Facebook is everywhere. Thanks to smartphones, Facebook is on the train, in shopping malls, in bars and restaurants, in everyday passing conversation, in multiple languages, in class, meetings, seminars, and even present during oral defenses for our MA dissertations. And now, it's on Wall Street.
It seems impossible to have a coffee, a dinner, a drink without someone supplementing the conversation with intermittent Facebook 'checking' or referring to it one way or another. My 'non-smart' phone and I are unable to combat such noise. Quite frankly, I have better things to do with my time then watch someone post a picture of our meal, scroll through their news feed and update their status to announce 'what a great time we're having.' Speak for yourself. The bonus is when I 'get' to view their ex-boyfriend's photos, as if I would find that more interesting than the dinner menu.
Yet I cannot judge too harshly, I was an addict too, an addict of Facebook. I can only be thankful I never purchased a smartphone. If I had, I wouldn't be writing this. I would be sitting in bed, scrolling through my FB news feed.
Just this year, Facebook has become a mover and shaker on Wall Street. As someone not overly thrilled with Wall Street, nor a fan of people making a ton of money for the sake of making a ton of money, I was happy to celebrate their success by vanquishing my allegiance. Call it an early wedding present for Mark -- one less user to worry about.
Though I am aware that Mark has given a chunk of his wealth to charity, Facebook appearing on Wall Street still leaves me with a dissonance.
However, the decision to delete my Facebook account did not originate from my disgust for cooperate greed. Instead, I left the social media because it was consuming my personal life. Nearly four years of pictures, videos, and witty (and not so witty) status updates are now gone (or at least archived in a "deleted content" file server earmarked for the CIA and FBI).
I found it rather symbiotic that my personal reservations were well timed to accompany Facebook's debut on Wall Street.
My only reason for joining Facebook was my international move to Asia. Ironically this move was due to me slowly going bankrupt in Chicago in 2008 -- underpaid, under-insured and slowing being buried in debt. The financial wizardry of Wall Street execs drove me to escape to international lands for a better paying job. For these reasons, it is difficult to find a soft spot for anyone joining the royal court of Goldman Sachs, no matter what their motive.
However, back in 2008, I had no idea I was feeding the same monster I was attempting to escape. Ironically, for much of the last few years, my expat status was the motive behind my Facebook loyalty. I remained a daily user, citing: 'keeping in touch with people back home.
I was a believer. I regularly sipped the Kool-Aid.
However, over the course of the spring I had a trial 'deactivation' of Facebook to focus on my MA dissertation. No longer was I spending precious time over status updates to impress or entice certain 'friends.' No longer was I endlessly searching on other peoples' profiles just to enter into a time-sucking dialog about what they had for dinner or why they supported Republicans.
And, when it came to privacy issues, I couldn't stop thinking about who was out there. I was friends with over 300 people, 200 of these 'friends' were not even people I would consider beyond a close acquaintances. Quite a few of them I didn't even like that much. Most of them barely knew me. Yet these were the people with whom I was 'friends' and shared my thoughts and musings.
What took me most off guard were my 'friends'' reaction to my retreat into non-Facebook land. Many applauded my actions, citing they 'wish they were strong enough to do it' and many others seemed honestly upset about it. All the sudden my retreat began to mirror a type of boundary-creating problem that alcoholics and drug users experience during rehab. Apparently, I am in Facebook rehab.
As Mr. Zuckerberg enjoys his Wall Street campaign and wedding nuptials, I am disappearing into the social media shadows. As an activity, it dangerously toes a line of ridiculous social behavior. Moreover, I'm not sure I want to align myself with a company joining the gang down at Wall Street, especially while many of its users are still struggling to pay their mortgage, taxes and find employment. However, I'm sure Mark has the best intentions, at least I hope so.
Follow April Salchert on Twitter: www.twitter.com/asalchert