I’ve made the decision before, more than once. The decision to abandon Facebook, that is. I suppose the most significant aspect of deciding to leave Facebook is facing the reality that my social life is almost entirely electronic. And by leaving Facebook, I put many of my electronic friends in the position of deciding either to visit my blog to stay in touch with me or to simply do without interacting with me.
Of course, my most immediate concern is that everyone, or at least most, will opt for the latter. That decision would be understandable, of course, especially in light of the fact that my blog tends to be more intense than my Facebook posts. And intensity is something many of them, us, are trying to avoid when we can. The structure of Facebook social relationships is intentionally casual, too, so relationships we develop on Facebook are not only less intense than “real” relationships, they tend to be more fleeting, more ephemeral, less “real.”
And that, then, forces me to acknowledge that electronic friendships are as lasting, as solid and substantial as the electric current powering my computer. How many online friends do we really have? Are they all, or most of them, online acquaintances, rather than friends? Probably. And that’s what’s lost with abandoning Facebook. The decision, then, boils down to how much value I place on casual, shallow, acquaintance relationships. Or, how important it is to have a small number of casual relationships versus a tiny number of more substantive relationships.
These are questions teens must ask themselves. Not 60 year-old men. But here I am, behaving like a teen again! I’ll mull this over. But not for long. One of my recent Faceb00k-linked psychological profiles (which are no doubt highly reliable….hmph) suggests I like to get decisions out of the way quickly. And I will.