a few weeks ago i decided to leave faceb@@k after finishing a particularly stressful editing project. during the project, which i had procrastinated severely on, i kept getting emails saying "john has also commented on his status" or "jill has sent you a message" or "elvira has written on your wall."
i think it had become extra stressful at that time because i was suddenly connecting with tons of people from my high school days. i went to three different high schools, so i "know" lots of people (three times the amount, i guess!), but i honestly don't remember most of them, and i'm quite sure they don't remember me. and, much more stressful, is that IF they happen to remember me, they remember me in a way i would rather not be remembered.
i was such a dork in high school. i know, you will say "everyone was." no, seriously, i struggled to have even the most basic social skills. i was in marching band (social death wish right there), i wore glasses AND braces at the same time, and because of various financial reasons (the main one being my parents were in college when i was in middle school) i almost never had anything fashionable to wear.
so imagine my anxiety when two pictures of me in 8th grade surfaced on facebook? at first i tried to be a good sport. it was a class shot, after all, not just one of me by my dorky self. but then i noticed some people didn't even remember me, and one girl even commented, "oh NOW i remember you. you were so nutty! in a good way LOL."
can i just stop and say how much i hate that acronym LOL? i refuse to use it. i guess my husband refuses to use starbuc&$ lingo when he orders a drink for me ("give me a medium mocha"), and i have to say that i refuse to use some of this texting language. it's just so irritating.
anyway, NUTTY? i'm a sensitive person, and i hadn't seen or heard from this girl in 20 years, and then that's what she posts about me? and of course, it's after about 18 people have already commented on the photo, so EVERY SINGLE PERSON on there got that little quip about me. ugh.
i found myself back in 9th grade, feeling insecure, unloved, ugly duckling, waiting to hopefully change into something better one day. and i didn't like what i was feeling. this was so dumb. after all, as i grew up, i literally RAN from those days, those people, created a new me.
or, maybe it's just that i didn't know who i was then, and as i grew up i became the woman i was always going to become. (i definitely think i had some amazing people around me in my early 20s to shape who i am today) and i also recognize that no one knows who he or she is in middle school. but you know, that's not how you or i remember it: we just remember those mortifying moments when a friend paid a boy you liked a dollar to dance with you at a middle school dance. yes, that happened to me. it was horrifying. it was potentially life-ending.
ok, so at the risk of sending myself out to the edge of the front porch, threatening to jump off the one foot drop-off (it would hurt my already injured knee, at least), i will keep all my other early kristi memories to myself. :)
but this was all happening at the same time, and i just sort of lost it related to faceb@@k. so i decided that i was going to quit, and before i even did anything about it i felt so liberated.
first, i went through and got rid of about 160 "friends," though. i know, call me grouchy, antisocial, whatever. i just couldn't stand seeing updates of people i really didn't care about, and i know, you will say "well just don't look then." yeah right. i am proud to say that i do not watch reality tv shows, and this is for my own safety: when i go down that path i just can't turn back...
so then, when i tried to delete my account, it was just "deactivated." beyond the more obviously shocking privacy implications, i also thought, "oh no, i can go back whenever i want." it's like quitting heroin, only to have an unlocked closet stocked full of needles. (and if you use this social networking device, then you absolutely, unequivocally know what i'm talking about--how many times have i seen new users say "_____ needs to cook dinner for her family but can't get off FB"? how many times have i felt this way?!)
i updated my status to let everyone know i was going away and to contact me via email if they wanted to stay in touch. even though it's not as easy, it's much more intimate anyway to stay in touch with electronic letters. then i made a couple more status updates, and someone on my friend list actually asked me if i needed to adjust my medication.
well, that's like asking a woman, "are you PMS'ing? because you are a real bitch today." :) i knew i was being too sensitive, but then again, in a world where you can just type anything you want and hit "enter" before you even think, i have to say that i don't think it was JUST that i was being sensitive.
so i kept my account open, because i want to be able to see pictures of my nephew and stay in touch with my sister, but i have committed to not posting status updates. i went through and cleared out about 2 months' worth of updates, and as i was doing that i kept thinking, "how narcissistic am i?" most of the crap i posted on there was just that--crap. the pictures are worth keeping on there, but seriously, who cares if i just finished cleaning toilets or baking cookies or am about to strangle my kids? (joking, people, joking!)
i am trying to practice self-control. and this, for me, is a good start, especially in an age where we are completely accessible 24/7, even to people we care nothing about and really don't want to be connected to anymore.
if you struggle with this and at least want to reign in the privacy settings on your account, this is a GREAT article that tells you step by step how to do it.
happy networking! ;)