Monday, May 9, 2016

Schrödinger's Social Media

Leaving Facebook (without actually leaving...)


A few weeks ago, I left Facebook. Well, I didn't. But I did. 

After many, many years of being on Facebook (July 2, 2008), I think I am good with stepping away.

And, yes, I know some of my friends and family have called it ‘Davebook’ in the past - and for good reason. I am a chronic Facebook poster, sharer, over-sharer, linker, liker, etc. I have maintained a few pages related to my personal interests and politics. I created and managed a group related to Military Music. I connected and reconnected with people I have worked with, grew up with, and played with (music, games, whatever). And now I think I am good.

Now. What's all this about NOT actually leaving...

Well, several things came up as I was thinking about getting away from Facebook. Part of this is tied to Facebook's insane hold over EVERYTHING on the internet. Whether it is UPS or gaming sites, signing in via Facebook will get you in the door. So there is that.

The main reason is I don't want to lose contact with my people. Yes, I said 'My People'. Most of the people on my page are people who want to come into contact with me - or at least are willing to put up with my nonsense. And by nonsense, I mean anything from Star Wars to video games to K-Pop to politics.

There are some people I have only known through Facebook. I am closer to some of these people than people I have known since childhood. One of these close friends recently posted the following:
So do you all have "sacred" people?
I know. That sounds weird. 
But what I mean is, there's family. There are friends. But beyond those levels of intimacy, there are a select few people who could do no wrong you would find unforgivable. People you're intensely protective of and loyal to. Yes? No? 
Is there a term for that? Love is insufficient. I've thought a lot about this, over the years. Despite my lack of religious leanings, the best word I've come up with is sacred.
A number of these folks have become my sacred people. Several of them know who they are. That said, yes, I am Terry. You can be Wayne or you can be Garth. I won't judge.

So, why are you leaving then? 

There are a few reasons.

Primarily, Facebook itself, and my inability to not browse, comment, link, browse, link some more... wash, rinse, repeat. I will be the first to admit I have a bad case of FOMO. But then I also have the insufferable need to tell everyone what I have learned. That and I have limited self control. Basically, I am a monkey with clothes and no tree to live in. I am working on that. I put a down payment on a tree.

A second reason is that it is getting mean. Not just run-of-the-mill mean. This is getting to be a full-bore, GIFT-esque assault on anyone who even slightly disagrees with you. I have seen otherwise sane people turn into complete asshats for the simplest reasons. I used to be one of those people. A friend called me on it. I thought I was being funny but I realized I was being a dick. I am tired of calling people on it. I'm not a cop and I am done thinking I need to be a referee (online, anyway).

Finally, I am looking for a change. I am getting rid of the comfort. As I was thinking about why I wanted to get away from FB, I came across this video from Linn/Darbin Orvar, one of my fave YouTubers. She states it much better than I feel I could.

There are other reasons - Not wanting to filter yet not wanting to offend; Disappointment with humanity; Election malaise...  But nothing I need to go in to here (at least right now). In general, I feel I can't be who I want to be online. 

So what HAVE  you been doing?

Work, mostly. Coaching soccer. Playing a variety of games. Getting to know western Arkansas.

My online socialising has seen me getting more into Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tumblr (links below). My online education has seen me going to YouTube, picking one topic, and letting it roll from one video to the next. Ted Talks one day, Video Game Design another. Soccer Laws of the Game; K-Pop; Prop Modeling; Carpentry; Gaming...

It is amazing what you can get done while listening to people who know more than you about a subject.

The Upshot:

Less stress. I feel like I have time for other things. It's not interfering with other aspects of my life. I don't feel like I have to check my phone every five minutes to see what is going on. I take more of an active role in what is going on around me. I get to realize that there are other things I can do other than scrolling interminably through a newsfeed of what Facebook wants me to see - not the newsfeed I want.

To top it off, I get to do all of this without feeling like I am missing out on the latest 'big thing'.

The downside is that I don't feel as if I am involved in the lives of my friends out there in the big blue world. From Atlanta to Portland - with side trips to Canada and Europe - many of my favorite people are only accessible through FaceBook. I now miss their lives. And I am sad.

So. If you want to contact me but you are not currently a friend on Facebook (I won't be accepting friend requests for the foreseeable future), You can reach me at the following:
And for all of you - be good to each other. It's a short life. Don't piss it away. 

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