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A life less posted (elezea.com)
256 points by marban on Nov 2, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 89 comments

I agree with the broader message. Especially on vacation, disconnecting is important; it lets you take in life and experience it untethered, away from work email or other daily concerns. And if Facebook and other social networks make you feel that way, you certainly should disconnect from them.

But I wanted to call out a couple of things:

I woke up yesterday morning to a few Facebook status updates from people who don’t like Halloween, and who would never let their kids participate in the evils of trick-or-treating. I was immediately filled with guilt because I allowed my daughter to enjoy herself so much the previous night by letting her dress up in her self-chosen mermaid/fairy combination.

Why on earth would you feel guilty because you let your daughter go trick or treating and she had a great time?

And then I realized that I feel like that all the time on Facebook. Guilt, anger, envy… Those are the emotions that fuel all social networks, but perhaps Facebook more than the others. They’re the emotions that make us share/like/comment on things.

I don't really use Facebook that often, but when I do it's to look at photos someone uploaded or read a funny comment someone left.

So I guess I disagree that guilt, anger, and envy fuel all social networks (exclusively, which is what this seems to imply). It's a really strange worldview to me.

Really, it sounds like you just know a lot of unpleasant people.

I think you guys are missing a very key point. Without Facebook there was no way you were bombarded with this information. You just didn't see it or think about it. The perfect example is the current Presidential election. People I've known for 10 years are kind of shocking me with their political points of view and changing how I feel about them. Pre Facebook that just wouldn't happen. Now, how you react to these events is about you (the guilt/anger/jealous/bemused) However, it's important to acknowledge that FB and SN's in general greatly intensify the amount of this type of communication than before. Maybe if you're under 25 there isn't a real "before" to compare it to though perhaps.

>> "Really, it sounds like you just know a lot of unpleasant people."

Feeling guilt, anger, and envy reading a social network sounds like a personal problem and not entirely the fault of the people posting updates.

I tend to agree that such feelings are rooted in personal issues. However I think it's also true that Facebook status updates can act as a catalyst for making those feelings bubble up in someone, when that person is trying to live their own lives without being reminded of "what could have been" etc.

This captures the sentiment. Sure its a 'personal problem' to be angry/envious that your friend from college just bought a new sports car and you're trying to figure out how to cover the cost of a smog check on your old van. But it is also entirely human. All too often we rate ourselves by the accomplishments or activities of others. This can be toxic. Disconnecting from the social graph, if only to prevent additional irritation of emotional scars, is a good thing.

I believe that the author perfectly illustrates the root of what really motivates behavior on social networks. It's very much about displaying your life as you want it seen, and choosing what to like, post, phrase posts and upload around that idea.

You may argue that the above is merely a cynical point of view (Or that the author just has emotional issues), but you risk missing the opportunity to (attempt to) objectively think about what motivates people/yourself to post on social networks with such wide audiences.

I would agree except.... people aren't real on facebook (or Twitter, blogs and forums for that matter).

The emotions I felt when reading my facebook news feed were not the same emotions I had when hanging out with these people in real life.

Before I called it quits I found myself hiding and deleting people because of the things they were willing to say and do on Facebook that they would never say or do in-person.

So, maybe it was a personal problem for me too. But the solution was to get rid of the medium.

Sounds to me like people are more real on Facebook than in the heavily self-censored in-person environment. Unless they're trolling, I suppose.

I agree. If social networks invoke those negative feelings within a person, it definitely indicates something that person has to deal with. I'm sure there are people driven by these emotions, but have hopes that friends and family are sharing to share and liking because they like things, not merely to keep score.

"it definitely indicates something that person has to deal with"

I don't agree. On facebook you see idealized lives of others and it can be pretty depressing. You see others going on vacation but you don't see them fighting with relatives ( ok, I see that, it just annoys me) and you can start thinking that their lives are better than yours.

I don't know if this is an accurate source, but I think this can be a problem for not so (mentally) stable people: (They could suffer from this without facebook too, but the dose on facebook is much bigger than in a close friend circle.)


> On facebook you see idealized lives of others and it can be pretty depressing.

I'm very sorry that you feel this way, but if you feel depressed for other peoples idealized lives, you have a problem that has nothing to do with your friends or Facebook.

We need to stop thinking of social networks as anything other than "social interaction".

If a person feels guilt, anger, envy etc. when others tell them their opinion, they will feel so regardless of the medium on which the message was delivered.

But it's much easier to blame social networks than fixing one's own attitude. (similar to how people would prefer to ban good television than teach their children about the difference between acted and real violence ... or the whole boobies thing)

I don't think he was ever blaming the people he's connected to on Facebook. He never indicated that the people were even directing their posts at him.

