Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why I Quit Facebook (for now, at least...)

My family moved when I was in the 4th grade. I compulsively wrote letters to many of my friends because I had such aversion to change of any kind. I loved stationary and cute stamps. (I managed to keep-up a good correspondence with at least three of them until high school. Pretty impressive.)

Facebook came onto the scene as I was graduating college, so I escaped joining then. It wasn't until I did a show at a college that I started using it. Suddenly, I had a bunch of friends who seemed ages younger since they were still in school and I wasn't. (In reality, the youngest they were was five years younger than me.)

Within weeks, people I barely knew in high school and college were asking to be my friend, and the proper thing to do was to accept. I was working in theatre, and you meet tons of people working in theatre. Before I knew it, I had hundreds of friends.

I then discovered what would become my signature for the next several years:

The Facebook Status update.

Mine became legendary.

I was updating my status several times a day (and many more so during "important" things...the Oscars...the Royal Wedding.) I became even worse when I finally got an iPhone...now, I could update my status on the train, in the street, at intermission. I could immediately post adorable photos of my nephews, my new shoes or of autumn leaves (with a quote from "Autumn in New York." )

I had an audience. People would tell me how hilarious my status updates were, they'd share them with people who didn't know me, they'd tell me my status updates were the only reason they LOGGED into Facebook.

It made me feel good...not gonna lie.

However, one time I attempted to make more local friends. I messaged a girl who had been a casual friend in high school asking if she'd want to hang-out some time. She responded with, "Sure, but I feel like I hang-out with you all the time because you update your Facebook status so much."

I thought about that. Part of me took it as a brush-off...this girl just wanted to read my Facebook status updates but didn't want to be my friend.

It wasn't the same as having actual friends that I talked to and spent time with. I wanted more than people "liking" and commenting on my funny and insightful statuses.

 I also started using my updates for non-funny matters...talking about a layoff and a depressing jobhunt, a death in the family that left me devastated and that time I officially had my heartbroken and was alone on a streetcorner singing the song "You Don't Know Me" to myself.

I soon realized I was sharing way too much. Even people who never commented on my statuses were, indeed, reading them...and did that person I hadn't seen since 7th grade science class REALLY need to know everything about me?

I decided to deactivate my Facebook account two weeks ago (for now...for now...)  I haven't missed it, and I don't know if I ever will. A few things propelled me into finally doing so. I felt like it was becoming more like "Everybody's Lives are Beyond Fabulous and Exciting (But Yours!)-book."

I get it. That's not true at all. I mean, my profile pictures is one of myself and my good friend, who just happens to be an extremely handsome celebrity, in black-tie the night we met the President. If people went by that photo alone, they would think my life was mighty fancy. They don't need to know any of the not-so-great stuff. Anybody can make their lives seem glamorous in photos and updates. Over the past couple of months, somebody who kinda broke my heart posted tons of vacation photos (with his love interest), traveling the world. Honestly? I didn't want to see those photos or the engagement announcement I feel might be coming-up. Another reason to deactivate away.

Perhaps I'll be back in a few weeks. One of my best friends is getting married and I'm going to be in the wedding. I'm sure it will be the easiest way to see and share photos...but I don't need to go on there and check-on people I'm not even talking to in the real world and share updates of my life to over 400 acquaintances.

If my statuses were really that entertaining, I'd rather channel that good and funny writing into a play or a book that can have a proper audience...and not just all those "friends".

You know what? It's okay. The gang in Walnut Grove didn't need Facebook and neither do I.

In fact...maybe I'll even buy some cute stationary and stamps and write some letters instead.

Diana Rissetto