Monday, March 26, 2012
During this 30-day immersion project, it would have been a heck of a lot more difficult to deal with not having Facebook if I would not have had another social network, that I love and am basically addicted to, to fall back on. Twitter has been my sanity, like the title says. Every time that I wanted to get on Facebook, besides the times I cheated, I would click on the Twitter icon and go to that instead. I mean, even with Twitter it was really tempting at times, but Twitter sure did help! Another about Twitter that helped was the fact that I have majority of the same people on Twitter that I do Facebook. I feel like the next thing I should do is try and give up Twitter and rely more on Facebook, reverse the situation, and see how well that works out for me. I think some of you should try this, too!
At the beginning of this immersion project, I thought it was going to be super difficult to give up Facebook. After awhile though, I got to thinking that the only real reason as to why I still even use Facebook anymore is for the picture aspect of it. I don't get on Facebook in the sense of actually caring about the information on the profile, well.. besides the relationship part.. lol!, but the pictures that are posted and the different photo albums that my friends have. To be completely honest, the only reason why I cheated the times that I did during this immersion project was because I wanted to post new pictures from different events that had happened during this immersion, and I couldn't wait until the end.
Hey guys! So I cheated over the weekend and logged onto my Facebook account. I really wish I would not have done so now after seeing the pictures and reading the posts that I did while I was logged on. One of my not so best friends anymore from high school had posted pictures of her hanging out with this group of girls that we both graduated with that she always tells me that she cannot stand and she thinks that are fake and that kind of situation. I honestly feel like she's only hanging out with them because ..for one, we live in a small town and they were all home so it was convenient and out of boredom and for two, I feel that they are still stuck in high school even though our freshman year of COLLEGE is almost to an end. I just find this frustrating! Sorry for the vent session to all who read this, I just needed to get that off my chest.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
If you have any doubts about your own Facebook usage, I highly recommend you to try a 30-day Facebook fast like I have been doing. It really is easy to do this because Facebook lets you (temporarily or permanently) deactivate your account without deleting your data like your friends, your pictures and things like that on your Facebook account. If you decide you want to go back to using it later, you can always log back in again, and everything can be restored with a few clicks, including your wall, photos, etc. As for the process of how to do it, all you do is login to your Facebook account, and click Account then go to -> Account Settings. At the bottom of that page, click “deactivate.” Follow the instructions from there. This won’t delete your information on your account, but it will take your profile offline. You’ll become invisible, making yourself not able to be searched by your friends on Facebook and anyone else. To restore it later, just login again and click a similar link to bring it back. If you really want to stay in touch with certain people from Facebook who do not already have an alternate means of contacting you like Twitter, you can send them a private message before you deactivate your account to let them know how to reach you during your process of deactivation. If you are an active Facebook user like I was, and you are in the process of going 30 days without it, you will start to gain a much clearer understanding of its role in your life. In my case it was obvious within a few days that the benefits I got from using it were not worth the effort, but there were other subtleties I did not notice until weeks later, like now. This is your life. It is up to you to ensure that you are getting good value from your online activities. As my mom told me, "don't just go through the motions because you’ve been swayed by some social network to behave a certain way." As for myself, I am sure it is obvious that I have no plans of returning to Facebook until the end of this month. Resistance is NOT futile.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
So with the whole having no Facebook for a little bit longer, I solely depend on my other social network site,Twitter, to keep me sane. The jury is still out about trying to see if I can deactivate that next to see how I go without that part of social media, but for now I am still using it. Twitter, to me, does not create the same accessibility problem because by wisely choosing the people that I want to follow on there, I am not forced to send messages or anything like that on Twitter opposed to Facebook. Even if I did have an inbox, it would not be that bad because people can only send 140-character messages. I just find it best not to have an inbox there at all, so I never need to worry about people expecting me to reply to their direct messages. A few people that I follow and that follow me back apparently consider it poor Twitter etiquette to have thousands of followers and not follow anyone back. I don’t lose any sleep over it. Occasionally I’ll skim through the public messages that people address to me, especially if I tweeted a question for feedback purposes, but I normally don’t pay much attention to the @PBnMelly replies since they’re mostly re-tweets of my own stuff. So if you tried to get my attention by publicly posting a message to me on Twitter, there’s a good chance I never saw it. For now, I am okay using Twitter for posting broadcast-style messages because Twitter does not force upon me the scaling headaches that Facebook does.
