My husband deleted, or should I say deactivated, his facebook account today. I noticed his absence this morning when I looked at where it said “married to.” His picture was gone, along with his name. Now it just says I’m married. To whom? Only I know for sure, but I assure you that we are still very much married.
Erik and I have both had a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I got sucked in my first semester of grad school in 2008. It seemed like all the cool kids were doing it and I didn’t want to feel left out like a teetotaler at a keg party. And to take this keg party metaphor one step further, I got drunk on Facebook after my first sip of foam. I wanted to be friends with anyone that would claim me, even people I didn’t particularly like that much. In real life, I’m a little more discretionary with my friendship, but on the world wild web, I was a slut.
In 2009, Erik joined the party while I was away at school. He missed me. And if you thought I was a slut, you should have seen Erik after his first few sips of inst-a-matic friend connection. He accumulated over 600 friends in a matter of months. It didn’t matter that maybe their only connection was sitting in the same class in 1985—they were friends—a motley mix of the past, the present, people he worked with, people he didn’t know and about 200 people he “met” playing Viking Clan.
But then one day, I scrolled through my husband’s list of new found friends and discovered a few of his ex-girlfriends in the mix. Yes, I'll admit, I've searched for a few old flames, but I did not find discovering these ladies on my husband's friend page particularly fun. Because of my imaginative (okay, some might say neurotic or maybe paranoid) nature, it made me question the reality of facebook, of friendship, of life. I know, heavy. Right?
So, I started culling the masses. I cut. I cut some more. But then I was told that as a writer I had to have lots of friends. You know, friends to sell that book to when and if it ever came out. Well, guess what? Facebook is the biggest distraction from writing that book that I have ever encountered. I can’t seem to pull myself away from the party. I want to see the pictures and the status updates and the witty quotes and the Farmville acquisitions. Okay, I lied about that last one. I could care less about Farmville.
To be honest, Facebook allows me too much information about the people I know, even about the people I don’t know. I know their religious beliefs. I know which political candidates they like or don’t like. I know which TV shows they watch, what movie they just saw, if they have a migraine, if their child is potty trained, if their dog is depressed, if they are in love or merely in a state of complication.
What I don’t know is if I can function without it. Erik is the test case and if he can boldly go forth without friends liking his every move, I may decide to join that party.