I have had a Facebook account for exactly six years. Facebook reached LSU's campus during my final semester there, and I signed up in my final weeks. Back then only college students could create a Facebook account. In fact, you actually had to have a college e-mail address just to create an account. Back then Facebook was a fun diversion that I checked out a few times a week.
Fast forward six years.
95% of the people I know over the age of 10 have a Facebook account. It is ubiquitous. That means it is everywhere. There, you learned something on Facebook.
Anyway, I now check Facebook far more than once or twice a week. Facebook has been fully incorporated into my life. I can't go a day without telling hundreds of random and not-so-random people how cool the combination of what I am eating and listening to is. I can't go a day without intruding into other people's personal business--personal business that has now inexplicably become public knowledge. I can't go a day without looking at photos of people I never actually see or talk to in real life.
I can't go day without checking my stupid Facebook account. That is pathetic.
I haven't made it a secret that I am a bit of a technophobe, however, Facebook goes several steps beyond this. Facebook is not natural to human existence. To illustrate this while also highlighting a bit of my own character, here is a fake conversation between 28 year old Nicholas and 17 year old Nicholas. To set the scene, 17 year old Nicholas is sitting in his Thunderbird behind New Roads after school, watching the sun set over a cane field, listening to the radio (most likely to Portishead, Deftones, or The Police), and counting down the minutes until he has to go to work. 17 year old Nicholas has no cell phone and uses the Internet to read screenplays of movies that have not yet been released, download MP3's that take an entire night to finish, and look at other things perhaps best left unmentioned on a public forum. I use this version of myself because he was not afraid of anything and had solid and unshakable opinions. This was probably because he was naive and inexperienced, but still, he was pretty awesome.
28: Hey, dude!
17: Holy crap! You're me! And your nose is huge!
28: Yep, I am you in 11 years.
17: Awesome! Are you a famous writer now?
28: No, not really.
17: But you still write everyday, right?
28: Oh yeah, everyday. I work on my short stories, and novels, and Facebook.
28: It's a website...where you connect with people.
17: Connect with people? Sick, dude! I thought I would be married with a kid by now, not hooking up with random strangers on the Internet!
28: No, no, no, you are married with a kid. Facebook...it's a social networking site...where you interact with your friends.
17: Like Instant Messenger? But I hate that crap! Anyone can have access to you at anytime. Why do you think I come out here by myself?
28: Well, it's not exactly like that. You post information on what you are currently doing and where you are and people can talk to you about it.
17: Why the hell would I want to do that? Where is the mystery? Most people have no idea what I do with my time, and that adds an enigmatic note to my life that makes me who I am. Really, it isn't anyone else's business. What are you doing to me, man?
28: Well, I mean, you can look at pictures of everyone else and see what they are up to, too.
17: This is a nightmare! So everyone can have almost unlimited access to almost everyone that they know?
28: Well, not just know. Anyone that you meet, even if you are probably never going to see again. And your parents' friends. Sometimes even their friends, too. But it's cool. I post funny things that make people like me more, and...
17: Wait, I care about what people think about me now?
28: Well yeah, don't you?
17: No dude, I don't give a flying crap.
17: Yeah, man. I don't care. And how is it anyone else's business anyway?
17: The future sounds terrible. Really, that's what the Internet has dissolved into? Social networking? Do people still talk in real life?
28: Well...mostly we use Facebook and text.
17: Text? What do you do that with?
28: Your cellphone.
17: I have a cellphone now? No! If you have a cellphone it means that anyone can reach you anywhere. I never want a cellphone!
28: It is integral to your life.
17: No! I am moving to Canada.
28: Canada has cell phones and Facebook, too.
Anyway, enough of that. Essentially, I am quitting Facebook because it is merely a voyeuristic means to serve my own ego. It serves no useful purpose in my life except to keep in contact with people I don't otherwise see, and frankly, I can just do that with e-mail. There are other reasons of course.
For instance, one time after I posted a music video I enjoyed, a Christian woman I had only met on one occasion left the comment "Seriously?" under the video and immediately defriended me. Seriously? I didn't spend so much of my life fighting religious oppression (and still coming out with not only my faith intact, but my joys and interests as well) only to place myself in a position where people I barely know can take potshots at me again. I am an adult. That is just ridiculous. It happens all the time.
Also, the word 'ridiculous.' It is not 'rediculous.' If I have to see one more person spell that word incorrectly on here...well, I won't because I'm leaving.
I haven't even mentioned the times I could have been doing something constructive only to fall captive to Facebook's seductive spells.
And finally...Facebook is just unnatural. Just last night I saw an adult offend another adult by responding to their status with something that would have been appropriate in a real-life private conversation, but was absolutely humiliating in the Facebook environment. If not for Facebook, these division causing arguments would not even occur. At this point in history, do we really need more fruitless arguing and absolutely asinine things tearing us apart?
I guess we do.
Facebook fits in perfectly with our sound bite culture. Any idiot with a keyboard can say anything they want to anyone else at any time without putting any thought or care to it. Near unlimited access to information, and we use it to let everyone know what our favorite breakfast cereal is, or argue that someone else's favorite breakfast cereal sucks. Facebook is the slow death of American culture. It is why the brightest minds in China create bullet trains that can top 300 miles an hour, while our brightest minds' voices die out in limitless electronic fuzz.Yeah, I know that is melodramatic, but seriously, how much time is lost every year due to this one website?
If Facebook is still around in 50 years, it will most likely be in Mandarin.
And I'll probably be on it. But not now.
On Monday I am cutting the cord.