My facebook-suicide note

This week, I have put an end to a consuming relationship with Facebook that has been part of my life for almost seven years. I have tried to pull off in the past as well but realized life isn’t all that better without it either. However, this time I think I have reasons to believe otherwise.


Over these seven years, Facebook has changed enormously and has -like every other serious contender of a long-term relationship -tried to be an ever-increasing part of our lives.

It has had embroiled not just me, but a whole generation of young demographics through its sedentary, non-verbal way of social interaction. It has become the de facto background process of our daily lives by constantly running on our phones, being the standard protocol of communication, and perpetually engaging us in a never ending network of updates. Every day at Paulo Alto, top engineers and developers (along with other breeds devoid of the art of normal human interaction) join heads at its headquarters to keep the millions of world population that forms part of Facebook still hooked on to the grid, giving an average of 15 minutes or more of their daily life to this website, and doing everything involving two or more people and no gainful physical exchange right in here.


I have not really been a major user of Facebook by world standards. Slightly above average in terms of number of minutes logged in/day, but certainly not to pathological limits. I also am not a very good sharer and I keep my profile information to the minimum. Over all, it’s just a convenient tool for me to have tabs on friends and be in touch. Sometimes I have nothing to do anyways and I use it a little longer.


So why is it that I feel so relieved now, and that I have so many more creative uses for my time? For example, this first Sunday, I looked at my  wall, and I kept looking at it. And I noticed how dirty it was and I cleaned it. It did not take a very long time, but the dirty wall has been there all this while. Then I watched a movie, and then I started to write this. The time has been there all along like my wall too, but I did not use it like this before.


May be it’s just a change of routine. But I think there is a more perpetual reason. Facebook eats off our time at exactly the right moments –when we are done with a job, trying to cool down, getting a bit ready for the next thing to do. And then we look at our feeds. We see all our other friends posting the most demotivational stuff they could find in an attempt to appear cool. We keep scrolling through it –loads of photos and memes and status updates and their comments. All of that is there just so that all participants feel good about not doing anything substantial. That is the major selling point of Facebook. People go to Facebook to make themselves comfortable in the knowledge that everyone else is equally lazy about the way they use their time.


And so we never get to stress our minds to plan the next thing to do. We don’t feel the need to venture off the herd, to explore new passions or nurture different hobbies. Instead, we all connect to each other and be part of a constant loop, that doesn’t really get us anything.


It is unfortunate that Facebook has become this way. I remember going all the way to London (a casual reference to brag about my international travels) in April and seeing people glued just as much to the blue-purple Facebook as people are here in Karachi. And I was thinking to myself, this trend is reducing the whole globe to a single web layout. It’s bringing so much poverty in our lives, not by snatching anything away from us, but by making us choose the monotonous and ordinary over something new and lively every day.


I would still be using Facebook, to share my blog posts including this one, until people start sharing stuff on their own Facebook for me. I would also like to be part of my college alumni group and the class group that is exclusively on Facebook. But I think I would keep my account majorly deactivated. Bringing it occasionally to life to get these chores done. I am also getting more involved in other social networks that are more goal-oriented, like couchsurfers and LinkedIn. If I am not wrong, the right phrase is ‘growing out of it’, but I can’t believe I stuck around for so long!

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 18, 2012. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

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