Monday, March 7, 2011

I Quit Facebook

I quit Facebook.  I.quit.Facebook. 
There was no big lead up to this decision.  I did not send out a farewell status update. In fact, I am willing to bet that most of my “friends” have no idea that I am gone.  I do have a working email address and no one has inquired about my absence.  This is because after I clicked terminate to my account status, I sent out an email to about 10 people letting them know that in order to email me they must do it the “old fashioned way” by gmail!  These are the people I communicate with most in my life.  There are days where I am emailing back and forth all day long, ironing out Girl Scout details, planning playdates and bouncing around ideas for botany.  If I can’t reach that person quickly by email, I will pick up the phone and call them!  Shocking, I know!!
I have to admit I feel like there is this world taking place out there, a world I was once part of but an no longer.  My friend with whom I had a cup of tea with today told me that was the addiction talking.  The pull to wonder what is going on in that other world is starting to fade and with it I am discovering many things.....
  • You do not need Facebook to be in touch.  Life is about real connections, face to face conversation and going back to the old definition of friendship where conflicts are resolved through apology not the unfriend button.  Where an update is done at the local coffee shop or a dining room table.  Where blocking means taking the calendar and drawing a big happy face over the day you have set aside to play with friends.  
  • Facebook is a great way to start controversy.  I do not want to get caught up in any more spats regarding Westboro Baptist Church, Wisconsin Politics, and the evils of public schools.  I would not stand on my street corner with a megaphone shouting my views to anyone walking by.  Why should I shout my views to everyone on my friends list?  To make matters worse, my views on most things differ vastly from the majority of my friends and no matter how I defend my Republican/Libertarian Conservative viewpoint, I will not win the hearts and minds of those who hold opposing views through frantically typed comments.  Nor do I want to do this.  I want people to look around and closely examine the state of our economy and the state of the union and the state of our world, form their own opinions and realize that even if they differ from mine, we all deserve respect and kindness.  
  • Do you realize how much time Facebook steals from your real life?  It was automatic that I would type my email account to check emails and then go straight to Facebook where I would get caught up in the latest photos, online spats between family members,  birth announcements, song lyrics, sport events, and so on and so on and so on.  An hour later I would look up at the clock and an hour of my life was gone.  Never coming back.  Gone.   Then there is the time I would be stuck waiting for train at the train station or waiting for my daughter’s to get out of a class and I would check my friend’s status updates on my blackberry.  That was time that could be spent reading, knitting, or listening to my favorite Sirius talk radio shows.  
Of course there are some drawbacks to being off Facebook as well.....
  • I used Facebook to get updates on the local businesses that we depend on as a homeschooling family.  The nature centers, museums and colleges all send out regular updates on upcoming events.  Now I have to check each homepage individually and mark my paper calendar regularly to stay on top of what my girls want to do.  
  • I used Facebook as a way to promote my blog.  My teachable moments Facebook site updated directly to my twitter account.  Lately I have asked myself what my goal is for my blog.  Do I want to try to grow it and sell advertising space?  I was obsessed with my stats, checking regularly to grow my monthly visitor count.  I am blessed to have a core group of women who follow my blog regularly and comment frequently, as I do on their blogs.  I participate in blog hops, and blog carnivals.  But I really don’t care for Twitter.  I have no idea who the people are who follow me and it does little to boost my stats.    I think I am going to drop that next.  My blog is mostly for me, but also for the homeschooling community, to show how wonderful the choice to educate your children at home can be despite the frustrations and occasional limitations.  I am going to make my blog the best it can be no matter if I have 5,000 views per month or 500.
My kids thought I was crazy.  But maybe, just maybe, I taught them something.  Our world is changing.  The way we relate with and to one another is changing.  But we don’t have to accept that blindly and be led like the lemmings.   We can keep abreast of technology, but still choose to remain true to ourselves.  I wonder if there will be a backlash against social networking or if the generations that follow after me truly see it as the new way of life, of how human beings relate.  It will be interesting to see what the future for Facebook and Twitter is as my daughters grow and mature.  Will Facebook stand the test of time or by the time they are old enough to navigate the world of social media will it be a new company led by a new twenty-something tech guru revolutionizing the way we identify ourselves?  I will watch for now from the sidelines......


musicalmary said...

Jessica, I can COMPLETELY understand everything you are saying and you made a very adult decision. I am trying to cut back on FB and also have been questioning my blog. To me.... I believe that if I can get some good ideas to use in my REAL life when I visit a blog, that's great - maybe cool notebooking/lapbooking pages, quick teaching ideas, discipline, etc... But, who really cares about what I do on a day to day basis? My guess is - probably not many people. :-)

Great post - and btw, I am a conservative and consider myself a libertarian, too. I don't blog about that (ever) because I would get myself in trouble.

I admire you!

Marcie said...

I get the whole facebook thing. BUT, please please please don't delete your blog. Without it I wouldn't have found you. Your blog is full of helpful information, and a lot of inspiration.

Theresa said...

We had some concerns about facebook in January and I had deactivated my account. I reactivated it mainly because some of my high school friends who I meet up with infrequently were planning a get together and I enjoy seeing everyone.

