Jewish Journal

The Status Update That Pushed Me Over The Edge

by Mihal Levy

May 20, 2010 | 12:00 pm

Facebook and I have had a love/hate relationship.  Recently it has turned into a hate/hate relationship with the addition of many violation of privacy tactics. And although I do know that one can not expect privacy when they put themselves on the Internet, there is still a limit to how much information should be spread around to third parties without my permission.  For this reason alone I have been debating saying goodbye to Facebook, but now the privacy issues have been coupled with a status update that pushed me over the edge.  I have started “packing up.”

Having been on Facebook for a couple of years now makes it difficult to say goodbye.  It has been a bittersweet experience.  Reconnecting with old friends, colleagues and family members has been great, but Facebook has also stifled many friendships as well.  Facebook offers just enough information about what friends are doing to keep each other updated without the need to actually ever meet up in person.  Facebook may be leaving everyone virtually fulfilled, but realistically void of true friendships.

Have we all gotten used to one-sided conversations?  (Hello, is anyone listening?)  Along with one-sided conversations, Facebook has also taught us how to “stay in touch” from a distance, has become a place to air one’s grievances, search for validitation and try to impress others with one’s goings on.  And sometimes it gets a little out of hand.

One of my “friends” posted an interesting status update the other day on her profile (I copied and pasted her update, since nothing is sacred on Facebook; I left the spelling/grammatical errors for authenticity): “Home..its weird going from performing infront of a couple of thousand people and being asked for photo opts to not being anything but a typical girl.”  Really?  Even if she did perform in front of thousands of people (move over Lady Gaga), does she seek validation from her peers or a “Hooray for you?”  I am not sure what exactly was the point of this update, but I still found it a tad bit narcissistic.  Facebook seems to have become a race of who is doing more than the next person.  Funny thing is that my “friends” who are “successful” (and that is subjective) never post anything about their “business” at all.

This, coupled with the fact that Facebook privacy issues have gone too far, linking me to outside sources and using my information; and the fact that we have lost a sense of what it is like to share non-virtual relationships, I am deleting my profile.  I guess I will not be like everyone else.  I will not have hundreds of people to validate me or my sense of self-fulfillment or even be in touch with that person in my sixth grade class, who added me simply because all of our other classmates added me, not because he remembered me.  I may not remember my friends’ birthdays without an electronic notification days before (is that genuine anyway?).  I may not know how much kitchenware my friend sold to get a free hostess gift, what tier my friend is on in her pyramid scheme business, who’s ahead of who in Bejeweled Blitz, or what farm animal someone is missing in Farmville.  But I do know that I can actually ask a friend these things in person over a cup of coffee…and know that I will not be just another “typical girl” on Facebook.

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Mihal Levy used to collect degrees as a hobby.  After receiving her B.S. and M.S. degrees, she worked as a psychotherapist and research scientist before continuing her hobby of...

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