I didn’t set out to do a Facebook experiment, but that’s what happened.
On New Year’s Eve 2012, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I wasn’t doing what I wanted for NYE and I really didn’t want to see what others were doing without me. So I decided to unplug for a bit so as not to compare my life with theirs. But it turns out, I really liked my time away from fb. It was tough at first, but soon I forgot I even had an account and realized I didn’t care what others were posting on there either.
An entire year passed without me being on the site. I would periodically log in thinking I had missed something, but after five minutes I’d realize what a waste it was and deactivate my account again.
What started out as a way of avoiding something, turned in to a far more interesting experiment, however. What I learned was that I had been an initiator of 90% of social interactions with certain friends. I felt it to some degree before, jokingly labeling myself “social director”, but I didn’t have any real evidence of such. But when I left Facebook, my friends left me. Texts lessened, IMs halted, and in-person hangouts stopped all together. Apparently if they didn’t see me post inane details of my life in a public forum, I ceased to exist in their consciousness. In fairness, I found myself not thinking about some of these people, too.
This year off gave me some time to re-evaluate who and what I needed in my life. I was able to branch out, meet new people, and make new friends. I hit some major adult milestones in the last year, but I shared them privately and not in social media. I am sad some of my old circle has not been able to share in my excitement. But that’s part of growing up, isn’t it?
Friends float in and out of your life whether you want them to or not. I mourn some of those lost friendships, but realized some probably needed to go. I’ve been a lot happier this last year than I have been in ages. Coincidence? Probably not.