Hello Facebook friends,
Tonight, I made a trip to the local Ralph’s grocery store in San Marcos to do some grocery shopping. While waiting for my cheese at the deli counter, I was debating whether or not to go on a hike tomorrow morning with a meetup.com group. To aid in my decision making process, I pulled out my handy iPhone and checked the “meetup.com” app to find out when and where we were to meet for the early morning hike.
Just as I finished looking up and obtaining the information to make my decision to attend the hike, the nice kid at the deli counter gave me a sample of the 3 pepper colby cheese (it is delicious). As I savored the cheese sample, I began to think about some of the relationships I am beginning to form in this hiking group. Some of these people I now see 2-3 times a week. I am enjoying this very much and settling in to my new home quite nicely.
While waiting for the rest of my deli meat and cheese order, I was speaking with someone about the awesomeness of the Boar’s Head “Jerk Turkey.” As he received his order and left the deli counter, I walked to the garbage can to throw away the plastic sheet that the cheese sample was served on. While walking back to the counter to wait for the final half pound of my sweet slice ham, I took one last look at the meetup.com app.
This prompted me to think, “Yes, I will get up early and join the big group for a nice early morning hike – and I think I even have a clif bar in my larger camelbak bag.” Score! As these thoughts are going through my mind after looking at the meetup.com app – I switched over to the facebook app out of sheer habit. It was at this point that I had a revelation and experienced an epiphany of sorts.
Facebook is everywhere. Constantly, we feel the need to “check in” or find out what’s happening with everyone else and/or keep everyone posted as to what’s happening with ourselves. While I understand and appreciate facebook as an avenue for communication, I am also realizing that increased involvement with Facebook has the potential to take away from the quality of involvement in other aspects of life.
For example, after Friday nights’ hike at Guajome County Park (http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/parks/Camping/guajo_map.html), we continued the tradition of visiting one of the many local North County brew pubs. Last night, we attended Prohibition Brewing Company in Vista. Upon arriving and sitting down with the crew, I immediately dis-engaged from conversation for a moment to “check in” on facebook.
For reasons including but certainly not limited to this, I have been debating whether or not I should “quit” facebook for quite some time. Tonight…it is that time. I began writing this letter as I took a break from the process of exporting email addresses / contact information and researching how to archive my facebook data. It is more challenging than I thought. However, regardless of the progress I make in the next 24 hours, I will be permanently deleting my facebook account.
The majority of my 366 facebook friends I haven’t spoken with or seen in years. Those of you who I do correspond with on a regular basis have my current contact information. For those of you that don’t -please utilize the email address at “firstname.lastname@example.org” if you would like to get in contact with me. Moving forward I will be spending previous facebook time simply living life and attempting to maintain a blog that I started last year. If you’d like to follow that, shoot me an email.
The past year has been filled with remarkable transitions in my own life, including the lives of my family and friends…especially in 2012! These transitions are causing me to spend additional time reflecting on life. I am realizing many things. One thing that I am realizing is that my time is valuable. For example, lets do some quick math:
On the conservative side, I am spending 30-60 minutes a day, 6-7 days a week on facebook…probably more if I consider the quick iPhone check-ins and time on weekends. I occasionally commented on status updates in an attempt to provoke thought and discussion about various things, but quite frankly, most of my Facebook time was spent surfing photos and updates about relatively unimportant nonsense. For me, facebook was becoming akin to the television…a tool used to disengage from reality. As a result, I have severely restricted my television intake over the past few years and I believe it it time to do the same with Facebook.
So to do this right, let’s break this down.
- ~45 min/day x ~6 days a week = 270 minutes (or 4.5 hours).
- Over the course of a year, this equates out to 234 hours.234 hours / 24 hours = 9.75 days
Based on the quick math, it is safe to say that I had been spending approximately 10 days a year on facebook. To further break this down, let’s look at this a little further:
- There are 365 days a year, 24 hours in a day, or 8760 hours in a year.
- Of those 8760 hours, I would estimate I spend 30% of that time sleeping (On an average day, I sleep about 7 hours a night.
This equates to ~29% of my time alive sleeping. This leaves me with about 71% of my time awake and being productive. For the sake of conversation lets round this to 30% sleeping and 70% awake. This means that throughout the course of a year, I am awake approximately 6132 hours.
Previous calculations estimate 234 hours a year spent on facebook. These estimates mean that I am spending approximately 3.8% of my waking time engaged on activity on Facebook. We can argue the numbers and the math behind my logic until the cows come home…but the way I see it, I am spending 3-4% of my waking time engaged in an activity on facebook.
The transitions of 2012 that I spoke about earlier have made me realize that my time is valuable to me. The more I thought about what I was getting out of Facebook, and what I was giving back on Facebook, I realized it was like a one-sided conversation. I was passively bobbing along in the tide of updates and news feeds, “connecting” with others and spending time keeping up with people I would never call on the phone or invite over for dinner throughout the course of my normal day-to-day activities.
I want more than status updates. Facebook no longer enriches my life in the way that it used to. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy seeing photos of updates of your life and events, but I enjoy a conversation or a postcard more. Phone calls singing happy birthday to someone seem more important than a silly three or four-word wall posts congratulating someone on turning a year-older. Honestly, if people on facebook are not significant enough in my life for a birthday phone call, an occasional visit or even a personal email, why do I want to stay on top of where they are vacationing and that they got a new widget?
Quite frankly, I don’t mind giving up the “social network” of the 366 Facebook friends and myriad “liked” organizations. As previously mentioned, the majority of these connections I don’t associate with regularly. I’d be surprised if I even had the correct phone number of many of these people and institutions.
The 45 minutes a day 0r 4-5 hours a week I previously spent on Facebook will now be used more efficiently and effectively. With that time, I can do many things…including but not limited to maintaining a blog with my “updates” and building and developing real relationships with real people in real life. I am realizing that I need deeper connections with friends and family. So far, I have not been able to satisfy this need on a wall post and I suspect that I never will.
I could be wrong…often times I am. Perhaps I may change my mind and realize that I want to “re-connect” – I wouldn’t be surprised. If that’s the case than I will likely re-create a facebook page and join that matrix once again. But for now, tomorrow is the last day I will be engaged in the Facebook social network. Stay tuned and drop me a line every once in a while if you’re interested to see how this experiment is treating me…chances are, I’d love to discuss this with you.
Be well, everyone!