Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Goodbye facebook.

I deactivated my facebook account. I don’t want the shallowness of social media to define my relationships with people.

In conversations over the last few days, people have pointed out to me how it’s nice to “stay in touch” and see photos people post – I do not disagree. Maybe I’ll look for a photo sharing platform to post our images.

Staying in touch is not a bad thing either, but is it all that valuable or important? Do I really need to know what each of 372 people think, feel or do every day? That someone watched a TV episode, or baked a cake, loves her husband, found a good quote (that most likely the referenced person never said) or a cute photo and hates racists/stupid people/Miley Cyrus/Obama/take-your-pick? I really do NOT need to know all this. And reading your posts does not further my well-being, intelligence or who I am in the world. Nor does it connect me with the real you.

Before I disconnected, I had this really creepy sensation that we are all creating this pseudo-reality (and I was doing it, too), this image of ourselves that we present on facebook. We walk through our real life and think stuff like: Should I post a picture of our beautiful new trash cans (four different colors to distinguish the recycling categories) on FB so my American friends can see how real recycling works? Yuck. I didn’t want to think this way any more. The creepy feeling was that we are all involved in some collective mass hysteria, with pseudo emotions and pseudo political opinions, and we are all buying this bullshit from each other, by clicking ‘like’. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but I felt such deep discomfort, that I immediately disconnected, without thinking about it further.

Many people were surprised….but don’t be personally offended. I appreciate (note I did not say ‘like’ - the meaning of that word has been forever altered) each of the individual people I was connected with (the word ‘friend’ has been hi-jacked, too). No one in particular offended me… however I gotta tell those of you who change their profile pictures more than a couple times a year – you have a problem, and your narcissism annoys people. I hid your posts a long time ago.

So those of my real world friends who want to stay in touch can do that - and more (as in, actually have a conversation with me) through email and phone and skype. Those here in Berlin can come see me, too. I will build and mindfully nurture real relationships. I will continue this blog, because writing longer pieces provides the opportunity for depth of thought and good writing – something lacking largely from facebook.

I’d like to get some opinions on this from my readers and friends – not on facebook but in the comment function of this blog!


Anonymous said...

Eine Zeit lang haben mich all die Facebook-Postings auch fertig gemacht: "Emanzipierte" Frauen, die sich per Postings gegenseitig täglich ihrer Unabhängigkeit und Selbstbestimmtheit versichern. Und dazwischen immer wieder mal posten, dass sie gerade eine Diät planen/machen/gemacht haben.

Die ständigen "Glücksbeschwörungen" per Spüche-Bildern, gern mit Sonnenaufgang im Bildhintergrund etc. pp. Das ESSEN! Wer bitteschön ist überhaupt auf die Idee gekommen, dass man Mittagessen fotografisch verbreiten sollte? Ist mir unbegreiflich. Hätte man vor einigen Jahren einen Roman geschrieben und darin erzählt, es gäbe weltweit gigantische, stromfressende Serverfarmen, deren Aufgabe es zu 80% ist, Katzenbilder, Essensbilder sowie kurze Textschnipsel (aber in Bildform) rund um die Welt zu schicken und zu archivieren - man wäre doch als völlig plemplem dargestellt worden!

Hier im katolischen NRW habe ich auf Fragen nach der Religion normalerweise geantwortet: "Ich glaube an die Menschen" - und fand mich angesichts der täglich hundertfach multiplizierten Dämlichkeiten in Facebook irgendwann tasächlich in einer Art Glaubenskrise.
ABER: Tatsächlich finde ich den Mehrert des "in Kontakt bleibens" sehr sehr wertvoll von mir. Ich habe nie so viel vom Leben meiner Schwestern erfahren, wie seit ich sie via Facebook begleite. Oder die Familie meines Freundes und Trauzeugen in Mountain Viewm CA.

Und dass es Dich noch gibt, was Du machst etc. wusste ich vor Facebook auch nicht ;-)

Dies jedenfalls, das in Kontakt bleiben, funktioniert für mich gut. Besser als per E-Mail, weil man dadurch, dass man sieht, der Andere ist online, viel direkter erinnert wird, sich zu melden. Für mich ist das sehr hilfreich, weil zwischen Büro einerseits, Kinder,Küche, Waschmaschine andererseits - der Freundeskreis vor Ort naheliegend die Freunde außerhalb oft aus dem Fokus drängt.

