Off the grid: Giving up Facebook and going back

More often than not, I used to find myself drawn to the cerulean-and-white page with tiny icons of my friends’ faces lining the sides beckoning me to chat with them. I would open my Internet browser and just search for the letter “F.” I had spent so much time on the website that it was the first search result to pop up. After writing one sentence of an essay, I’d reward myself with 10 minutes of fun, which usually turned into hours. I felt like my brain was rotting away, decaying into likes and friend requests.

So, I did the unthinkable for a college student: I deactivated my Facebook account. Back in November, I felt an intense lack of connection from my friends. I relied on Facebook to contact friends from high school, and instead of just calling them or sending them a text, I’d like their most recent status update. I’m all for supporting your friends with likes, but this interaction didn’t seem sincere.

I also felt overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content on Facebook. In high school, I became a fan (remember that) of everything under the sun: bands I had only heard one song from, fast food restaurants and clothing stores. I was under the impression that this mattered to these businesses, as if they thought, “If Ashley doesn’t like us on Facebook, we’ll be personally offended!” Plus, I don’t really understand what “liking” Sweet Tea really accomplished, because the like pages of the objects don’t promote community effectively. They’re a platform for fans to interact, but when like pages are made for such menial things, you’re disinclined to check and use them.

With over 400 likes on my Facebook page, I was inundated with useless information on my newsfeed. I was also swamped in event invites, as well as invitations from friends to join them on Farmville, Mafia Wars and other pointless distractions. Plus, I was a member of multiple groups with dozens of members and received notifications every time someone asked for work coverage or wanted to recruit volunteers.

So I quit. I gave up or threw in the towel, per se.

Since the “delete account” button was impossible to find, I decided to take an extended break. I’ll admit, I considered deleting my account, but was discouraged by the amount of time it would take to rebuild it. My account was a time capsule, and it contained important memories of high school and college.

Five months went by. Friends would say in passing, “I’ll post that to your wall!” and I’d look down at my shoes, feeling like an awkward teen who hadn’t been invited to the cool kids’ parties.  After countless forgotten birthdays, missed events and unseen pictures, I decided to come back to the dark side. I felt guilty re-entering my password, especially because I still remembered it after so much time had passed. Unfortunately, the Zuckerberg conglomerate greeted me with open arms and left me even more confused with Timeline. Looks like I’m going to change my relationship status with Facebook to “It’s complicated.”

Reach the columnist at aamentze@asu.edu

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