I actually think it was a mature thing for him to do. He noticed that one of his behaviors - going online and looking at Facebook - had a negative effect on him, so he decided not to engage in the behavior as much.

When you say, "If a person feels guilt, anger, envy etc. when others tell them their opinion, they will feel so regardless of the medium on which the message was delivered." - this may be true. But. Facebook (and twitter and other social networks) allow people to broadcast their opinions in a way that wasn't usual for most people before. Most people are more likely to be reserved or show some tact about expressing their opinions when they're engaged in conversation than they are when broadcasting online.

edit: sorry - Swizec didn't say he the author was blaming people. I got his comment mixed up with another one. In any case, I didn't think he was blaming social media insofar as he's taking responsibility by changing his behavior.

>I don't think he was ever blaming the people he's connected to on Facebook.

Swizec never said he blamed people. Swizec (correctly) said he blamed the social networks.

> We need to stop thinking of social networks as anything other than "social interaction".

We didn't evolve to handle social interactions that are not face-to-face. Medium really is the message and it alters the way those interactions go down greatly.

Like now, I probably wouldn't have interrupted you and start talking in a regular conversation but I have no problem with pulling one line out of your post and go at it online. And I would carefully explain what I mean instead of just dropping this link on you https://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/fashion/let-your-smartpho...

Maybe I'm weird here because I've grown up as a geek and a nerd so most of my social skills were built online.

But that's exactly what I would do in a face-to-face conversation. When I call bullshit on somebody (or somebody does on me), we usually whip out a smartphone and find relevant links to see who's right.

And when the other person is taking too long to say something, they will often get interrupted. Conversations often go on tangents because somebody said something interesting.

Conversely, when somebody isn't being interested, people will just walk away mid conversation.

But as I said, maybe I and my friends are the weird ones here.

"If a person feels guilt, anger, envy etc. when others tell them their opinion, they will feel so regardless of the medium on which the message was delivered."


But social networks provide a sensory overload that was not there before. Go back some years to time without even sms, and you would get other peoples opinion practically only when you saw them.

I'm sure there are many personality types even today who dislike facebook like interaction, and that's fine. Certainly that is not an attitude that requires fixing.

The problem with wanting not-facebook is that we don't really have a choice anymore. The social systems that were in place before facebook and mobile devices became so prevalent have all been destroyed, so there's no going back to the way you lived in 2002.

People don't make plans anymore, make fliers for their parties, etc. So if you decide that you don't want to participate in social networks online, it essentially means that you're opting out of society offline as well: you simply won't be included in those social plans.

And even if you managed to stay a part of society, you find yourself standing in the metaphorical elevator where everyone else is looking down at their phones.

If you manage to make it out to dinner with people, they'll all inexplicably be taking photos of their food, posting them on facebook, and then only relating to each-other at the table to explain who has commented or liked or whatever'd the things that are happening right there. And that's pretty uninteresting if you are not also invested in the likes, replies, etc.

Basically, it's a network effect, and we're in it. To characterize it as a choice only legitimizes this thing as something we have control over and have opted into, rather than something that has happened to us.

I would respectfully disagree with this comment.

I have heard this argument made many times before but the fact is you just had to work harder to have a "social life" before facebook. That is what made relationships feel more meaningful back in the presocial network days, because they where more meaningful (and you had less of them).

Commenting on a photo of your friend's newborn is not equal to paying a visit to hold the baby while the mother takes a long bath and the father drinks a much needed beer. And in the end that comment will be about as memorable as the effort put into it.

Back in the late 90s, nobody had 200 friends. People had small groups of tight-nit friends with whom they shared REAL experiences. One did not need a host of software applications to tell you what their friends where up to because they where there with them when it happened.

Here is the test I apply... if I'm not willing to take the time to call someone up and invite them over for a beer, perhaps they are not really friends so much as an entity relationship in some corporations database.

Personally, I log into my facebook account about once every 4 months just to see what I'm missing. Let me tell you, I'm not missing much.

> "People had small groups of tight-nit friends with whom they shared REAL experiences."

And yet, they still do.

One thing I heavily dislike about the Facebook narrative is how it's portrayed as two mutually exclusive choices. Either you have hundreds of people who poke at each other in superficial ways or you have tight-knit circles.

The reality is that people have both, and have always had both. Facebook has improved our connection to the extended-acquaintances circle, it hasn't taken away our close friends.

As it grows, it hasn't really improved my close friendships, either. I was originally in love with Facebook precisely because it improved those relationships.

