Farewell Facebook, and Good Riddance

Facebook may create more connections, but they're shallow connections.

What's the point of being connected with people we normally wouldn't be connected with, like friends from elementary school, the dude at Trader Joe's, fellow zombie enthusiasts? These Facebook "friends" aren't even really friends. Neither does Facebook create more genuine friendships. A study released in 2011 found that, in the past 25 years, Americans have become more isolated. Despite having large quantities of Facebook "friends," people in fact have fewer close friends in real life.

At first the idea behind reconnecting was fun. Reuniting with people from the past was a great thrill. You catch up, exchange stories, relive old times. And then what? Then they're just there, looking at your every move, "Liking" every moment of your life. (Or not "Liking" them and making you feel depressed about it.)

There are friends of friends that I've met once, and yet I know what they do all day. I know what they had for lunch because they checked in at Chili's. I know they were at Target because they shared a 20 percent discount coupon to Tide detergent.

Sure you can hide these people from your newsfeed. So why add them in the first place? You'll end up hiding almost all of your contacts.

Facebook encourages oversharing.

The site makes it effortless to put everything out there, so we constantly overshare. Some users don't bother (or perhaps don't care) about who sees what, or if friends of friends see their wedding photos or baby sonograms. But sharing what should be special moments with people we've never met, or barely know, diminishes the event itself and could perhaps even damage relationships.

Ultimately, Facebook is changing the human race. People think, speak and live in status updates. We have become short spurts of witty commentary. It's becoming increasingly difficult to truly connect with a person, rather than just their online character. We are all becoming narcissists.

"We've become accustomed to a new way of being 'alone together'…We have gotten used to the idea of being in a tribe of one, loyal to our own party," wrote M.I.T. professor and psychologist Sherry Turkle in the New York Times.

Since leaving Facebook, I actually speak to people on the subway platform or at the coffee shop instead of commenting online to a digital proxy of a person that may or may not exist.

I didn't leave Facebook because I hate my Facebook contacts. But I would rather hug them in person than "Poke" them. I prefer to laugh out loud than LOL. I'm happier emailing someone directly instead of commenting on their status update.

I already spend too much time on the internet working, paying bills, shopping, downloading.

Will I go back to Facebook? Who knows, but the odds actually aren't in my favor. According to the Pew Research Center, 61 percent of those who take a break from the site end up going back. I, however, intend to be in that strong minority that, once gone, stays gone.

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