About a month ago I deactivated my Facebook I've had for about two years now. No big deal. But looking back, I've been all the better for it.
When you are in the process of deactivation, Facebook asks you to give a reason for doing so. You have numerous choices such as: "Facebook takes up too much of my time," "I don't feel safe on Facebook," and "I don't find Facebook useful." There's also the option of "other," with a text box for you to provide a short explanation. I calmly typed "I don't want to be controlled," and severed my ties with Facebook for the time being.
I didn't consider my decision an act of rebellion, or turn it into an intellectual abstraction too much. I didn't want to be a social recluse or lose any of my real friends. I admit, Facebook has been useful and fun for me at times. When I went to Europe over the summer with some classmates, we shared pictures and "tagged" each other when arrived home. When a Facebook game called "Farmville" was popular a couple months ago I happily harvested away. When I needed to work on a group project for school, or join some innocuous Facebook group, or chat with a friend, I did that, too. Facebook is fun! If it weren't, no one would have one.
But sometimes things become so fun, that we come to depend on them a little too much. Sometimes even, we find ourselves hooked. And while I didn't consider myself addicted to Facebook, I did find I was being controlled. I was controlled by that urging to be "in the loop." I was controlled by that slight interest in random people's affairspeople I never talk to in person. I was controlled by that one annoying photo or that one annoying conversation thread. The News Feed, or the Live Feed, or whatever it's called, is the worse of all. It's basically a stream of other people's consciousnesses all bombarding you at once. And the "Like Button"what a great idea. Now instead of thinking of the right words, we can grunt our approval of things.
So I deactivated my Facebook. The world goes on. Life goes on. What I don't know, doesn't really exist (...too Kantian?). I've missed maybe one or two important things without a Facebook. But if I've freed myself in even the slightest way, it's been worth it. I don't think Facebook is an cultural blight. Even the Danville Express has a Facebook page. Like I said, it can be fun. When I leave high school, I will probably reactivate it to keep in touch with my fellow classmates. I'm not a rebel.
You may say, "Facebook is sooo distracting...I should be doing my homework instead." And you're probably right. Of course, the prospect of letting go of all my friends and all the news intimidates you out of taking the next logical step. I don't blame you. It's a convincing reality. But at least you considered it.
The Teen Wire provides a perspective on today's youth, in the face of a changing world. Daniel Morizono, a senior at San Ramon Valley High School and news editor of the Wolfprint can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org