Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Party like it's 2003!

Do you remember what life was like before February 2004? That was when we had to actually, you know, be social in order to be part of a social network. Talk to people, invite them over, call them on the phone, or perhaps even use a quaint bit of technology called e-mail.

It's amazing, isn't it, that in just six years, it seems like people can't live without Facebook. Despite all the complaining about their frequent changes to the interface, annoyances at getting too many requests to help build someone else's farm, and concerns over increasingly reduced privacy, if you actually suggest to someone that they could, of course, just walk away from Facebook. They could delete their account (which, as it turns out, isn't as easy as it sounds) and be done with it.

It's about that time you start hearing a list of reasons why Facebook is like manna from heaven, and why they could never get rid of their Facebook account. They need it to keep up with Aunt Sue (because we all know how important it is to know she's having trouble keeping up with her children's school work). Or they need to be able to let all their friends gain easy access to all the photos they've been taking (even though, truth be told, no one really cares even though they're posting their own photos, too).

Thing is, we can live without Facebook. In fact, we did it for a few thousand years. In fact, even without e-mail or cell phones or internet or even land-line phones, people seemed to survive. In fact, people seemed to survive by relying more on one another than we do today. They actually formed social networks (aka, extended family) that would last for generations.

Now, before you think I suggest we go back to those days (and, frankly, it has a certain appeal to it), I'm merely suggesting that we seem to be willing to give up parts of our lives for this thing called Facebook quite willingly, forgetting that we got along just fine without it before. Because, as much as I enjoy reconnecting with old high school friends, or having last-minute updates on what's going on in everyone else's lives, none of that has ultimately improved my life.

So, a few weeks ago, I did something about it. I actually deleted my Facebook account. And you know what? I'm still kicking. Somehow, I'm still living my life, still loving my wife and kids, still going to work, still working in the yard. I'm still going to see family at our annual Memorial Day picnic. In short, I'm still partying like it's 2003.

You can, too.


Not that you have to. I'm just saying.


Michael Hoskins said...

What?? You deleted your Facebook account???? OMG!?!?!


Great post, Ryan. It's amazing how reliant (read lazy) we've become on these social media tools in connecting. We're less for it in some ways, though more connected and improved in some ways.

Anyhow, think I'll consider following your lead... soon. Once I Tweet about this and write a new blog to post then let everyone know by email.

Vijaya said...

Online *relationships* have diminished my real ones in a small way. Instead of taking a break from teaching and playing with the dog, I go to the Blueboards. Not good. I take periodic breaks (a Lenten retreat from the net, for ex.)... but have not made the big break because I've had the wonderful opportunity to meet some of the Blueboarders and exchange thoughts about writing, parenting and religion privately. Same with the blog ... So still on the fence. With summer right around the corner, I'll be outdoors more, working in the garden, playing, writing, etc.

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