Bailey doesn't have a Facebook. 'Nuff said.
I decided last week to take a hiatus from Facebook. My decision had nothing to do with the site’s new stylistic changes, of which I felt indifferent. It originated from the feeling that I should use my time wiser than allowing an addiction to fester.
I have previously “quit” Facebook for four or five days at a time. The thing is you don’t simply quit Facebook in this day and age. If you are a twentysomething that means an overwhelming number of people you know use the site and form associations through it. It is not easy to leave behind without feeling a bit adrift or disconnected.
Facebook is a prism to view the world through — see others’ thoughts, pictures, what music they’re listening to, etc. Possibly more important: it is a source of instant gratification — via likes, comments, and pokes — for thin and enlarged egos alike.
With all of this in mind, I stepped away from Facebook Friday. It’s been five days, and I have only used it once (for work). I could swear I felt withdrawals two days ago, which I guess is to be expected considering I used the site for hours on end for the past five years.
Recently, I noticed several friends purging their Facebook friends list of people they don’t know or aren’t close with. It used to be chic to add as many people as possible.
But after a while staring at a stranger’s repetitive status updates about their amazing boyfriend/girlfriend, sleep patterns, or whatever other minutiae loses its luster.
With that in mind, I set about cutting my Facebook friends list the other night. I ended up deleting 25 people who will in all likelihood not notice I removed them.
I could have easily deleted more. I only communicate with about 20 percent of the people on my friends list, if that. What stopped me from deleting more people was my own vanity.
I, like many people in their mid-20’s, am addicted to Facebook and Twitter, using the sites daily for entertainment, to access information, and stay in touch with friends.
I view Facebook and Twitter in different lights. Facebook is the site I visit to see pictures of a friend’s party or learn about their day. Twitter is the site I visit to learn about the world around me from strangers (i.e., newsmakers and news gatherers.)
My longstanding perceptions and biases surrounding the two sites are starting to change slightly as more news organizations and personalities shift focus to posting updates on Facebook. Before many focused most of their energy on distributing links and brief analysis on Twitter, which allows users to post 140 characters at a time.
The concept of how social media can benefit journalism is one I am keenly interested in because a) I am a journalist by trade, b) I view traditional journalism as a sinking ship, and c) As I mentioned earlier, I am addicted to social media.
Social media is relatively new and evolving every minute. Print journalism is centuries old and reluctant to change, even in the face of extinction. Strange bedfellows, right?
Tonight, as I scrolled through my Facebook news feed, I learned the disheartening news that the coffee/sandwich shop Demitasse was burning down in my old town of Thibodaux, La.
After spotting this on a friend’s status, I reached for my phone and called my old coworkers at the town’s newspaper to alert them. A reporter was already on the scene, of course. I returned to refreshing my Facebook page.
The news from the home front — in this case, my Facebook news feed and my coworkers — was grim. The Demitasse and Debbie’s Antiques, which are housed in the same building, were fully engulfed in flames.
Eventually photos and iPhone video emerged on Facebook. They confirmed the worst. The local newspaper’s web site also posted breaking news about the fire.
This event is significant for two reasons: The Demitasse and Debbie’s Antiques are treasures of Thibodaux — a town beseeched by corporate fast food chains and sorely lacking in local charm — and this is the first time I can recall watching a local news event unfold on my Facebook news feed.