Comment of the Day: The Obligation to Facebook

Today we talked about internet oversharing. It is annoying! And yet it is everywhere these days. This sparked a conversation about everything from blogs to Facebook (that whole wide gap!). Can't we just scrap it all? Apparently not, says a commenter.

From kthndl:

This is only tangentially related, but I'm curious as to whether anyone else has encountered the same bizarre phenomenon I did or if I just happen to know a bunch of people wildly lacking in boundaries and a basic grasp of reality. I disabled my Facebook account one day. No fanfare, no drama; I just clicked through and disabled it because it was sucking up too much of my time, I was uncomfortable with the way a lot of people were behaving there, and it was creating friction in my daily life.

This decision, one I consider personal and something I am under no obligation to explain or justify to anyone, pissed a lot of people off. A lot. Like, I lost real-life friendships over my "selfishness" and "inconsideration" in opting out of sharing every aspect of my life with them in real-time. It's been several months, and I've felt no real desire to get sucked back into the shitstorm that my FB newsfeed tended to be and I *really* have no interest in participating in it myself, but I'm still at a loss as to how to react to the realization that some people have honestly grown to believe that if I do not make myself available to them 24/7 and share every thought I have and decision I make with them (they were also angry—??—that I changed jobs without, I guess, getting their permission first? I don't know) I am a terrible person and an unfit friend.

Then again, I've also always been the person to argue that my possession of a cell phone in no way obligates me to make myself immediately available at other people's convenience, which also pisses people off, so maybe I'm just a misanthrope. But I sincerely miss being allowed to create my own schedule and manage my own life without being thought of as a jerk for doing so. I also find I miss the pursuit and maintenance of strong friendships—lazy Sunday afternoon phone calls, coffee dates, and one-on-one face-time instead of virtual sharing with a crowd. Social networking seems, to my mind, to engender a lot of false intimacy, but people also seem to be too busy to make time to grow real intimacy. I don't know. The whole thing makes me a little sad, and nostalgic for the time when we knew fewer people, but worked at really knowing them better.

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