When I first heard of Facebook, I was in high school. At the time it was college only to sign up and I was still in the dark. A dark room that is, staying up all night customizing my MySpace page so that it had the best layout of the week.
I don’t quite remember how I caught wind that they were now allowing high school students to sign up for the service, but when I did it was of the utmost priority to get in early because even back in my junior year, I was a huge nerd.
I went to a very small private high school on Long Island, NY, so when it came to signing up, Facebook never heard of it. That didn’t stop me. I filled out a bunch of fake info for a public school in my area and I was in.
That was it. Mission accomplished. Now what? None of my friends were on it yet and the network of people I could see I didn’t even go to school with. That profile collected digital dust while I continued to copy and paste HTML into the MySpace editor.
Then comes a year later. I’m in my freshman year of college and now anyone can sign up for a Facebook profile. MySpace was growing stale, more towards music and customizing your page became a chore. It was the right time for my generation to move on.
Having a Facebook back then showed you had socially matured and once all of your old high school classmates realized it, it was like you didn’t skip a beat. It was simple, organized and fun to use. Now, six years since I created a real Facebook page, mine is deactivated and I couldn’t be happier.
Think about all that has changed since 2006. Forget about the UI or design choices. We now have games, gifts, apps and video chat. Users now integrate their Pinterest, post E-cards and have public fights over politics, religion and the Jersey Shore. Your parents, grandparents, their friends and every extended family member that you never see are there alongside your work friends, school friends and close friends. All of them posting their opinions, thoughts and criticisms not only at their will, but regarding your thoughts too. There’s no limit, there is no stopping it and it all crept up on you a little bit at a time.
Someone please tell me this sounds fun because to me it feels like a real headache. For the past eight months I checked Facebook very infrequently and thought that I could keep the profile there to casually communicate with acquaintances; But I found myself looking at a timeline that basically shows everything posted on not only your friend’s wall, but their friends of friends wall sorting throughout a constant stream of nonsense. Yes, I could spend the time hiding, de-friending, tweaking, SETTINGS UPON SETTINGS AND MORE SETTINGS! But where does it end?
Twitter may not be the answer for everyone, but I find that it’s the best way to get out a quick thought, follow news and talk with friends. As far as sharing photos? Right now I am, indeed, using a Facebook owned app, Instagram. It serves its purpose, but we’ll see where that goes soon enough. And if Instagram turns to crap, there are plenty of alternatives. I am not here to encourage your to quit Facebook, but when it comes down to “brass tacks”: What are you using it for? For me, that was the exact question I asked myself right before confirming my deactivation, and trust me, I’m not planning a relapse.
I don’t hate Facebook the company, I dislike Facebook the product. I would have been content with Facebook’s early functionality with an upgraded design and relevant features, but it has gotten out of control to the point where I can’t handle it. Right now Facebook is continuing to build an empire. It’s just an empire that I don’t see myself being a part of. What I thought in 2006 was socially maturing has grown to become the opposite for me six years later. There’s no question social media has been a world changing experience, but remember that people need to make a living and all of these services come at price.