I made a decision last weekend to take a complete break from Facebook for maybe a week or so. It wasn’t necessarily taking up too much time (I have had more addictive phases with it which I managed to curtail some time ago). It was more taking up too much of my consciousness. The compulsive need to find out what everybody is up to and always feeling compelled to read every single status update. So I decided to delete the app from my phone, remove my bookmarks and resolved to keep off the site for at least a week.
After just 3 days, two things happened which took me by surprise and they were pleasant surprises too. I noticed after a couple of days, I felt calmer. I did not have the constant “chatter” buzzing round my head which comes from following the streams of consciousness of a myriad of different people. This I like.
Also, another thing that happened, which sounds like a small thing but really made me think was when a friend of mine told me a bit of news the other night, which had I spent time visiting Facebook, I would have known. The news itself was something and nothing involving mutual friends and to do with our local music scene, probably quite mundane in the grand scheme of things but certainly something I would ordinarily have kept abreast of. I was taken aback by the sensation of somebody telling me something that I was interested in that I didn’t know and it felt really good. I felt as though my interaction with that person was more rewarding because of it.
Now, I have still been social networking just in other areas. I have been using Twitter more this week. I feel as though Twitter is philosophically quite different from Facebook. Perhaps it is just the way I use it. I do not know a lot of my followers or followed in real life (although there are a fair few). The messages are shorter and much more concise and usually contain links to interesting or funny bits of information. Because there is a clear distinction between follower and following, rather than a mutual “friend” connection, it feels more impersonal somehow and I feel as though I am much less beholden to people. It is much easier to put Twitter back down again after picking it up.
Also, this is my third blog this week. I am still not sure whether anyone reads this thing but I enjoy doing it so I guess that’s what matters.
Anyway, I have decided that after this week I am going to continue to use Facebook but in a very minimal way. I toyed with the idea of deleting completely but the fact remains that it is a very useful tool to let people know about things which are going on and considering I play and occasionally organise gigs which I would like to advertise to people, it would be foolhardy to not use it as a promotional tool.
With all this in mind then, I would like to request then that people do not use the Facebook messaging app as a primary method of communication with me. A lot of my friends and family have my email address or mobile number to text, both of which I check all of the time and if you don’t, then you can use this contact form which will go straight to my email inbox. You may have noticed that I have disabled comments on my Facebook wall. This is not me being anti-social or anal, it just means less notifications to wade through. I will still be checking the site periodically but not nearly as much as I was.
As an aside, I have also decided to close my MySpace account. It serves no purpose as I never use it and it merely exists as another place to stream my Twitter feed and since not many people seem to use it anymore, it’s just taking up space and processing power on some server somewhere.
As for Google+, well that remains to be seen. I have been having a quick look every couple of days or so. It’s a bit soon to judge as it is all very new. Certainly the early adopters who are in my circles are all interesting people and there’s a nice amount for it to be manageable.
In any case, in a few weeks I won’t have as much time to keep up with these sites as I crack on with my OU work.