Even though I have a Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest account, and have recently sworn off Facebook, I have a hard time getting the jest of social media sites in general. Yes, I’ll agree that even having a blog is somewhat a part of the social media craze, although I personally think of my blog as more of a snail-slow phone call to the ones who read my posts. Is that social media too? Okay, it is, but not like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and all those other sites that have people staring at their phones constantly. My blog doesn’t have a “stream”. People who are subscribed to my blog are getting notified once a week about a new post written. This is nothing like the three-minute chatter at social media sites.
What is it that I’m not understanding?
I don’t think any of these sites are designed for conversation, let alone meaningful dialogue. I think of them as sites where I can do what I think of as a “shout out”. For example, “Come read my latest post on my blog.” Another example, “I just bought a new house.” Yet, I know many people use these sites for much more than that and most of it is pretty lame.
Is it they don’t have enough going on in their lives so they occupy their time writing on the stream of a social media site? Are they lonely in need of friends?
My life isn’t chalked full of things to do. I don’t have very many friends either. Nevertheless, I can’t see how spending hours on a social media site is going to make me feel my life is richer or that I have more friends. If I want to do more with my life, I’ll start volunteering my time at one of the local charities. If I get lonely, I’ll do the same thing, volunteer my time so I can meet more people. Sitting on the sofa with an iPhone or tablet writing in a stream where I really don’t know anyone isn’t going to cut it.
So, why have I sworn off Facebook?
The first thing I noticed about the stream at Facebook when I first joined several years ago was the worthless dribble many of the members were writing. Being a newbie at the site, I assumed I just needed time to understand what people were doing. Now, years later, I still think most of what I’ve read on Facebook is shallow and meaningless. I mean, who needs to know if your puppy stopped needing papers on the floor at night? Chances are if the puppy could understand what was being written, it would bite the owner because of embarrassment. The only people who would be interested in something like this are the friends and family that person sees face to face each day. There isn’t any necessity, and probably very little desire, to have this information in cyberspace.
The second aspect of Facebook’s stream I realized a few years later was the drama that goes on between family members and friends while exchanging their babble on the site. I have watched families and friends break up on the Facebook site for the flimsiest of reasons. In fact, I’m not sure if they should be called reasons at all. Situations usually don’t get out of hand this way when there are face-to-face conversations because amends are made right on the spot without anyone getting any “wrong ideas”.
Now, with the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, being in the spotlight for the misuse of data, disasters with privacy issues, and lack of accuracy and integrity at the site, I felt that this was the straw to break the camel’s back. I don’t have any big dark secrets in my life but I do value my privacy and I don’t want to lose it. I’m told by authors on the internet that I need to put myself out there on social media sites like Facebook in order to be successful as a writer. I know, to a certain extent they’re right. However, I will not jeopardize my privacy for fame and/or money. To me, these are more or less shallow dreams that don’t measure up.
Yes, I know that what I already have on Facebook is there to stay. At least that’s the way it sits right now. Maybe, at the end of this investigation the FBI is conducting, I will have the opportunity to delete my data at Facebook.
I think about leaving Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest on occasion. As long as these three sites respect me though, I’m staying with them. [Yes, sometimes dribble is a good thing.]
“An open Facebook page is simply a psychiatric dry erase board that screams, “Look at me. I am insecure. I need your reaction to what I am doing, but you’re not cool enough to be my friend. Therefore, I will just pray you see this because the approval of God is not all I need.”
― Shannon L. Alder