No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go
Yesterday I deleted my MySpace and Twitter accounts, and I disabled my Facebook account. With both MySpace and Twitter, I would check them, and they were linked to this blog, but I really just didn’t use them. I signed up for them as part of the great digital buy-in. The only problem was, once again, the great digital buy-in became it’s own job.
On MySpace, you’re supposed to trick out your page layout to “customize” who you are. You add people, music, pictures, etc. to show everyone the true you. That takes some time to do. You have to want to constantly be updating your web presence. The other problem was due to my public persona. As a teacher, even I’m aware of being careful with what I post. Most of the time, I’m good about it. Other times I throw caution to the wind. However, with multiple portals comes multiple personalities or the job of managing one web presence. It’s too much, and it certainly isn’t the “true” you.
The idea, of course, behind social networking is to be social. Yet, I found that I was feeling increasingly isolated with Facebook. I wasn’t feeling like I was being embraced by a community of like-minded people. We weren’t using technology to enhance relationships that we had. We were/are using technology to manage our “brand”. We sell the us we want others to believe we are. Or the us we can actually manage to be under public scrutiny. It’s also strangely voyeuristic as we all have become Mrs. Kravitz (and not in some sexy Lenny way). We’re “watching” our neighbors; we’re not interacting.
Because of the very public nature of Facebook, as well as the fact that “friend” is a relatively loose term thrown about by anyone wanting to have 100 friends plus (I do apologize to those I hurt while trolling for numbers), what was written as a “status update” becomes very guarded. I actually, through social networking, became less myself and more like a shadow of who I am. My “brand” had to be clean, sanitized, lest I offend (and I did) a student, a student’s parent, relatives, an employer, or a friend. In order to keep ANY relationship (family, work, casual, church, etc.) or a job, you can’t (well, you can but you shouldn’t) just air your dirty laundry. Therefore, I wasn’t really honest with my feelings or my status. How is it even possible?
Of course there are very real and useful reasons to be on social networking sites (picture sharing). In small amounts, social networking sites are a useful way to check in on people. Yet, I’m finding that these small doses of information shouldn’t replace actual, real-time interactions. I will, most likely, reactivate my Facebook account (especially since it’s very hard to get rid of things that become habits). However, when I do, I’m going to clean-out my list of “friends” and winnow it down to a reasonable amount and scope.