One of those big social networking sites, Facebook, has attracted over 58 million members. Commentator Melody Kramer is no longer one of them.
Melody: I deleted all 1,281 of my co-workers, second-grade classmates and people who I don’t know at all. I shut down my account, completely. I’m 23, and I’ve been on Facebook since March of 2004, which makes me one of the website’s earliest users.
At first, I used it obsessively. If I had a free moment, I’d logged on to see whether my friends had updated their profiles. I’d sit alone scrolling through these updates and then run into someone at a coffee shop and have nothing to say because I already knew everything about them, and they knew everything about me.
In November, I went to my five-year high school reunion and was not pleasantly surprised. Lauren became a model, Josh went to law school, Dina was a teacher. I hadn’t talk to any of them since graduation, but I knew exactly what they were doing, both now and last week. But lately, I’m overwhelmed. Facebook opened up to everyone, not just college students, and my co-workers started to join, which meant they now knew what I was doing when I wasn’t at work.
And as a rule: You can NOT friend your co-workers because then they’ll ask you the next day: But I thought we were friends. And you are friends but not the kind of friends who tell each other what they do outside of work. So now the people you work with can see what you did last night, and you’re constantly worrying what people might say about what you did last night instead of actually doing anything tonight.
So I quit. I became a 23-year-old 1)Luddite. I’ve returned to how the world worked when I was 20, before I knew when my friends and co-workers were counting down the seconds to vacation or 2)wistful or entering a complicated relationship. I’m hoping life will be a lot simpler now. People will be more mysterious now that I actually have to talk to them to find out their favorite books or hobbies or 3)neurosis. I don’t know when my college roommate goes to the supermarket, and I think I’m a better person for not knowing. In fact, you could say getting off a social network was the best thing I’ve done this week.