn’t. I was having a conversation with my friend on the popular platform when something inside of me snapped and I quickly typed to her, “I’m deactivating my Facebook account right now.” There was no grand plan. No sudden life-altering occurrence. It was just feelings. Feelings of having had enough.
I joined Facebook April 30, 2004 – only 2 months after it was founded. Back then it was TheFacebook and I was a wee college sophomore about to head home for summer break who just wanted to keep tabs on her boyfriend. (This was previously achieved on Hi5.com, but then he joined Facebook and I obviously had to follow suit.)
Over the years, I officially broke up to publicly makeup with men, posted party pics and spoke from the heart with no filter. For me, Facebook was just a digital extension of my true self, but while I was taking shots and pics (get your mind out of the gutter), Mark Zuckerberg and his real-life Facebook friends were busy turning my beloved social media platform into a free-for-all and suddenly my dad was requesting my friendship while employers scoured my profile. A couple of years ago, I decided it would be in my best interest to delete most of those old photos and college memories. I sat there going through image after image, comment after comment, slowly chipping away at the essence of me with each deletion in order to conform to this new censored version of the book.
It took a few more years for it all to completely hit me and I was plagued with questions. What was he doing? Why did she say that? What should I post? How many likes would I get? What had this thing turned into? What had I become? Was everyone REALLY this happy or had we all become fake censored versions of ourselves? Did I care? Ok, well, it may not have gone that deep, but I definitely felt a sudden urge to pull away. Thus began my 6 month hiatus.
Surprisingly, I didn’t miss it. I honestly believe I would’ve gone on forever not using the site, but last week I received a job offer that requires witty Facebook posts. My mind automatically went to those higher-ups who can’t use basic programs and you think, “How did that person make it this far in life? They should be fired. Idiot can’t even use Powerpoint.” (You know you think that. Don’t even try to pretend.) I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to limit myself and depend on an assistant to post my musings to Facebook. As a writer, use of social media comes with the territory these days and I ultimately decided that in order to give this job my very best and give myself a fair shot at a long, successful career, I had to be part of the 21st century and reactivate my account.
If there’s one thing I want to make clear, it’s that I don’t necessarily hate Facebook itself. I hate how the evolution of Facebook (and other social media networks) simultaneously transformed society. No one lives for the moment anymore. No one spends hours on the phone catching up. No one has real interpersonal relationships and showing emotion has almost become a fault unless it’s one of constant happiness or self-importance. We view life through filters and gloss over imperfections. We as a society have come to not only condone hubris, we expect it. People are now brands and brands people, but whether I like it or not, social media has become an intrinsic part of life. It’s up to me how I roll with the changes and make it work for me.
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