It’s always interesting to me to talk to people who’ve either never been on Facebook or who have taken their page down after being on for a while. My friend Micah, who I saw several times this weekend, recently took her page down in an effort to simplify her life. That wasn’t too terribly surprising to me since I’ve always known her to be a free spirit. In the not too distant past she’s lived in a hammock in Key West while teaching people how to deep sea dive, and currently she teaches kids science while managing the floor experience at a local museum. She can also make a killer key lime pie from scratch. I love this girl, and if I were a dude I’m pretty sure I’d marry her. 🙂 Anyway, back to the point, she told me that she had gotten to the point where she felt like she was online all the time… just staring at a computer screen. She didn’t like the power it had over her life. Which is a really great point, as social media can really take over your actual social world. This is a bold statement that I’ve made before, but I feel inclined to say it again. Some of the most active people online are also some the worst at being social face to face. The irony of going to Tweet-ups and social media conferences is that everyone is still on their damn phones… not actually talking to each other. I think the real risk of social media is developing a second personality of sorts, one of which can borderline on fantasy.
It does sound really peaceful to not check Facebook multiple times a day, to truly exist in your own world and have that extra time freed up. My only problem with that is my love for people. Sharing and communication are important to me, and that’s all social media is when it comes down to it. If I were offline 24/7, I would probably feel a little left out and behind the times. It feeds my soul to watch other people’s lives unfold through status updates and photos. It makes me feel connected.
With all of that being said though, I think Micah’s choice makes me ask myself some real questions. Is my life outside of social media defined enough? Do I rely too much on Facebook to pass the time when I am alone? What am I doing to grow my real personal life away from the computer? There is something to be said for being able to exist and be happy without an electronic device nearby.