Monday, March 19, 2012
When I used Facebook, I realized that there is a great deal of hype about the business value of social networking. A lot of that hype is focused on by those who are trying to make money from it. One of the supposed benefits of social networking is that it can raise your visibility. If you’re more visible (among the right people), you can attract more business. That part is all good. But not all of the ways to gain visibility are the same. If you use Facebook to raise your visibility, it comes with a risk. I have learned that as you raise your visibility, you also increase your accessibility. If you have a Facebook page with a wall on it, then people can post comments on your wall. If you have a fan page, someone can “like” your fan page, post spam on your wall, and then “unlike” your fan page, and it is impossible to ban them from repeated abuse. You would just have to deal with it. The more visible you are on Facebook, the more people have access to interact with you in some way, whether it’s by sending you private messages, posting messages on your wall, or inviting you to events and groups. Beyond a certain point, this kind of contact becomes impractical to deal with in any meaningful way. I like that Facebook may have helped to increase my visibility by introducing me to people I may have never met or have gotten the chance to get to know better with it, but I am glad I deactivated it for my immersion project. When I dropped Facebook, I breathed a major sigh of relief. In a way I’m still sighing, days later. It really is a great relief not to be so accessible anymore. The visibility gains that Facebook provides just aren’t worth the price. There are much easier and more effective ways to build visibility that don’t go along with such risks.
Sunday, March 18, 2012
Well guys, I have a confession. I cheated today! :( Shocking, huh? I was disappointed in myself, but I did learn something out of it, though. Social networking makes it easy to become socially lazy. With a few clicks, you can lead yourself into thinking you have an active social life. It’s a good idea to pause and take a look at your social results. I found that spending more time on Facebook, especially by cheating today by using it for the first time since the end of February, did not produce much value for me socially. I did make some interesting contacts now and then, but it was not worth the time spent. It is true that in-person networking is more challenging. If your social skills are weak, you can pretend to be a social butterfly online just by throwing a lot of time at it. You’re still going to be limited in the long run by your ability to connect with people face to face. Make sure you don’t let your social skills get to the point where you end up spending more and more time alone, vainly trying to feed the illusion that you have a real social life. Since I have cheated, I have to make sure to keep challenging myself to not give up on this immersion. If I only do what’s easy, I will grow weaker with each passing day that is left.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
This is probably obvious to most of you, but the Facebook “friends” that I interacted with the most were the ones who tended to be the most addicted. They posted more status updates and comments because they spent a lot of time on the social networking site. That is what I would always do, too. So I ended up giving the most attention to those who are the greatest addicts. I realized that I ended up spending the most time interacting with the people who were the worst influences — highly unproductive people who don’t value their time. This had many effects, such as causing me to become more addicted to the site and to feel the urge to post more often just for the sake of posting. The closer I became with those people, the more I got sucked into spending more time on the site. After I deactivated my Facebook, I asked myself, Should I really be giving so much attention to a social networking site? When I dropped Facebook, I also dropped off the radar of some of, what I always called, my biggest fans on Facebook. I am no longer subject to their influence, which was probably stronger than I would care to admit. Breaking free of this cycle was a wise choice. I should have done it sooner.
