Deactivated Friendships

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Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a inactive to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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14 Responses

  1. The way things go for me most weeks, I’m barely online over the weekend (which is why I appear to neglect threads to posts that I write on a Friday night). It happens for a few reasons. Often my wife needs the computer on the weekend for work (and I don’t browse a lot from my phone and I don’t want to touch our old computer). Usually, there are chores to do and kids to play with. And, finally, I spend every workday in front of a computer, so it can be nice to get away. I find I don’t miss much being unplugged for 48-60 hours at a time.

    Nonetheless, I still value facebook, but I also try to keep my feed lean and trim. I don’t want to hear from absolutely everyone who has sent me a friend request, and I certainly don’t accept them all.

    I can completely understand why you are deactivating.Report

  2. I like Facebook as a way of maintaining a tenuous connection to a lot of people I hardly know, a reasonably robust connection to a handful of people I know well and love but otherwise would rarely interact with, and as an occasionally challenging memory game as I try to remember who the hell a distressingly large number of my “friends” are.

    If I really tried to keep up with everything the way you describe, I would find it overwhelming. For me, it’s dipping my toe in a stream, not an attempt to swim.Report

  3. Avatar Roger says:

    I think it says something about humanity that people Facebook. Every month or two I log in and my jaw drops at the useless “stuff” people want to share (excluding the cool cat photos of course). I shake my head and promise to never look again. Facebook and the local news are two of the greatest wastes of time ever invented, both tapping in to some innate urge to be caught up on useless “stuff.” My guess is a lot of hunter gatherers got kicked out of the band if not keeping up on gossip.

    Facebook is to human interaction as twinkles are to food.Report

  4. Avatar Damon says:

    All my FB friends are people I went to high school with, several thousand miles away. I used to look at FB a lot and I realized that the only thing put on the site was inane crap I didn’t care about. Really, do I need your Farmville status? Nope. I got into several “discussions” on the site and concluded that no one was interested in a debate, they just wanted to “spread the outrage” over some liberal or conservative issue-it essentially looked to reguritated talking points from each side. Seemed like it was a grand waste of my time….Report

  5. Avatar veronica dire says:

    For me Twitter was a life saver. It was the first place I could really be totally honest about who I was, to be painlessly “out.”

    Which is to say, I’d already been “playing a girl” online for a very long time, but it was on Twitter that I met other trans folks and could open up to them. It was there I met the person who convinced me to seek HRT. (It was Zinnia Jones, btw.)

    I maintain those relationships. Now that I am openly trans and live full time, I have followed many of those same people to Facebook, where I get to watch them mingle with my older friends.

    It’s quite an amazing thing, actually. If I hop on a plane to just about any cool city (where folks speak English), I will already know someone there, someone like me, who knows where to go, what is safe, what I can do. I’m invited into their home. We call each other “love” and “darling.”

    I suppose these social network are not for everyone. To call them a waste of time is obnoxious. Speak for yourself.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      I am too old to have found twitter or Facebook a lifesaver but I definitely found the older internet functions absolutely indispensable when I was an isolated country kid so I can really emphasize with this. People get different levels of utility out of these social networks; for some it’s a few moments of entertainment, for others a personal organizer and for others a lifeline to sanity (and everything in between).Report

  6. Avatar Sky says:

    Clean of FB since November 2012 and loving it. Have never had a closer relationship with my true and proper friends, and I’ve blessedly cut many of my “friends” (read: tenuous acquaintances) out of my life.Report

  7. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    I think that Ricœur is on the money. Jerry Seinfeld made this same point; he said he only had room for three friends.

    Of course one can be friendly with a lot of people, but the actual title of friend should be reserved for someone special.

    This is coming from someone who is in politics, where everyone refers to each other as a “good friend” without blinking an eye.Report

  8. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    I’ve never facebooked. But I’d miss exchanging thoughts here at Ordinary Times, though I’ve only met a fraction of you in person.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    If you’ve always wondered whether your friend is a horrible speller, I’ve found that facebook is a great way to confirm this.

    That said, most of my facebook feed is made up of acquaintances reposting memes.

    I admit to liking the ones about Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about injecting weed.Report

  10. I don’t do Facebook nearly as much as Kyle used to. Still, I find the whole concept discomforting and I’m not sure exactly why or how I feel that way. Several times I’ve thought I’d cancel my membership. But those thoughts have always been shown to be idle exercises because I don’t cancel the membership. I think that is what makes me uncomfortable about it.Report

  11. Avatar Just Me says:

    My Facebook friends list contains two people that I have never met in person. There a old co-workers, old friends from school, old friends from the military and lots of family members. I’ve thought about deactivating it, especially a week ago when I found out my Uncle died via my news feed. I was at work, had the phone on silent, didn’t hear the call come in. Saw there was a voice mail at lunch but first checked my Facebook feed. There it was, it’s not the first time I have found out about a death in the family that way. Sucks. Still that doesn’t outweigh the good I guess. I was able to chat and see pictures from my nephew in Afghanistan. I followed his battalion’s page, who knew they had Facebook pages, back when I was in during the first Gulf War things were way different, no instant communication via Skype and Facebook like now.

    I probably won’t really get rid of Facebook, even though I threaten to. Just too many family members spread through out the globe and it is way easier to have one place to go to for updates, the good and the bad, from family members.

    It used to be you called Mom or Dad to get the updates on the rest of my family, now I check Facebook.Report

  12. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    I have some good stories about reconnecting with old friends via FB. My 8th grade class has a 25 year reunion planned for next spring that never would have happened without FB.

    I will also say that our circle of friends need pruning as we get older. It’s not as though you have to suddenly start ignoring anyone who doesn’t make the cut but it’s important to decide which friendships you want to keep devoting your energy too and which you want to allow to whither and die if necessary.Report

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