|Life in the West: Living outside of Facebook remains challenge|
|December 01, 2011 Jim Headley|
It has been more than a month since I’ve logged into my Facebook account and I am surviving.
It was difficult to disconnect from my Facebook life on the Internet. I no longer was able to keep up with my brother and cousins on their daily journey through life.
I lost track of my high school friends and the struggles they encounter.
I also was not able to share both good and bad news with some of the people I am closest to in my life.
Over the past month, I have learned that giving up Facebook would be a lot like giving up the telephone for most people.
I lost contact with the most important people in my life for an entire month. I was not able to pop onto the Internet and find out what my friend in Minnesota was doing this morning or what windmill my cousin was selling this week in his Kentucky store.
Yet a new found freedom was found in the fact that I don’t have to run to a computer and click on a Facebook icon 20 or even 30 times per day.
I have so much more time on my hands - which is also good and bad.
Facebook and the social networks you build on the website remain important things to maintain and nurture, just like you would face-to-face with the people you care about.
It is so much easier to be honest with someone over the Internet as they can’t reach through your computer monitor and punch you in the face. If people begin sobbing you simply don’t hear it or just close that window of your life with a simple click.
If they are acting like an idiot, you can share that with them too!
The Internet is a wonderful world that you can control by allowing or banning people from contacting you. You get to pick who sees you online and who will never know you are there the whole time lurking in the shadows.
I have learned a lot by disconnecting my Facebook account over the past 30-plus days.
I learned that less than 10 people even noticed that I was no longer on Facebook.
I learned that texting and calls on my cellphone are much more reliable to convey messages and emotions that Facebook can’t.
I learned that by not spending hours surfing pages on Facebook I have a lot more time to relax and do the things I need to get done.
I learned that I am terribly addicted to communication on Facebook and felt very alone in this world without it.
I learned that I have a handful of “real” friends and several hundred acquaintances who call themselves “friends” on Facebook.
I learned that my life will go on without checking my “friends” status updates on Facebook every 15 to 20 minutes, though I often click on the Facebook program icons even a month later out of sheer habit.
Dumping Facebook has been an interesting experiment to endure, yet I will return to activate my membership soon, at least I think I will.
I also plan on cleaning up my friends list and even blocking a number of rather emotionally hateful people who will never know I don’t even like them anymore.
I do need Facebook in my life but like most anything I need to moderate my daily intake of the social network.
Someone needs to start a 12-step program to help people curb their Facebook intake.
“Hi, I am Jim and I am a Facebook-aholic…”
Laugh if you dare but some big-city wingnut will come up with this concept and people will go to “Facebook Anonymous” meetings two to three times a day.
As this column is printed I will have reached 35 days of Internet sobriety from Facebook. I don’t know how much longer I can really go without reactivating my account with the holidays coming and me being stuck at home alone.
I spent last year’s holiday season alone and don’t really want to go through that again without at least Facebook there to communicate with.
Perhaps it might make it easier not to have Facebook active through the holidays so I don’t have to read other people’s posts about how wonderful their lives are.
Of course the next question for another column is, “How much do your friends lie in their Facebook status updates?”
Well enjoy your day and please post something on Facebook to let your “friends” know what you are up to. Better yet, how about calling them and having a personal conversation one-on-one and letting them know you do really care about them.
The more people we communicate with at one time, the less personal that communication becomes.
Editor’s note: Gering Citizen founder Jim Headley is now the Managing Editor at the Dakota County Star in South Sioux City, Neb.
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