Today I deactivated my Facebook account. I've been mulling this move for some time, and only now have I decided to take the plunge. I tell you: the experience is liberating.
Why sign off Facebook just when everybody else is on it? Well, that's kind of the point. To me, Facebook has lost its novelty, its "cool" factor. It's fun when it's a small secret between you and your friends; it's just blecch when everyone and his great-grandaunt on the father side is posting their summer pics and sending you Farmville invites. And when Facebook becomes the medium for local political campaigns? Well, I don't know about you, but for me, that's the sign to take my leave.
In deactivating my Facebook account, I'm also shutting out updates and reminders from over 700 friends. These friends are the reason I held out for so long. These aren't fake friends, mind you, because I've been careful to add only those people whom I have actually met in person, give or take a couple of mutual acquaintances. It seems incredible, I know, but I think I hit that number because I've lived and worked in four different cities, and count acquaintance in technical and literary circles.
No doubt, Facebook has been a great help in keeping in touch with all these friends, remembering birthdays, and finding common interests. But at some point, the minutiae becomes all too much. I'm happy enough to learn of a birth in the family, or share in the joy of a trip to an exotic land, but do I really need to know what my grade school classmate had for lunch? And no, I don't care how many acres your make-believe farm has, not when I can enjoy the very real avocados from the very real garden in our backyard, thank you very much.
If you're one of those people I've cut off owing to my Facebook suicide, I'm sorry. It doesn't mean that I don't want to be your friend any more. On the other hand, it means that I want a friendship with a deeper meaning and more authentic interaction than what a social networking site can provide. I want you to be more than a profile picture and a status update: email me, call me, send me a postcard, visit me, ask me out for coffee. I promise to do the same.