If you are reading this, and you follow me or interact with me on Facebook, you might be wondering where I went. And why I went.
Most of you know I am pretty active on Facebook. I am not the most active person, but I am up there with the best of them. You might wonder why that is, and lately it is a question I have been asking myself as well. As I attempted to answer that question I wasn't sure what kind of answers I would find in my mind. That is unusual for me. Usually, when I ask myself those types of questions I know the answers ahead of time. This time I certainly did not, although I had some ideas.
Here are some of the answers I have been batting around in my head.
I got involved with Facebook for one reason at the very beginning. I wanted to reconnect with old school mates from high school and I wanted to find a more convenient way to stay in touch with some of my current friends and relatives. One night I went out with my cousin and some of his friends from high school. Some of those people I knew casually for a long time. Others I had never met. One thing was constant: They were all on Facebook and raved at how great a tool it was. So, I decided to give it a try.
At first, I had no clue how to do anything other than friend my circle of 15 or 20 friends. I did that right away. After that, I started to connect with old high school friends. Some of those faded fast, as we both realized there was a very good reason we never spoke again after high school. Basically, we had nothing in common other than the fact our parents had moved into the same neighborhood in the 1970's and fate had forced us into the same high school. After that time period had passed, they went on to do what they do and so did I. There was no reason to connect. We were not connected in the first place. To say we were ever friends is inaccurate. We were acquaintances who interacted for a time. Much like I found about Facebook at some point.
Then I started to make a few friends with people on my "real" friends friend-list. Of all those, not one remains today on my list. Then, Facebook started suggesting friends for me to make. These were people I really had no connection to. But, I didn't really understand the Facebook dynamic and I sent out a friend request to any of those that I was allowed to and a certain amount of people accepted. Of those, a few remain and I am very glad I connected with them and became friends. As time went on, most of those also faded away. But even from those, I met others and many of those have remained. That seems to be the nature of Facebook and in some ways real life.
Then there were those I encountered by accident and happened to friend. Of those, many have remained and I also got quite a few friends from them that remain.
I have to ask myself this question: Why have some endured while others have faded off? I suppose this is the same question I could ask myself about the ones from high school. My answer to that is that we have common interests and likes. I am a pretty diverse person as a rule, so that common interest can take many forms. For the most part, this is what has kept me on Facebook and active as long as I have.
What I found as I went along was that the easiest way to enhance the enjoyment experience was to form or join groups. I did a lot of that for a while, but like anything, it got repetitive and boring after a while. In spite of that, I decided to keep hanging around and try to make it better. I tried and I tried, but pretty much it just never did. It got stale fast and didn't get fresh.
Facebook, at first, was like really great chocolate to me. Chocolate I found in the back of the drawer that I had forgotten about. It was that good at first. Once you get really into it, you just can't get enough. That is how it felt 4 years ago when I signed up.
First and foremost, what has kept me most interested was the chance to express myself and find people who seemed to want to genuinely wanted to listen to what I have to say.
I remember the isolation I felt when I first started writing. Being alone all day, just writing. Sometimes you just need the stimulation to keep you going. Or to just break up your day. Facebook seemed to provide that. In some ways it still does, but certainly not like it did before. And I certainly figured out that I spent way more time with it than I should have based on what I was getting back. It had the feel or watching TV reruns. It was familiar and comfortable, but there was nothing new. It was more killing time than investing and enjoying time.
So, in many ways, it was something that came along at the right time. But then it became something else. I used it for avoidance and distraction to get out of doing my work. When that wasn't bad enough, I played enough word games to waste even more time. It got to the point where my world was revolving around Facebook. And that is not a good thing.
I like Facebook. It has some very good features and I certainly have met some great people on it. For those reasons, I certainly will go back to it when I find a happy balance. But that balance was way out of whack, and it seemed the only way to bring it back towards some semblance of harmony was to go off it cold turkey.
It was time to do other things and then come back to Facebook later and let it find its place. It's rightful place. The place I probably should have started out at in the beginning. But I didn't know anything about what I was doing then. I do now. And, I myself have changed. I have to take that into account.
In a way, I am De-Facebooking myself. Once that is complete, I will come back and hopefully it will be used in the proper perspective.
I have begun to do many of the things I used to do and got away from for a few years.
Watching the news. Reading articles about what is going on, from different perspectives. Watching movies and TV shows. Writing about varied subjects.
If I have learned anything over the past few years it is this: Facebook is the type of thing that you can really get caught up in and you only have yourself to blame when you do that. If you use it properly and within proper perspective it is a great tool. However, I find many do not. I might have been one of those. But even if I was, I certainly won't be anymore.