Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Facebook: Losing the Human Connection

On Sunday, after spending over an hour weeding through and cleaning up my Facebook posts, I decided to try something novel. I decided to not update my status for a week. Nothing radical, no “I’m-deleting-my-Facebook-and-I’m-not-coming-back”, but simply leaving my status blank for a week. It couldn’t be that hard, right? Wrong. It’s been only two days and probably at least ten times a day I pick up my phone with the thought to update my status with my latest witticism or griping. It’s like Facebook withdrawal. I crave the outlet that Facebook offers me to portray and display myself and get feedback from those in my networks.

"...thinks that the hardest part of the commute this morning was getting out of the driveway."

"...hunkering down with tea and a movie to brave out the winter cold."

"...survived Tuesday -on to the rest of the week!"

"...would like to send a shout out to all my derby girls!"

"...has been sufficiently creeped out. Creepy old man, thank you, for ruining my day."

" tired of all the drama. Drama, drama, drama!"

When did we come so enamored with ourselves? The more I look at Facebook, the more I realize that it’s not about connecting, it’s about projecting. It’s an opportunity for us to put ourselves out there without taking any real risks and without encountering the real world. Every day we inform people of what’s going on in our lives, what we ‘Like’, what drives us nut, and how many virtual bushels we harvested from a digital farm yesterday. What is the purpose? Why am I more drawn to a virtual network than I am to everyday conversation?

In my experience, Facebook takes us and boils us down to our statuses, our comments, our pictures, which, while we see them as reflecting ourselves present only a two-dimensional picture of ourselves and the people we claim as 'Friends'. It is entirely too easy to take things out of context in a virtual world where verbal diarrhea is the norm.

I issue a challenge to you: Try a Facebook diet. Again, it doesn't have to be one where you delete your account and renounce the world, but maybe don't update your status for a week (or a month? I wasn't sure my willpower was great enough to last a month). Give it a try as an exercise out of curiosity and you may be interested by what you find out about yourself and your Facebook habit.

How's the Facebook Fast going? Check here for an update five months later.
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