Monday, May 17, 2010

Make it Work Monday: Do What's Right for You

A week ago I deleted my Facebook account. A lot of people have asked why, or come out on the defensive as to why they are keeping their accounts, and I want to make it clear that I am doing what I need to do, and I in no way expect everyone to understand or approve or want to do the same thing. I get that there's a lot of value in the kind of connections that Facebook allows a person to make, that a good many people absolutely love updating their status and commenting on others' status updates and writing on each others' walls and playing games and...all those things that Facebook allows you to do. The problem is that to me, as an introvert, the amount of information and the amount of people providing that information and commenting on the information is overwhelming. To me, it also feels impersonal. I realize that I'm a bit of a hypocrite here, as I use Twitter and share links from time to time, but because Twitter is so much simpler, I can handle it.

I felt pressure on Facebook--pressure to write on others' walls if they wrote on mine, pressure to notice if it was someone's birthday and say something to them, pressure to say only certain things in certain ways for fear of being judged or misunderstood (or both). And the more "sharing" Facebook wanted me to accept (or simply notice so that I could go back to my privacy settings again and readjust), the less I wanted to be there. I loved the part wherein I could find friends I'd not heard from in years but hated everything else. When I weighed pros and cons of keeping the account, being able to look up old friends was honestly my only item on the list of pros. The cons list, however, was quite long. It was time. I deleted. I did the right thing for me.

In the world of social media, it's tough to find a good fit as an introvert. It's pretty simple math, really. Introverts feel overwhelmed by too much time with people, and it makes sense that it would extend to life online. To me, Facebook felt like a huge party that was always going on, and began more and more to feel like someone was yelling my personal preferences across a crowded room. "HEY! MARY LIKES SHATTO MILK AND ADDED A COMMENT INDICATING LIKE MIND WHEN SOMEONE MADE A POSITIVE OBSERVATION ABOUT HEALTHCARE REFORM!" Some people might not mind that sort of thing, but it made me anxious. I don't think I realized until I deleted just how much anxiety Facebook caused in my life.

If you love it, good for you. Keep your account! Share everything with everyone! Have a ball! If you want to have a ball with me, though, we'll have to meet up elsewhere--hopefully in real life.

1 comment:

white girl said...

I'm waffling back and forth - delete or not delete? So far, I've kept my account, but I've reduced my activity. I just updated my status yesterday - the first time in a month.

I like seeing the mundane activities of people I care about since they are so far away. And really, their update statuses aren't usually what they would write in an email.

So I continue to waffle. I wish I could make a decision like you did. Gah! crackbook.