It’s complicated: My relationship with Facebook

I deleted my Facebook account about a year ago. The novelty of connecting with people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years had worn off. Posting status updates or pictures felt fickle, and I wanted to spend more time doing things like reading books or exercising.

Before I clicked on the “Are you sure you want to do this?” button for the fifth time, I asked a friend of my late father whether he thought my dad would have liked Facebook. “Absolutely not,” he said. “You’re father was a face-to-face kind of guy. He didn’t even like talking on the phone.”

I felt good about my decision but received a lot of flak from friends. I think some of them took it as a personal insult. “How could you do this, especially now that you live in China?” was a question I heard a lot.

I told them that I thought Facebook was creating a narcissistic society, where adults competed for attention like children. The Onion once called Facebook a high school yearbook that keeps updating after you graduate. I thought a more appropriate comparison was People magazine, which publishes pictures of celebrities attending exclusive parties, holding hands with a new significant other and pushing a newborn in a stroller – the same kinds of pictures that people often post on Facebook. Continue reading