My column is live again– and it’s always so exciting!! But although I got some wonderful e-mails last time, it just wasn’t the same. They were from mostly strangers who read the paper– and that was validating in itself.
I’ve posted them here, but they hardly ever get comments. Writing is a solitary activity– we need to share it with people, after all that work.
And although my blog subscriptions have doubled, that’s not the same either. I appreciate that some people who previously only read my columns on facebook made a point to subscribe so they wouldn’t miss it–that shows a terrific loyalty.
But I miss the random conversations that would pop up on my wall– random people would comment, and different friends of mine who didn’t even know each other would end up talking. Those little comments were quicker, but they were from a variety of people. They meant more because they were from people that I care about, people I know.
I used to think that the opinions of strangers on my writing was somehow more “valid” — because they didn’t owe me any compliments. But the truth is, my friends and family don’t either. They tell me what they think– because they care. They read my columns because they care– THAT is special, and important.
Practically, not having facebook is a major pain. It creates a lot of extra work when trying to find the most basic information.
Yesterday, I was trying to find information about my favorite band, Hairbanger’s Ball. There was conflicting information about what time they play at Bourbon St. If I was on facebook, I could have cleared this up in minutes by myself. But because I’m not, I had to check the bar’s site against the band’s page, and then ask two different people to confirm details.
I wanted to prove that you can live without facebook– that it’s not a sociological imperative. And it’s only been a few months. Not even 90 days!
I’ll never forget the reactions most people had when I told them I was deleting my account:
Sure, I COULD live without facebook. I’m doing it, aren’t I?
I’m going to be honest: it sucks. It DOES make everything harder.
But how far do my journalistic obligations go?
One CEO wrote to tell me that my column inspired him to delete his own account!. What about him?
If I go back, I let that CEO down. I did it for nothing. I deleted 439 people. Many of whom I’ll never talk to again.
I’ve gotten a lot of pressure to go back. But on the other hand, I’ve also gotten a lot of support about it as well.
And there are all kinds of ways I could justify going back– because I’m a writer, and I need a way to interact with my readers.
But the truth is, managing my facebook was getting overwhelming– and I didn’t know how to do it anymore. So I chose not to deal with it at all.
There were so many times I wanted to stop before I finished deleting. But I had declared I would do it– and I didn’t want to back out.
And honestly, I haven’t given my friends much lee-way: they probably don’t know what to say anymore. If they pressure me to go back, I’m annoyed. If they encourage me to go back, I’m annoyed.
Maybe the truth is I regret my decision, and am afraid to go back. It would require so much more work this time.
I have no way to access my original profile– it’s locked up. I checked to see if facebook’s policy was true– and it was. After 14 days, if you don’t log-in or use the Open ID to comment anywhere else through facebook online, your profile becomes defunct. It remains within facebook’s archives, but you’re still locked out.
I would have to start over completely– re-add people. Some people might not re-add me, because I already deleted them, even though I deleted everyone.
I wouldn’t have any pictures at all.
On the other hand, I would have a fresh start.
A few people said, ” Add me if you come back!”
For some people the verb was WHEN.
I have a friend who successfully lived without facebook for entire year, plus almost a full week. But even he went back. He certainly proved that you can do it– what I was trying to prove.
But he missed the camaraderie. He’s having fun being back.
What would be the point of me trying to stay away for x number of months? Of not going back?
At this point, I’m just being stubborn. I think now it’s more about pride than anything else.
And who’s missing out? Me.
I’m missing out on what’s happening with my friends, on easy access to local events and a quick way to communicate with my family.
My privacy concerns still stand– I still believe facebook is manipulative and unethical.
But it’s where the people are. Where everyone is.
I want to go back to the party.