I get nostalgic when I watch “The Social Network”. I remember visiting my cousin in Connecticut in 2004, my first trip to see him after we’d both gone off to college. Me, to a small-but-charming school in Florida, him, to Tufts.
“Oh, your school doesn’t have Facebook yet? All the schools in Boston do.”
I was so jealous. I’d heard of the mythology of this so-called “TheFacebook.com”, and wanted it. Bad. It was like Friendster and MySpace, but so much cooler thanks to an intangible “It” factor. I remember emailing TheFacebook.com from my cousin’s couch, requesting that my little school be included. A few weeks later, it was. I signed up immediately. That was ten years ago, and I can’t believe how that website has burrowed into the fabric of our culture.
I deactivated my profile about two weeks ago. It’s the third time I’ve done it. Each time, it’s been because of a break-up, but this time it’s more than that.
Remember when Facebook was easy? When there weren’t so many things to like, or ads to ignore, or algorithms deciding what things you want to see. Privacy settings weren’t complicated. People on the site weren’t as lame, clogging up your feed with “news” stories. It was visually appealing. It was connecting.
I’m also failing to mention that relationships have gotten more complicated since I was 19. I had nearly 1,000 “friends” on Facebook at one point…some of them former clients, some conservative family members, some acquaintances that I didn’t want to know my business, and (believe it or not) some criminals that I don’t want my name associated with.
I started to find myself more worried about my interactions with the site then I was enjoying it. It’s not college anymore, in which you meet a person in a class, add them as a friend, and then get to know them. I started to question how to “connect” with people on social media. Do I “Friend” them first? Is that weird now? Would that be how I got their Instagram? Do they cross-post? What if I just want to send them a text? What is, as Girls called it, the totem of chat?
Hannah: Maybe I should call him. I mean, didn’t you say that texting’s like, the lowest form of communication on the pillar of chat?
Marnie: The Totem of Chat. And no, the lowest would be Facebook, followed by Gchat, then texting, then email, then phone. Face to face is, of course, ideal, but it’s not of this time.
I couldn’t take it anymore. I hate not being able to keep up with some people that were important to me and who are Facebook-exclusive, but I look at it this way: A) I’m good at cyberstalking when the going gets tough, and B) I didn’t have to fight anyone for meredithbracesloss.com. I am literally the only Meredith Brace Sloss in the world. If people want to find me, I’m not hard to pin down. (That’s what she said.)
I’m reevaluating how I present myself on the vehicles of social media that I do prefer: this, Twitter, and Instagram. I keep in mind my job. I’m aware of the persona I want to present, but am also mindful of being real.
So, to those of you who are still following me? Thanks. I’m on a weird journey and I like sharing it. To those of you who aren’t?