Ready to take those empty threats to the next level?
You and me both. Right now, a ton of people I know (plenty of RW staffers among them) are at the digital breaking point. It's why we have ReadWrite Pause. It's why we occasionally totally freak out and take a harsh light to the virtual habits that increasingly dictate the course of day to day life, our moods and even our subjective experience of happiness.
Something's Gotta Give
In a moment of clarity two nights ago, I decided to carve out the biggest timesuck/brainsuck/sanitysuck that I could identify, or the one with the least everyday returns: Facebook. Yesterday afternoon I archived all of my data and I pulled the trigger.
Don't get me wrong, as much as I criticize it (and think doing so is absolutely necessary for an entity with so much power and reach), Facebook is an amazing tool for connecting and reconnecting with friends and acquaintances. Yet it does reel us into compulsive web habits, the likes of which I'm trying to break. Even my friends who never appear to be active on the site admit to spending hours trawling their News Feeds every day in stealth-mode. We creep and like and share and tag and ... I'm just not sure what it all adds up to. It feels like increasingly less than the sum of its parts.
On Facebook Since Day 1
I joined Facebook in the spring of 2004 as user #806,469. I've used it pretty steadily with only occasional lapses since the day I signed up. Then I used it to meet people I didn't know before I moved to New York to go to college. Now I almost exclusively use it to find and discover local events, concerts, cool talks, parties and the like, and to collect the photos I take of my friends.
An Experiment In Subtraction
I disabled my account a) to see how long I can go; and b) how it affects my digital and non-digital life. My friends and community are really active about Facebook Events, so I imagine it'll be a bit more of an analog effort to know what's going on. But if I like the tranquility of a non-Facebook addicted life enough, maybe I'll stick with it awhile. Maybe I'll do the same thing with Twitter, though that one is the real necessity in this whole tech blogging line of work thing. (Or maybe it just feels like one.)
I didn't go nuclear. I just deactivated my account, rather than deleting it. I've been on Facebook for so long I'm going to have to work up to that bit if I go that far. For the record, since I report on Facebook constantly, I have another dummy account that I use to test new features. I won't be using that one to sneak in any News Feed time, though. Stay tuned to see what happens, and if I'll spend my entire weekend inside as a social pariah with a Netflix account.