Facebook was a way to connect with people. I could contact people I hadn’t heard from in a long time. It was somewhat invaluable in this aspect. One of my friends changed his cell phone number, and respective e-mail address, and I was able to contact him again only because we were Facebook friends. That was twelve months ago. We never met up.
One of the biggest issues with Facebook is the concept of Facebook friends, which is the main reason I quit. Think about all of what is involved. We have never had to think about friendship so black and white before. If somebody mentioned the name of Person A who was a friend from high school who I have not spoken to in several years, I would probably speak of the person in a positive light. However, it would probably be something like, “Oh yeah, we were pretty good friends in high school.” That would be the extent of it.
The fact is that I would never unfriend those people on Facebook. But then again, I am never going to think of contacting them in any meaningful way. “Never” is a strong word, but it is probably true of literally 90% of my Facebook friends. Really, a lot of my interactions with people are simply confined to Facebook comments. I’ve already made a post about the danger of these types of interactions. I would prefer a real interaction with them. Why can’t we meet up at a coffee shop or something? Arguably, Facebook can be used to make such a meeting happen, as its messenging system is very user-friendly.
The reality is that that won’t happen. It’s not like it needs to happen. Before Facebook, all those hundreds of “friends” from high school were people who you really didn’t talk to several years later. That is still the case today, anyways. What we are left with is many of your “friends” seeing your status updates, and a few of them leaving comments-not all of which are appropriate comments, anyways. So these people can see your life as it unfolds without investing in it in any meaningful way. And then they can comment however they like? Really, is that how it is supposed to work?
To get back to the main point, we have never had to think about friendships this way. Think about it. Wouldn’t I have to be really mad at (borderline hate) a person to unfriend them on Facebook? That’s how I feel about the issue. And yet when you don’t talk to that person for several years anyways, isn’t it true that you are not really their friend anymore?
Why are people scared of saying that somebody isn’t their friend? Most people inevitably have their close circle of friends. They don’t need to publicly proclaim their friendship-it’s obvious to one another. To stop being friends with them would take something big. And yet it seems as difficult to unfriend people on Facebook, for many people.
So I haven’t unfriended people recently. Instead, I simply quit Facebook. It hurts not having some of the connections I had with a select few people. I trust that anybody who really wants to contact me will be able to get in touch with me. I feel really bad about severing the connection, and I may sign back into Facebook (thus reactivating it) just to give more people a chance to contact me. Maybe they will search for me on Google Plus.
Here’s how it went for me. I thought I was friends with somebody; I mean real friends. We are from different countries-we hung out when we could, mostly in Japan. He added me as a Facebook friend a few months ago despite not having any contact whatsoever for about 20 months. I tried to contact him a few times before then. He may have received those e-mails, but I don’t know. When I sent him a message through Facebook, he didn’t respond to it. Did he just miss it? Maybe; he is a relatively new user. His not responding was not uncommon to me by this point of time. But he added me as a friend on Facebook. Doesn’t that mean he is only allowing me to contact him more easily? Why would he open a line of communication and then not utilize it?
This falls under the assumption that people use Facebook to contact people, which is not true. People use Facebook to stalk, in a sense, other “friends”. I am not saying my friend is doing that, but it is true that he can peer into my ‘social life’ as much as I can his. But why should he get that advantage? Has he done anything recently to keep the real-life part of the friendship (the only part that matters, frankly) going? Has he contributed in any meaningful way to my life recently? I would say not.
I can’t stand what I had to think about after his non-response. He who was once my friend is just a Facebook friend. If not for Facebook, I could dismiss his not responding, perhaps, more easily. Being a Facebook friend is not a positive classification. To think that my friend was reduced to that classification is too much for me. It’s my weakness, but I’d rather not know that he really wouldn’t respond to me, despite being given many convenient methods to be able to communicate with me.
Facebook ruined what I thought about him. Life gets in the way of hanging out with people. This much is understandable. But when it is this easy to contact people and respond, perhaps the expectation is higher. I liked the days where we were mailing each other actual letters via postal mail. It seems like things actually went downhill when the e-mailing started. Skype was fine-we talked for a couple hours once, and then occasionally a few other times. Those were good days.
I don’t know what happened. And I knew once I started typing about my friend that this post would deviate far from its original topic. But then again, perhaps it takes an example such as this to illustrate just exactly what it was that bothered me to the point that I would sever my connection with 400+ people (I think it was 450 or so). But then again, see how I framed that? Why in the world does Facebook determine my connections with people? It shouldn’t.
By deactivating Facebook, it puts things in equal light in my opinion. I can think more freely about who my friends are. I can look back at what e-mails and letters he has sent me (and I just spent a while looking at it) and on just that basis, I can consider him as my friend. I don’t have to think so hard about this Facebook thing.
“The medium is the message”. Facebook is not the proper medium for messages.