Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: Rachel Krantz
I've broken up with Facebook officially only once. But we've definitely had a love-hate relationship from the beginning--at first I refused to join up, then I surrendered, only to become one of those people who laid it (mostly) all out there.
In my inexperienced Facebook days, my profile picture was of me and my then boyfriend. Imagine 6 months later, when after a hard break up, I realized we had to break up all over again on Facebook. When I deleted our relationship status, the literal icon of my heart broken showed up on my news feed. Immediately I was bombarded with messages from concerned friends demanding to know what had happened. Then there was the prospect of un-tagging all the photos of the happy couple. Instead of dealing with it, I deleted my account.
There I was, breaking up with not one, but two obsessions, and stuck without access to a phone during my month long homestay in Costa Rica. The lack of communication was too much to take, and 2 weeks later, I logged back on.
Unlike my relationship with the ex, nothing had changed between me and Facebook. He welcomed me back with open arms. I found nothing had changed between us-- he'd saved all our pictures, remembered all my friends' names and even what kind of music I like. To top it off, he even greeted me with a couple questions, asking why I had quit, and if there was anything he could do to make sure I didn't feel the need to leave again. And that's how Facebook got me back.
But according to a recent NY Times article, based (like this post) entirely on anecdotal evidence, some disgruntled members are leaving the site for good.
The exodus is not evident from the site's overall numbers. According to comScore, Facebook attracted 87.7 million unique visitors in the United States in July. But while people are still joining Facebook and compulsively visiting the site, a small but noticeable group are fleeing -- some of them ostentatiously.
One ex-Facebook user the NY Times interviewed Leif Harmsen, a one-time user who now crusades against the site. Here's how he puts it:
"The more dependent we allow ourselves to become to something like Facebook -- and Facebook does everything in its power to make you more dependent -- the more Facebook can and does abuse us," Harmsen explained by indignant e-mail. "It is not 'your' Facebook profile. It is Facebook's profile about you."
Harmsen's words don't sound entirely unlike what I wrote earlier this summer about my own Tech Depression. And while I'm still looking forward to not having a cell phone or much access to internet when I return to Cuba next month, you won't see me deleting my Facebook anytime soon.
Call it an unhealthy relationship, an addiction, or an easy way to keep in touch and share my writing and photos. All would probably be true. Hey we have our issues, but at least Facebook and I are trying to make it work.
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