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What I know about being off Facebook

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is part of an ongoing series documenting my social experiment as a former Facebook user. The observations and opinions expressed here are mine and do not in any way reflect those of my employers.

I got an email from a friend the other day saying she missed me on Facebook. It’s not the first such email, and it won’t be the last. It has been more than two months since I deactivated my Facebook account — again. And although I don’t miss it —  I do like not being on the world’s largest social network — this time around confirms what I discovered last fall: Being off Facebook makes for some weird real-world situations.

Unlike last time, I just deactivated without a lot of fanfare. This time there were no pleas for me to stay. No questions why. This time I made a clean break: For 24 hours, my status said, “I’ll be back. Promise.” And then I was gone.

After eight-plus weeks, I’ve found plenty of ways to keep busy — and more real-world social weirdness. I told a friend that because I’m not on Facebook that it’s as if I’m persona non grata. I have gotten (what seems to be?) cold shoulders from co-workers and former co-workers because they (might?) think I’ve defriended them. Even worse, I’ve lost a meaningful connection with co-workers and former co-workers whom I actually like — not to mention re-formed bonds with the college friends whom I truly love. Case in point: I’m just now catching up on plans for a 20-year reunion — but I’m not blaming the organizers. Facebook definitely makes it easier to orchestrate such events. If I’m not on Facebook, I have to work that much harder to be included.

But I don’t mind.

When I logged on after the first break, I found that as much as things change, the more they stay the same: I was losing the same 20 minutes every day that I had been losing before I logged off. And it was a precious 20 minutes. I had not deactivated my account because I think I’m too cool for Facebook; I did it to find some lost time because I am too easily distracted by — well, everything. Facebook was a crippling diversion for me at home. Away from work, every minute counts for me. There aren’t enough hours in the day. I needed to eliminate distractions that ate up my free time. Facebook was one of those distractions.

“But do you miss it?” That’s the question I get when I mention I’m a former Facebook user. The answer is no, not really. There are just so many things about Facebook I don’t like, such as its creepy “sharing” initiative or the classic overshares from the Chardonnay Moms or the chain-prayer posts. I have to admit, though, there are some things I miss. As a journalist and marketing/ecommerce student, I miss seeing what the marketers are doing with the brand pages. As a friend, I miss seeing what my friends are doing, how their kids are growing up. I miss seeing what my teenage niece is up to or the beach photos from North Carolina that make me homesick. All of which is more reason for me to make a real-life effort to connect — and to stay logged off.

 

NEW: Thinking about logging off? Baby steps for the Undecided<

 

EARLIER: How Lady Gaga helped me get off Facebook

 

YOU NEED TO KNOW: Mashable on Facebook’s auto-sharing feature

 

Author: Jacqui Barrineau

Jacqui Barrineau is a writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., with husband Trey, a Shetland Sheepdog, and two unhelpful-but-funny cats. Her work has appeared in "So to Speak" and "Calliope," and she's a regular contributor to the flash-fiction sites Paragraph Planet and Doorknobs & Bodypaint. Once upon a time, she was the audience engagement editor at USA Today. Now she does other fun things that involve advertising, marketing and social media. The views expressed here and in other outlets are hers, not her employers'. Outside of work, she's proud to serve on the Northern Virginia Community College Marketing Advisory Committee. As a committee member, she joins industry leaders in lending their knowledge and expertise to ensure the college's Marketing curriculum is relevant and responsive to the needs of the students and the surrounding business communities.

One thought on “What I know about being off Facebook

  1. I’m all in favor … but I’d miss my bird peeps and chillun too much. Thank goodness I have other outlets to commune with you, too. All strength to you! and here’s a pint, for luck (in general) tomorrow.

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