I don't think social media is a healthy way to communicate. I find myself getting caught up in things and saying things that I would never say face to face because I feel I am in a position where I need to defend what I believe. In real life, when confronted with the same issues, I avoid confrontation, but there is something easy {and unhealthy} about getting caught up in it with social media.

Tomorrow is my birthday and I think I am going to turn over a new leaf as far as spending too much time on line.

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

Amen! I gave up FB last year at Lent and realized that the world did not tilt off its axis. Shortly there after I terminated my account and I haven't regretted it all. Sometimes it does seem like there is all this activity going on that I am not a part of, but then when I think about it for a minute more I realize how ridiculous that is. Like you I was "friends" with many people who didn't share my views and/or interests. Life is too short to be arguing about things all the time. Not too mention the privacy issues. I feel much better about posting things on our blog than I ever did on FB. Good for you, you won't miss it!

Jessica said...

@ Mary and Marcie - I am not giving up my blog! Mary I hope you do not as well. Oddly, I find the quality of the conversation on blogs very different from FB. I find that we are more respectful and if we don't agree with something rather than feeling the need to jump in, most of the time we just stay silent and respect the other's opinion. I learn from blogs. I have found several on my curriculum choices from blogs. My girls get excited about writing on their blogs and they actually learn geography through blogging. I could not walk away from it. I love it too much.

@Theresa - It is the connection that is so hard to walk away from. I had two FB friends one from elementary school and the other from high school. Most of my friends were from my adult life so I can see the ones that matter most to me (or talk on plain old email ;) Even through my elementary friend would not return comments, I felt a moment of sadness about letting that connection to her go.

@Mary - it is getting easier! Much easier than when I gave up coffee for Lent. I had an honest talk with my children that year and told them Mommy had to find something else to give up...I am a much better mommy when I drink my coffee!

Anonymous said...

We are off Facebook again, too. My plan was to eliminate the people that I didn't really "need" there, but I still found myself checking Facebook like you described. D.O. N. E. Done. ;)

April said...

Good for you!!!!

The past few months I have given so much thought to the time I spend on FB and how I lived before FB.
Before FB I went to bed by 9:30, I weighed 25lbs less, I spent a lot more time outside with my kids, etc. I miss that less busy feeling life. Back then I didn't feel the need to "keep-up" with what it now seems the rest of the world is doing.

One day a fellow Facebooker posted a comment and it said "It's a shame when you know more about what's going on on FB than you do about your own children." and that comment stuck with me and I've been giving it a lot of thought.

While I have alot of out of state family and friends and facebook has been wonderful for keeping us in touch with them and also I have made some great FB friends that have become my very best real-life friends I feel torn with the to FB or not to FB.

Thank you for posting this, as you may lead a new trend back to basics:)

JP said...

I'm with you. I quit Facebook at the start of November and haven't looked back. At times I feel like I live in an alternate universe because all of my friends have it and I no longer do, but then I realize how much I have accomplished since deleting my account for good. I'm so much more active in my daily life and with my family. Facebook is a great waste of time. Deleting your account is a giant sigh of relief.

Ingi said...

Food for thought! Since I started blogging, and reading blogs, I find myself on FB less and less. I had a big "cull" of friends and got rid of a lot of acquaintances. I prefer blogs because there is more detail, more beautiful writing, more love. And I don't know most of the people! I wonder if I will be that brave?

Jessica said...

I love reading these comments. Just when I question if you can truly live off the social network in this day and age, I get another comment of support! I definitely do miss certain aspects of it but I do not see myself going back anytime soon!

Team Walker said...

I am sorry to see that you are off facebook, for my own satisfaction. I am happy that you quit the bad habit, and I hope to do the same also. Your facebook page was just the transit for me to read your blog.
Now I realize that I am the epitome of the cartoon that started this post, and I don't comment often, but your posts are very moving.
I love your view points. I love the way you chose to do something about the education of your children. Or actually you chose to DO something instead of complain. That's inspiring. And just as you posted about your neighbor that walked the dog past your house and cried when you mentioned your brother in the Marines in Afghanistan, you move me.
I am not the best writer, but I am the reader of good blogs and I consider yours to be one of them. Please do not get rid of your blog. Thank you for doing it.
Even though I don't call or can't have coffe with you (which would be nice) your words are inspirational.

Team Walker said...

I am so new to this blogging stuff and tried to send a message, but I think I may have deleted it, so I try again.
I am sad to see that you are leaving facebook, but only for my own selfishness. Your posts on facebook were merely an avenue for me to see the true beauty of your blog page. Just like smoking, I hope to someday quit the bad habit also. (I really never smoked.)
As I perhaps resemble to cartoon character on at the start of your blog post, I may not call or be able to have coffee with you, but you do inspire me. I like to read posts that challenge my thoughts. I like to surround myself with people that challenge my actions. I also like to get ideas on how to make my son's life more enriching.
As the dog walking neighbor lady was the other day, I am truly moved by your bravery, strength and general hutspa, that on occasion you have brought me to tears.
I am not a good writer, but I am a great reader and know a good reading blog when I see one. Please do not leave the blog.

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