Und schließlich gibt es tatsächlich auch viele wirklich interessante Initiativen, Ideen, Projekte etc., die ich über Facebook durch Postings kennenlerne.
Das ist oft wie die Nadel im Heuhaufen suchen, also vielfach Zufallsfunde zwischen Müll. Ich schaue aber eh nicht so regelmäßig rein, daher sind alle guten Funde eh Zufallsfunde. Es hilft, sehr genau zu gucken, wen man befreundet. Oder notfalls die Postings einzelner auszublenden, wenn man sie nicht mehr erträgt. Das konzentriert dann die "guten" Postings etwas auf ;-)

Liebe Grüße

PS: Über das Unternehmen, das man dabei unterstützt, darf man natürlich nicht nachdenken ;-(

Mary Alice Murphy said...

Good for you! I've thought about ditching FB periodically, because I rarely spend any time on it. I find it shallow, and not worth the time most people spend on it. I know I don't have the time, so if I hit it once a week, I'm doing well. It does get me responses/readers for the Grant County Beat, so for that reason it is useful to me. BTW, I was reminded yesterday that it was the Beat's third anniversary! Gratifying! And I hope you can access it now, since you had problems earlier in the week. Keep up the good work!

Pat Bennett said...

Yea Nikki!

There will be more of us right behind you.


Nikki Zeuner said...

yes, i can access the Grant County Beat, and it is a much better way for me to know what's going on than FB. Congrats on the birthday, you are out of the terrible twos. I really appreciate the Beat, both when i lived there and now.

Nikki Zeuner said...

Stimmt alles. Mir ist nur nicht klar, wie man das richtige Mass findet zwischen Gutem und Idiotischem. Ist mir einfach zuviel im Moment. Hoffe wir sehen uns bald mal!

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying your posts, Nikki.

I saw this one today, the same day I found myself seriously considering disconnecting from FB as well. It has only been truly useful in a few cases -- finding old highschool friends, getting real time info about dangerously nearby fires, and getting immediate answers to questions like how to get gum out of clothes or who might have camping equipment to lend. For the most part, however, I can't help noticing that "creepy feeling" I get, that you mention, which I can't describe quite as eloquently as you do, but which I speculate comes from some kind of false sense of connection or even a narcissistic high around "being seen by," but not really connecting with "friends." Your post gives me courage to get real and pick up the phone to reach out to people I care about, rather than log in and browse through comments left by "friends." I may even go so far as to pull the plug on FB!!


Thees said...

Facebook ist so 2008 :-D Der Trend geht zurück zum Blog. Der nächste Schritt der Emanzipation ist, Blogs wieder selber zu hosten. Sascha Lobo hat dazu auf der letzten re:publica ein schönes Panel zu gehalten. Frank Schirrmacher hat auch kluge Dinge zum digitalen Ich geschrieben und dem ganzen Irrsinn den wir da alle momentan veranstalten. Dazu ist Ego - das Spiel des Lebens von ihm sehr aufschlussreich. Take control of your content. ^^
Gruß aus Kiel,

Nikki Zeuner said...

Danke, Thees, I will look into Schirrmacher's writings.

Ellen, the "digital self" Thees talks about is the creepy part. We need to learn to disconnect from it or somehow respect and preserve our real self before we lose it.

Self-hosting my blog to get out of the googleverse is something i am starting to consider as well.

Christy Ortiz said...

You know, I only have 18 "friends" and I have to wade through mounds of posts that share recipes or free deals, ask for "lives", or want me to "share" or "like" if I "care". I just want to hear how they are doing - their good days and bad - what their children are up to. Sometimes I see things on facebook that prompt me to call because it has obviously been too long or just lets me know they are ok even if we don't talk. But that is what I want to "share", not a "too funny" video of some dumbhead blowing himself up.
I love your posts, Nikki, it is wonderful that you are sharing your family's adventure with us!