I can be friendly with people from all walks of life, but when it comes to which people are most compatible as my long-term friends, some of my friends on Facebook are not a good fit for the kinds of lasting friendships that I wish to obtain. The main issue is the age difference. Some of my Facebook friends are like twice my age because they are my mom's friends. They simply don’t have the life experience that I do to give the kind of value I gain from a good friendship. I like having friends my age, or at least near my age. They help me stay young at heart, and they help me keep my thinking from becoming stale. When I dropped Facebook, my social life began to rebalance itself automatically. For a few years now, this has been a challenging part of my life to balance. It took a while to recognize and accept that my online “friends” and my best in-person friends are very different people. Most of my Facebook “friends” wouldn’t have been very compatible as in-person friends. We wouldn’t have had enough in common to develop a particularly deep friendship. So it seems odd to refer to them as friends in the same way I’d refer to my in-person friends. I’ve learned the hard way that I can’t just fill up my social bucket with an endless supply of friends and expect good results, even if they’re very intelligent and all those positive characteristics. So that’s a specific reason Facebook really had to go — using Facebook was a lame attempt on my part to expect that my in-person friends and Facebook friends would/could be the same people.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
So I'm sitting here going through withdrawals from my Facebook. But then I begin to realize the reality of using Facebook is that I am just typing and viewing insignificant bits of information on a digital device (computer, cell phone, etc). The next time you use such a service, pause for a moment and do a reality check. You should ask yourself these questions. What are you actually doing? Who is with you? How is this advancing your life? What if you do this for twenty more years? What do you expect to gain from it? You can call it social networking, but it is not really a social experience if you are actually alone sitting at a computer. I consider real socialization to be face to face. I feel that there is a tremendous richness to in-person socialization that just does not translate over the Internet, at least not yet. A ***hug*** isn’t a real hug. A smiley isn’t a real smile. All you are doing is pushing buttons. I will go so far as to say that Facebook is not social networking, but anti-social retreating. If you want to disagree with me about this, you will have say it to my face. If you try to tell me off by typing something on a digital device, you are only proving me right. Evil, I know. :) I apologize for this post being more of a rant, but I just could not help myself from this. I am irritated with having no Facebook right now. I hope everyone else's immersions are going great!
Monday, March 12, 2012
I am a very extroverted person, for those of you who do not know or cannot tell. As a child, I was somewhat introverted, though. In kindergarten, I was the girl who played in the sandbox all by herself. I do not think I was lonely just because I did that. I just found sand toys more interesting than people back then. As I got older, I gradually became more of an extrovert. I believe that this was partly by choice. I pushed myself to develop my social skills and to embrace what I once avoided. It is said that "you’re an introvert if you recharge your batteries while being alone, and you’re an extrovert if you recharge in the company of others." That metaphor does not seem to work for me, though. I prefer balance, usually by taking turns. If I spend a lot of time alone, I feel a strong desire to go out and be social. But after a very social week with it being spring break, which was an absolute blast, I feel the desire to retreat back to my dorm room and enjoy more solitary time. Being active on Facebook had the effect of filling my social bucket. Essentially it is a false fill to me, like drinking salt water instead of fresh water. Instead of providing a real sense of connection that satisfies, it made me think I was out there being social, but I really was not. Facebook activity could never recharge my batteries in the way that face to face interaction does. When I dropped Facebook, I began feeling genuinely more social when I would go out and do things with my friends. When I WAS active on Facebook, I would not do that as much because I had the false sense that I was being social by interacting with my online friends.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Facebook compacts so much communication into a single stream, and this can have a depersonalizing effect. When I would post something on a friend’s wall, I wasn’t just communicating with that friend. I was communicating with their posse, too. If I used the private messaging feature, it was just one message among dozens. Friends were becoming interchangeable. One thing that surprised me was just how few of my Facebook friends I actually missed when I deactivated my account. It was difficult to think of my old Facebook friends as individuals. They were all just part of the collective whole. When I moved away from the collective, it wasn’t like I had lost any individual friends. Dropping Facebook wasn’t at all like disconnecting from hundreds of individual friends. I didn’t miss anyone in particular because my Facebook experience was like connecting with a collective. I noticed the absence of the collective