Shannon Lowry Managing Editor
I am thinking of doing the unthinkable. I am thinking of deactivating my Facebook account and living a Facebook-free life.
I know, that sounds like the nuclear option — a scorched-earth concept unlike any other in the age of social media. One might as well sell all of one’s belongings, don sackcloth and live in the wilderness (or perhaps just the Chickasaw National Recreation Area). Life without Facebook? How could one even imagine such a thing?
I said I’m thinking about it. I haven’t actually done it yet. But I am giving serious consideration to going back to a life that doesn’t involve checking for status updates every 10 seconds from people I hardly know.
I’m only just now really getting into Facebook. For years, even though I had an account, it was completely irrelevant to the way I lived. I rarely updated my status (mostly because I couldn’t think of anything to say) and ended up getting into so many petty arguments with people in other countries that I finally just bailed out of it.
Then I started taking it more seriously, and now I would say that I have a serious problem. I’m on Facebook probably once every five minutes — and I’m not even doing anything, just checking. It’s ridiculous, especially when I consider that most of the people I’ve friended on Facebook — not all, but most — have absolutely nothing interesting or worthwhile to say.
I am 43 years old. If I were interested in cute baby pictures, I would probably be posting baby pictures of my own. Since that isn’t the case, I really don’t care about seeing pictures of so-and-so’s grandbaby who lives in Japan. Same goes for pictures of hunting trophies. And I could not care less about memes.
What are memes? Well, memes, broadly defined, constitute roughly 75 percent of everything you see on Facebook. It’s usually a picture containing a smart-alecky slogan like, “Dads Against Dating Daughters — Shoot First and ...” something, something, something. Not interested. Don’t care.
The latest Facebook fad seems to be something called bit strips, which turns scenes from your life into cartoon panels, complete with captions. Give me a break. Adults are doing this? Please.
All of this is to say that, increasingly, I find very little actual reason to be on Facebook, save for one or two meaningful interactions with people whose comments I actually respect. The biggest reason I’m sticking with Facebook (for now) is that I can still maintain reasonable contact with my daughter (although texting is still the easiest way of getting hold of her).
That brings up another point. Kids seem to be abandoning Facebook in droves. Six years ago, my daughter (now 21) was all about Facebook, but today, she hardly ever posts anything. I think the reason teenagers and young adults are bailing on the service is that moms and dads, aunts, uncles and grandparents are Facebook users, too. It just isn’t cool anymore. It’s the place for baby pictures and deer kills and political “humor.” Nothing drives away teens faster than jokes about the government shutdown.
What’ll I do instead of Facebook? Quite possibly, I will start my own blog. I would like to get a little more creative on the Internet, but Facebook isn’t the place for creativity. It is the documentary of our lives. The problem is that it isn’t a very good documentary.