After months of intermittent grumbling about app requests, lame status updates and the unwelcome advent of Timeline, I finally broke up with Facebook.
I posted a goodbye message to my friends, said I may or may not return and deactivated my account. Then I proudly announced the breakup on Twitter to a round of internet cheers.
Granted, this separation period is probably more of a break than a break-up, but either way, it’s a much-needed breather for my online social life.
I originally joined Facebook as a MySpace enthusiast who came to the “dark side” only to stalk a crush. Once I accepted that MySpace had turned into a virtual ghost town, I embraced Facebook and found that it was a convenient way to catch up with friends, family and long lost fifth-grade BFFs.
For a while, sometime in between the roll out of the News Feed and the dreaded timeline, sometime before you could “like” every single thing on the site, Facebook was fun. I’d post pictures of weekend excursions, write status updates about weird dates and let friends know about extra tickets I had to whatever concerts I was reviewing that week. I re-connected with people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years and chatted until the wee hours of the morning. I stalked more crushes.
But at some point, Facebook turned into an avalanche of fluff, filler and borderline spam. Now, most of my “friends” are people I’ve never met or barely know and most of my interactions involve untagging myself in self-promotional notes, blocking apps and games, ignoring wall posts from artists telling me to “click here!” and declining event invites to internet mixtape releases – no, not release parties, just releases.
Even updates from family and actual friends have become increasingly mundane or misleading, as if we’ve run out of ways to be genuinely engaging. Most of the time I’m reading about someone frying eggs or walking up the stairs, or I’m subjected to self-absorbed rants about wild levels of success in every possible aspect of life, only to meet up with these people in person, congratulate them on their achievements and then listen in surprise as they deconstruct the myths and facades they’ve perpetuated on Facebook.
I know I’m guilty of it too, of showing my “friends” something closer to what I want them to see than what actually is. It’s the nature of the site, and social media in and of itself, that we try to recreate ourselves online, filtering out what we deem as undesirable and focusing on appearance at the expense of authenticity.