when I left, but I didn’t miss it per se. The exception is that if I knew specific Facebook friends from real life, meaning that we’d met in person and had at least one good conversation together, then I could still see them as individuals. But I don’t need Facebook to stay in touch with those people anyway, so I didn’t feel like I was losing any of these connections by dropping Facebook. I realize this might sound rather strange, but it’s the best I can explain it. My Facebook page was very busy with wall posts and such activities of those sort. The feeling that I was interacting with a collective began to feel rather creepy, as you might imagine. I’m glad to be off of Facebook, since I really don’t wish to be assimilated. It’s nice not to feel like there’s an endless stream of other people’s thoughts flowing through my mind all the time. I can hear my own thoughts once again, and they’re a lot more relaxed.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Well today is the third day with no Facebook. I still feel the urge to share certain things with my online “friends”. I have felt, a lot at times, I should post this. I take some funny/cute pictures with friends and all that and think, I want to share this. In the past, when I had Facebook, I would have shared those things out of habit. Then, I would normally check back in later and read through a few dozen comments that people left. Doing that normally, which I can't now, there would be a little bit more emotional reward in having that sense of connection. Without the option to impulse-share, like I would love to, during this thirty-day immersion, I allow those feelings to come and go without acting on them. I have recently noticed that there is a consequence to sharing in real-time. I wasn’t being very present in the moment. While things are happening around me, today especially, I am off thinking about my online posse, and what I might wish to share with them. When I stop acting on the desire to impulse-share, I become more present to what I was doing in the moment. Instead of being distracted by thoughts of connecting with people at a distance, I do a lot better job of connecting with the people right in front of me. I feel more immersed in my experiences. It was definitely a subtle change at first, but it feels good now that I'm three days in to it. During these past two and a half days, I often feel obligated to share frequent updates with my online “friends”, some of whom I’d never met in person. If I didn’t post an update for a while, some would complain. If I shared something cool, people would thank me for it. Now that I’ve been rolling back and not posting, I can see what a dead end it’s been. I allowed social media to lead me to behave a certain way, but it’s not a conscious choice I would have made otherwise. So it’s nice to regain conscious control over this part of my life. Even after 30 days, the desire to impulse-share I fell will still be there, but it will grow fainter, replaced by a growing desire to “be here now,” fully present in what’s going on in front of me. I still like sharing, but it’s better to do so thoughtfully instead of impulsively, over social networking.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Even though it has only been a day since I dropped Facebook, I noticed that the communication volume in my life has dropped significantly. Even though I say that the communication volume in my life has significantly dropped, I have felt no drop in the level of significant and meaningful communication. What I have seemed to lose is mostly a lot of noise. Generally speaking, communicating via Facebook is a shallow experience. When I had Facebook I would read streams of brief messages from a variety of people, but the messages didn’t contain much depth. Most are trivial and sometimes pointless even. Some are even clever or witty. Very little of the information that I used to digest on Facebook is memorable and life changing. I mean, using Facebook can still give people a feeling of connectedness, but the long-term benefits are negligible. Facebook essentially gave me the emotional sense that I was doing something worthwhile (connecting with people), but when I step back and look at my actions and results from a more objective perspective, it becomes clear that I was really just spinning my wheels. So basically what I am saying now, since I have dropped Facebook, I let go of a lot of trivial communication, but I don’t feel that anything truly valuable has been lost.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Hey guys! Today is the start of my thirty-day trial of not having Facebook, so I wanted to share an update on what that’s been like so far. I went home on Saturday to go spring break shopping, and I told my mom about what I'm doing for class. After I told her, she let me know that she is going to try this whole not having her Facebook with me. Now that my mom and I have done it, my grandma and brother are on the fence as to whether they should do the same. As the days go one, I will post a realization, each day that I post, I’ve had as a result of leaving Facebook, for now, after over two years as an active user. I’m sure some of these realizations can be generalized to social networking as a whole, but I’m going to focus mainly on my personal experience with not having my Facebook for these thirty days. I can’t guarantee you’ll find much overlap between my realizations and your experiences, but I’m sure some of you guys will see similar patterns. Hope your start of your immersion project is going well! Blog at you next time.
-Mel : )
-Mel : )