Earlier this week I exercised what I call the "nuclear option" on my friends' list on Facebook. I have not completely stopped using Facebook, but as of this date I have one friend on Facebook: my wife Susan.
This is something I have thought about doing for quite some time. I suppose the final decision came as a result of the consideration of trust, friendship, and connection that I had, thought I had, and/or that I never really had.
I wanted to write this blog post sooner, much like a lot of blog posts/writings that never get made. My friend Kevin Brown asked me why I deleted all of my Facebook friends, and he was one of a few that I felt needed further explanation. Of the 211 friends I deleted, six days after he has been the only one to ask why.
While the intent here is certainly not to be dramatic, you must understand that I've been a believer in the potential of Facebook. In my sphere of influence I've come to be known as someone at least knowledgeable and perhaps thoughtful about Facebook and social networking in general. I've done a number of trainings on social networking, and I've recently been asked to organize a panel at a national Sociology conference on teaching and social media. My approach to Facebook has been both a personal and professional approach.
I've just completed covering the chapter in my Introduction to Sociology class on groups and organizations. This is a very important chapter in the field and an area of consideration that I always enjoy teaching about and exchanging with students. In such a short period of time our society has moved from online interaction as being anonymous and almost fantasy like to now a complex interplay of social networks in the physical and online world.
Now I'll cut to the chase. I've tried to be careful with my nurturing of my Facebook experience. It became apparent over time though that far too many of my Facebook friends viewed Facebook more as a tool for entertainment than as a tool for nurturing personal connections. I wanted more from friends than very casual interaction obtained through commenting and liking on status updates. I like to think that most of my life I've sought deeper connections with others. I was hopeful that Facebook could support my personal efforts of connecting more meaningful with others. It just didn't turn out that way.
In the process of deleting my Facebook friends I came to realize there were only about 25 that I had any type of semi regular interaction. I can see in the not too distant future going back to Facebook and narrowing my experience to those that truly want to connect, interact, and nurture one another.
What I have found in this short time since I've pretty much left Facebook is that I'm more at ease, and frankly I find myself being nicer to others. I've come to realize my daily use of Facebook came to be a crutch for my need for social interaction. Now that Facebook is not there, I believe I'm gravitating more to interaction in the physical world. And I like that.
Thoughts? Opinions? Comment below.