Today, if someone would sell to me a shirt saying “I Survived Two Weeks Without Facebook”, I would most likely buy it. It’s been exactly two weeks since I deactivated my account indefinitely. Somehow, now I have mixed reaction regarding this matter.
I’ve created my Facebook account December 1 of 2008. When I joined it, I know barely anyone using it. Friendster is already losing greatly its popularity at that time. People grew tired of its rather simple interface as well as irritated for lack of innovation and the non-action to the famous Friendster virus spreading rapidly from one account to another. A lot of my friends’ account was phished. My account was almost phished as well but it’s a good thing that I changed my password right away.
Personally, I did not like Friendster much because of two reasons. First, when it allowed users to modify the look of their accounts, some went overboard. They placed a lot of flashing gifs, some ugly marquees, some music which some accounts have two or more mp3 or midi files played at the same time and practically, some accounts would take forever to load and nothing matched at all. Modesty aside, I always bring first place when I was high school on interschool web design contests and I truly value aesthetics on webpage design. Frankly speaking, the Friendster pages that some of my friends made almost made me vomit as I was so dizzy looking at their personal pages.
Secondly, I think Friendster made the worst move ever when they created a feature wherein one could view people who viewed his or her account. A lot of people were flabbergasted after discovering this “development” in Friendster. What makes Friendster really popular, though some people would not admit it, was not primarily to interact with friends but to stalk people especially their crushes and enemies. Nasty, huh? But that is definitely true. Some were disappointed because their acts of stalking may finally be realized by their subjects. Friendster tried modifying this by allowing users to check people who viewed them only if they consent that their visits would be viewed by other users who also have this setting but it was too late. Friendster was steadily losing popularity. From a very active networking site, it slowly evolved to a cold graveyard.
Some people moved to Multiply. I also had my Multiply account with some of my college and high school friends. I created my Multiply account maybe back on 2006. We, particularly my college block mates and I, all love pictures hence we kept on uploading pictures in Multiply nonstop and commenting happily with each other’s albums. We also blogged there and shared rants and reviews on anything and everything under the sun. But then again, the fault of Multiply is similar with the second problem with Friendster that I had mentioned above. Yes, it also informs you about people who viewed your page—but with complete accuracy. You would know who viewed you per page and when exactly were you viewed by that person. On the view of Multiply team, it assured its users that their site is family and child-friendly hence, even though there were clamors to stealth their views for a certain price, Multiply refused to do so. Sadly, because of this and lack of any addicting interactive features like games which the fast emerging Facebook had, Multiply quickly faded away. I open my Multiply account sometimes because it contains the soul of my cherished college life but unluckily, the only accounts that gives some updates are those which asked me to be their business contacts. I wonder if these accounts still earns money. I barely know anyone who revive their Multiply account.
I was still regularly checking my Friendster and Multiply accounts when I created my Facebook account. Being a geeky and homey person I am who have very little social life, my social networking accounts are very dear to me. If my memory serves me right, I created my Facebook account because I was taking a break in writing my thesis. I was bored to death that’s why I check my Yahoo account and decided to heed with the request of some people who sent me Facebook invites. I was impressed with how clean the interface of Facebook was and how simple yet powerful it seems. You could easily view on the then single wall who updated their accounts and who interacted with whom. Your actions are not viewed by other users and vice versa. This equals to a lot of wasting your time stalking persons you like to as much as you like as long as that person is your friend. Also, Facebook introduced a lot of interactive games. I admit that I was a slave of my pet in Pet Society and my restaurant in Café World among others. I love the feeling of having one of the highest scores among my friends and mind you, I never cheated in all my game scores. Definitely, I’m sure you were also amazed when you found out that you could actually chat with an on-line friend in Facebook and everything that you posted and commented on notified to you.
After several months, it made more improvements and interactions—more games, more pictures for the albums (originally, an album could contain up to sixty pictures), more like pages, more applications and more groups. Not to mention the fact that Facebook gave a new meaning to the work ‘like’ and ‘wall’. Then, just a few days ago they even introduced a Skype-like feature. In short everything and anything was already compressed into a neat little package on Facebook. What else isn’t integrated in Facebook? But now the million-peso question remains: Why did I leave Facebook indefinitely?
Three words: I got suffocated.
I was practically the slave of that site especially when I still very active in Café World. I would wake up wee hours in the morning to check if my recipes were ready to serve. I cannot afford having them spoiled. I’m always unease if I’m not on-line within two hours. I’m always thinking if someone messaged me or if someone commented or at least liked my latest status message or created album. I wasted countless hours just flipping between my wall and my main page. I checked on a lot of people and pages repeatedly. I basically know whether Friend X has a new job or about to give birth out of the wedlock or now on another country continuing his or her studies or had gone to Boracay for the nth time. Facebook is an addiction that I cannot stop no matter how much I tried, similarly like a smoker can’t stop puffing his cigarette or how a drunkard wouldn’t get enough of beer. We all know that it’s already bad for us but we also do not care about the limits just as long as we continue enjoying what we were doing. As a consequence, I lost a lot of time devoted to my study to the use of Facebook. It also made me kind of sad after signing off especially if I see a lot of my friends having the time of their lives. While I see my life unchanged for the next three years, I see them buying the latest gadgets, wearing the prettiest clothes, going on to serious relationships (some of my high school classmates already got married), partying like there is no tomorrow, travelling to all my dream places and supporting their parents. But me, I am nothing now, just a mere speck of dust unnoticed in the universe. It kind of hurt me because I can’t help but be jealous at times. Eventually, I got tired with all this monotonous doing of mine in Facebook. Facebook also did not do anything interesting anymore and I just got well, bored.
Another thing was there are a lot of people reporting a lot of things to my parents about me on Facebook. Yes, I did spend a lot of time using but I’m perpetually on-line because of my iPod. Though some of my times were eaten up by Facebook, it doesn’t mean that I do not study at all like what some exaggerated persons are talking about me. It also makes me wonder how some people are doing it—on-line in Facebook the whole day with a family at hand and mountain of jobs to be finished yet they still have a lot of time to squeeze themselves in other persons’ lives. Facebook made me too connected with a lot of unnecessary people that’s why it drowned me with the sea of quandary. And now it’s time to leave everything behind beneath the sea and breathe fresh air on the shore.
Well, it’s not just me. A few months ago, an article came out saying that there had been a rapid decline on Facebook users especially in the Western world. The reason: Saturation. Is this the start of the decline of Facebook?
I still crave the use of Facebook every day but in my mind, I was of thanking God on every successful day that I survived without Facebook. Baby steps would come a long way like now I’ve reached my two weeks without it whilst before I declared to my best friend, Clare, that I would never lived 48 hours without Facebook. I also reached all my target readings. At the moment, I barely had any backlog readings from all my subjects in law school. It was also nice living offline, too. I’m still active in Twitter however due to the loss of my Facebook account, the number of my tweets declined noticeably, too.
I may be back to Facebook one day. Perhaps, because of my curiosity to a certain friend or maybe because I missed a lot of good people there. Or probably shut it down forever and create an account with the new hot buzz, Google+. I can never tell by now. But in the mean time, I love my peace without it and at the moment I intend to keep it that way.