21st Century Clutter

I think I’m going to leave Facebook.

I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, and though I’ve gone slowly to avoid rash action, I continue to feel compelled to shut down my account. It’s just in the way these days. I don’t interact with my closest friends on Facebook. I barely remember some of the people in my friends list. Sure, it’s the most efficient way to reach family and friends with news or event invitations. But how often do I need to issue blanket announcements? Isn’t it just as easy to send a blast email in those rare instances?

I still use Twitter. And Pinterest. And LinkedIn. And I’ve been trying a smaller social network called Path. But Facebook seems increasingly frustrating. I’m tired of seeing that an acquaintance I met twice just posted eighty-four pictures of their New Year’s Eve party, full of people I don’t know and never will. I’ve been slowly unfriending people on a case-by-case basis, but somehow there are still 371 people I apparently¬†might want to see in my news feed. This seems implausible.

Perhaps it’s the spirit of the New Year: fresh start, clean slate, and all that. I can’t help feeling that I’ve let myself get overwhelmed with the digital life I was so desperate to live. I’ve signed up for too many services, had my email sold by too many unscrupulous retailers. I’ve followed Twitter feeds on a whim, “liked” pages I really don’t care that much about, and posted so many frivolous pictures taken on the spur of the moment, it’s almost embarrassing. I think I want a break, and the symbol of that break has become Facebook.

I feel a sense of relief when I think about it. Little by little, that relief is eroding the irrational panic I initially felt when I considered leaving a network I’d belonged to for nearly a decade. Before, I resigned myself to the fact that I could never go without that connection. But my relatives have email. Many friends use Twitter. We even occasionally talk on the phone! Surely I can find a middle ground between technologically inundated and total Luddite.

Am I alone in this? Are any other Millennials feeling overwhelmed by the ever-present social networking Goliath? I have to believe so. I can’t be the only one.

I’m nearly ready. I have to get my contacts in order, make sure I¬†do know how to reach people outside of that blue-bordered site. But then, oh, I will leap. And how joyful that day will be…

Wow. When I put it like that, it sounds kind of pathetic.

UPDATE: Wait, no, it’s not pathetic. And I’m not alone. This article articulates my feelings perfectly.

UPDATE, 25 August 2013: So it turns out that the easiest way to share updates of our newborn is FB. Guess I won’t leave for awhile after all.