Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No, I didn't unfriend you.

No, I didn't un-friend you on Facebook. I didn't suddenly get annoyed with you stalking. I wasn't offended by something you wrote or by some stray comment you might have made. I just quit.

A friend at work brought up my recent departure from Facebook. For a moment, he'd thought I'd deleted him from my vast network of admirers, well-wishers and people who just dig the weird shit I say, but then realized, nobody was still my digital pal. I'd pulled the trigger on my account. Ka-pow. Gone.

It wasn't personal or maybe it was. I have like 570 or so people who I've picked up over the last year or so. Some are old fraternity brothers, a few are high school friends, one or two are people I've worked with in the last 20 years and the rest came from everywhere. Some of them are fellow bloggers I've had contact with. It's a lot of people.

I love people. I'm a guy who likes lots of friends, is into talking and hanging out, but Facebook really isn't about that. It's mostly about endlessly touching base, but never really getting far beyond that --at least, it was for me.

After my meltdown last week, I started reevaluating things and started thinking about the nature of some of my relationships. How many strictly digital friendships did I want? Looking at it that way, I felt disposable. I didn't like the way it felt --so I quit. I hung it up in favor of maybe rebuilding some real friendships, finding some new ones and being a person instead of a ten second sound byte or a video game character.

A couple of people have contacted me or spoken to me to ask me what's up and I've explained that I'm not entirely through with Facebook. As a guy who writes feature stories, I have to go where the stories are and there are stories on Facebook. But I'm taking a break from it and when I go back in a few weeks or a few months, I'm not going to be doing the same shit I was doing.

I know it's the coolest thing. I know it's supposed to be the biggest innovation in communications since movable type (seriously, I read that, I think, on Huffington Post), but it ultimately could be as bad for us as refined white flour, corn syrup or heroin --things that seemed like good ideas at the time, but have become a few of our local demons.

I am probably being overly dramatic, but I do know, it was too much. I craved the interaction, but ultimately felt lonelier and less connected because of Facebook.

I'd rather blog. I'd rather write letters, exchange e-mails or phone calls and every once in a while, meet for a cup of coffee or a cheeseburger, look across the table and just catch up.

Just a few less drive-by relationships. That's what I want.

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