Friday, March 30, 2012

Anti-Social Networking

Over the last year, have struggled to balance my use of social networking; Of course I had a Facebook page, and then there was Twitter, GooglePlus, LinkedIn and a few Google groups too. It was getting overwhelming, keeping all these accounts straight, and now I've got to keep track of MeetUp, and Pinterest too? I rationalized that I needed to be on all these sites. In my field it is important that I to stay up to date with trends in technology, design, and popular culture. I was networking, building a circle of contacts for my career, and providing information to my students. But what I actually got was more and more stressed. I put up with whining, vulgarities, politics, drama, music videos that I don't watch and vague, cryptic status updates. "Enough is enough!"

In December we got rid of our satellite connection and it has been incredibly liberating! I have not missed watching television at all. I'm ready for the next step and just deleted my Facebook account. Today I spent over 3 hours collecting the phone numbers, email and birthdays from each of my nearly 200 "friend's." I then untagged myself from hundreds of photos and comments, downloaded photos that I want to retain and bookmarked several dozen websites I will want to revisit. In the next few days I will need to contact my family and friends who may not know how to get hold of me outside of Facebook.

It sickens me to consider how many hours, perhaps even days, I have spent on social networking sites over the last five (or more) years. What could I have done with that time? What might I have read, drawn, written, created? I've got a shelf full of books to read, a box (or two) of fabric to stitch, a dozen or more notebooks full of story ideas, and plenty of empty pages in my sketchbooks. There's a new pair of running shoes and a dog that needs exercise. My flute and a harmonica are waiting. And I've got a blog should any of my REAL friends want to see what I am up to or comment on my musings.

One more thing that has been neglected since I've been on-line; my bed. It's got something that no website can ever provide, big fluffy pillows and a husband I love.


  1. I think time management is important, and you know it is something I struggle with. But, I disagree with the PURGE technique.

    Rather than demand an additional burden upon your friends to add yet another step to THEIR days (or risk being labeled as "not REAL friends"), why don't you categorize your relationships into folders, block some people, and check in once a month? I see that you might get annoyed with whining and politics and more, but this blanket rejection send a message that you are not interested in staying updated and seeing pics of MY family and life achievements.

    There's nowhere here to attach pics here, I'm not going to even remember to visit here, and I don't have time to email friends and family individually.

    Friends and family that opt for the offline relationship with me get a Christmas card once a year (if I get around to it, which is less and less likely). This is not an indication of a deterioration in my desire to communicate, it's a direct reflection of a changing society where cost-of-living has created increasing pressure to work more hours, limiting the amount of time I can contribute to friends, entertainment, exercise, vacations, and etiquette. This is especially true for the next several years as I need to pay for college educations.

    But enough about why it's important to ME that you continue to have at least a rudimentary presence on FB. I mean, good God, did you listen to yourself describe how much additional WORK you put upon yourself just to eliminate a perfectly useful tool?

    In an educator's role, I also believe it's important that you consider social media and online communications as an integral part of your job. Emerging trends are going to influence your future as an educator, and the work and opportunities of your students.

  2. I'm confused... where's the like button for this post? :)

  3. I came to same conclusion on a smaller level when i realized i was spending hours on the stupid farmville even when i didn't want to do it, so i know where you're coming from... i dumped it and half of my 'friends', put the rest on lists and just pay attention to those i really want to see and now i enjoy my fb instead of feeling like it was another chore in my day... all we can do is make choices that seem best for our lives at the time and if this is what you feel you need to do at this time then nobody should tell you otherwise... hope to see you once in awhile and occasionally remember when we were 'small' ;) ~ deb