Bags of Bran

How I Failed at Social Media
November 10, 2010, 9:16 am
Filed under: Biography

[This was my “Goodbye, Cruel World” note to Facebook, the number one social media soul-vacuum on earth. Posted here for purposes of interest. Comments welcome!]

Hello, Facebook Friend. This is your old [insert appropriate relationship noun here] Chris.

You may or may not read this in its entirety after you get through this sentence: I’m done with Facebook.

It’s not your fault.

The reasons are many and tangled, but they boil down to one common denominator: Facebook has cheapened everything it has touched in my life. It’s not like having real friends, where you have to make an investment in order to secure the right to speak your mind freely. In the world of Facebook, you speak, some approve, some disapprove. Sometimes you try to speak for the purpose of securing approval, so you craft your speech to get that result. But your speech disappears into an enormous pile of detached speech, contextless, clueless, meaningless.

Perhaps there are things about me you don’t want to know, but I’ve told you anyway: I know I’ve been over-informed by people who would never do such a thing in a normal, face-to-face exchange. Perhaps you’ve hunted for details about my personal life in pictures or words I’ve left for the world to see: I’ve done similar things, and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve discovered things that I never would have asked of people in a million years. You looked in my fishbowl, I looked in yours.

Perhaps you clicked your approval and forgot all about me. Perhaps I offended you somehow but you kept me around, hidden from your regular feed. Perhaps you’ve sifted my page with a comb, looking for Heaven knows what. Perhaps you’ve checked in on me once in a while when I said something you felt was noteworthy. I’ve done at least one of these things to each of you.

Do you care about my library, religion, bikes, wife, dog, bird, and Hebrew grades? I sure do, but I am not a book junkie, a religious zealot, a compulsive cyclist, married beyond my means, a pet owner, or a Hebrew novice. I’m the sum of these things, plus a billion other interests, prayers, jokes, sins, concerns, and elsewhat that I have not shared with you. You’re not getting the whole story. You’re not meant to.

I’m a human being, in whom the common threads that tie these outward characteristics together are not communicable on social media, and I’ve concluded that it is a waste of my time to attempt serious communication when the person above me in your news feed has posted something about being drunk and the person below me has linked to some political website. I’ve tended to be guarded and benign so as to avoid cheapening things I hold dear after a few lessons learned about opening one’s heart wide for the vultures to eat.

My interests will now be my interests, and yours will be yours. Where interests intersect, we will intersect.

For future correspondence, you can reach me in such ways as writing me a letter with a pen on a piece of paper. Or you can do it electronically they say. Or you can see me face-to-face at church, at school, at work, at bike races, in the woods, at bookstores, in Oregon, etc. Not at bowling alleys or Golden Corral.


Your [insert new relationship noun, as informed by the screed above],



2 Comments so far
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I was mortally weary of the needless drama, temptation, and irritation that arose from Facebook, so I posted the above note on my wall about 12 hours before I axed my account. Now I can waste my time in more productive ways!


Comment by christopheram

[…] I said a while back, I slunk from a prominent social media forum a battered and broken fellow, bruised and (hopefully) […]


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