Why I left Facebook

February 11, 2010

“You what!?!”

It’s a common response these days, and I understand.

Facebook is a given.  Every person, every family, every business, every brand is assumed to have a page on the ubiquitous site to the point that the question is no longer “Do you have a Facebook page?” but now  “What’s your Facebook?”

And it is indeed a solid means of keeping up with people, reconnecting with lost friends, finding new friends, and identifying yourself without saying a word.  I get it.  I was on for a long time and I had a bushel and a peck of old friends and new, family, colleagues, acquaintances, and sometimes their dogs poking me at all hours.  I felt connected, up to date technologically, and heard.  All was right in the world.

But it wasn’t.

Why do we lose contact with some people and not others?  One friend moves to another state and you speak every day for thirty years.  Another friend is right over there and one day you realize, you haven’t chatted in months.

We’re supposed to lose contact with people.  It’s our natural ranking system.  We make the time and the effort to reach out to some people, while others fall off the radar.

There are one hundred thousand reasons why some fall off the radar but only one reason why others don’t.

Because you don’t let them.

The noise of Facebook got to me one day, although it had been building gradually.  The apps, those god-damned apps, and quizzes about nothing just got too tedious.  I found myself blocking apps and ignoring invites (so very untargeted as Benjamin West aptly writes) more often than I was posting; more than I was enjoying posts.

A few days before my ’09 birthday (Scorpio.  Shocker.)  I deleted my account.  On my birthday, a very strange thing happened.  My phone rang.  I received four calls from non-family wishing me a happy birthday.  Each noticed I wasn’t on FB anymore and each agreed that they probably would have just posted a note had I been online.  But each knew it was my birthday and decided to make the effort to call.

For me, it was so much better than getting 500 birthday posts from people who were just notified that it was my birthday.  Now, you may argue that even those four were notified somehow and you’re right.  So what?  They called.  I, too, have a separate contact list with birthdays for the extra special people in my life, and apparently, I was in theirs.

Ranking system.

(Full disclosure:  I readily admit that I was guilty of relying on FB for this cursory approach to keeping in touch.  2010 is a whole new ballgame.)

19 Responses to “Why I left Facebook”

  1. Aptly?! APTLY?! You’re pretty apt yourself.

    And I totally see where you’re coming from. When we connect with eachother online, and only online, we lose something. Close friends get lumped in with acquaintences, and acquaintences can eventually become strangers.

    So what’s the new ballgame that you speak of? Are you going to call people more often? Are you going to try to spend more face time with the people that you care about? Are you going to link back to all of my blog posts? (Because THAT would be awesome.)

    • feliciacago Says:

      Indeed I do call more and have actual conversations. Even a 5 minute catch-up session can remind me that I’m human. And face-to-face is the face of 2010 for me. Look into my eyes and let me look into yours…

      Hey, I linked back to you again.

  2. Adrienne Says:

    I fully support this decision. I deleted my Facebook during, horror of horrors, my senior year of college. I left school, feeling confident in my decision to not need a website to tell me who and how to interaction. But then I found…I wasn’t hearing from anyone. I met up with some people who had moved up to Chicago at a bar, and everyone was surprised to see me. “You don’t have a Facebook!” they declared. “Well, yeah, I don’t need one?” was my (obvious) reply.

    …here I am, two years later, a slave to Cafe World. I hardly use it to communicate (despite part of my job description being “social media expert”), but yet, I can’t get rid of it.

    So I applaud you, darling. *clap. clap. clap*

    • feliciacago Says:

      Senior year was like, yesterday, no?

      See how lazy we have gotten? They thought you were eaten by wolves because your info wasn’t in front of their faces, convenient.

  3. Alicia Kan Says:

    I’m thinking about doing the same thing. Facebook to me is a giant swamp. I’ve fixed it so that my Twitter feed automatically becomes my FB, but it’s still duplication. For me Twitter is both functional and minimal, and that’s all you need really. As Coco Chanel said, “Elegance is refusal.”

  4. Chanthana Says:

    I deactivated my FB account about 3 weeks ago. I LOVE IT! It was such a time suck as I searched for ANYTHING interesting. Photos can be interesting; the dumb status updates are not. The food fight applications, F-ville, mafia crap… I had enough of it all! I’m seeing a lot more people are leaving FB and loving it. My friends still give me grief about leaving. I reply with a smile and say “I don’t miss it.”

  5. fabgeekling Says:

    I’m not ready to give up FB just yet, but I have considerably pulled away from it. It annoys me that I see EVERYTHING in one feed where all I’m interested in are actual status updates and peoples new pictures. I stopped commenting on things that usually get a 100 replies because I get notifications to email… and email to my blackberry, and it’s just too fucken annoying. I wish you could just subscribe to certain things you comment on if you’re interested in seeing.

    But as someone who detests catching up with people over the phone (as it takes away from doing other things) I just can’t abandon it as that’s how I stay in touch with some friends who don’t live in Chicago. It sort of keeps me connected with them.

    • feliciacago Says:

      It’s definitely a great way to keep in touch with people, and I have finally given in and returned because so many events now seem to ONLY post info on FB. Limiting. Please don’t throw sheep at me.

  6. […] Felicia Cago: Why I Left Facebook […]

  7. […] Felicia. 2010. Why I left Facebook. Blog. Felicia Cago: Mental Meanderings. February […]

  8. filmbuffy Says:

    Awesome girl! I think that Twitter is the real “social network.” I’ve met Gabe through it, I have met a few others, and hope to meet you someday too. I was just talking to my coworker about facebook today. That I think it’s creepy. And I am a better, happier person for NOT being on fb. Also that I hated that now facebook is so corporate! I have to upload photos for work for the “fb page” for people to “LIKE IT”. Seriously? When Walmart is saying “like us on facebook” that is how you know IT’S JUMPED THE SHARK! I am in contact with people I choose to be, in REAL LIFE, and will find who I want to find, and people can find me who want to find me. Facebook,—-your 15 minutes are up. 20 minutes ago. X

  9. […] of view. In real life, it’s simple to avoid toxic people. We just avoid them. Remember the ranking system? On Twitter, you simply can’t without being […]

  10. […] occurs to me that it’s a continuation of the ranking system I introduced as rationale for leaving Facebook. In it, I […]

  11. […] occurs to me that it’s a continuation of the ranking system I introduced as rationale for leaving Facebook. In it, I […]

  12. […] point of view. In real life, it’s simple to avoid toxic people. We just avoid them. Remember the ranking system? On Twitter, you simply can’t without being […]

  13. […] Felicia. 2010. Why I left Facebook. Blog. Felicia Cago: Mental Meanderings. February 11. “The noise of Facebook got to me one day, […]

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