Things were a bit different in college, I guess, when only .edu email holders were on the site. I'm not sure if that's because it was a safe walled garden for students to be themselves online or if it was because I had a much higher ratio of close friends to extended relationships. Either way, as the site has grown and more Bosses and Grandmas have joined, normally complex people who interact with me differently than the Boss or Grandma were suddenly forced to act in a lowest common denominator way.

I'll admit that the reason I left Facebook (late 2009) had little to do with privacy or advertising and more to do with the fact that most of my friends stopped posting pictures and self-censored because both Grandma and the Boss might see it. If I wanted interesting human contact, Facebook was decreasingly the place to find it.

Anyway, my gripe about the Facebook narrative, in addition to the one you just brought up, is that Facebook is the de facto place to communicate with anyone. It's not. It may be the path of least resistance in communicating with those acquaintances, but there are hundreds of ways to get in touch with people now. Facebook's grasp of social interaction is less of a stranglehold and more of a thin curtain that people, for whatever reason, refuse to look behind.

I would have to agree. I have a facebook account that I check maybe once a week. I have no posts on my wall, no photos of me, rarely comment on other people's posts and I have my security settings up so high that people often don't know I have an account (I use my very common real name, but only a spam email address and no other contact info, even my birthday is fake).

Have I missed invites to events? Sure! But only those events where the host wasn't that interested in me coming. My close friends? They might invite me via facebook, but once I don't respond they call me because they actually value my presence.

However, I have used it to keep in touch with people from the past, it's great for that. Those "friends" who you talk to once or twice a year, but who are always nice to keep up with.

I guess my point is that it easy to have an active, fulfilling social life without facebook, but it has it's uses.

Well, I dunno. I had 200(+) friends in the late 90's. There were a group of 10 people that I hung out with literally every day, and I'd see the rest at events which I mostly found out about through fliers that we'd make and pass to each-other.

The same people still exist and are around, but hardly anyone makes fliers anymore. If I didn't have a Facebook account, even if only just to notify me of upcoming events, I'd see a lot less of everybody.

Pretty much. I quit Facebook for good in February. My social life has gotten simpler, but only in the sense that I am now hanging out only with people I actually care about, vs those I was simply pretending to care about.

I still remember what it felt like during the first week or so of not having Facebook. It felt like someone just turned off the loud and annoying TV in the room, an I suddenly found that I was able to have real conversations with people.

This is difficult to maintain for shared group experiences though. For example, I went on a group trip in 2004 to Europe with a group of strangers. I became friends with a few and interacted with many. Sure I could keep in touch via email or phone with the few, but what we really value about those 10 days was the shared group experience. A 20 person conference call seems much less viable than a Facebook group with the occasional reminiscing post. This starts with a friend request.

Of course this escalates quite quickly. Shared experiences as classmates or part of a student organization or even a workplace. We used to only have the option of maintaining individual relationships. Now that we have the option of maintaining group relationships, the definition of "friend" is fuzzy.

People don't make plans anymore, make fliers for their parties, etc. So if you decide that you don't want to participate in social networks online, it essentially means that you're opting out of society offline as well: you simply won't be included in those social plans.

In my experience, this simply isn't true (I'm not on FB). If your friends do not value your presence enough to contact you via some method other than Facebook, they're not worth having, and most public events also inform people via other methods (email, websites, twitter etc). I would draw a distinction between closed social networks (which require you to sign up and agree to a degree of data-mining just to view content), and open social networks, which act as a broadcast medium. I'm not in your obligatory network effect, and don't want to be; it really hasn't affected my life in the slightest, so yes we do have a choice, and it's really easy and pain-free to say no to FB.

Saying you must be on FB for your life to function is really a post-hoc rationalisation for a choice already made, and as FB becomes more user-hostile while catering to its advertisers, we'll see more people coming up with this excuse for continuing to participate, but the real reason most people are there is simply because it's what everyone they know is doing and through inertia, not because it is necessary in some fundamental way. I've been reading more and more people talking about giving it up recently though.

It's quite possible to have a happy and fulfilling social life without FB or other closed social networks, particularly as you get older and rely on your established network of friends. Email, texts, phones, blogs, websites etc. all existed before the FB ghetto, and will exist afterward. I'm not convinced there is a future for an exclusive social network like FB, which tries to force you to participate and be tracked (even unwillingly) as the cost of interacting with your 'friends' online - that's just too high a cost for people to pay in the long run for simple online interactions which can be done elsewhere on the open web. If FB was open and not intent on selling your data and your life, it would be more attractive, but as it is not, it's not worth joining IMHO.

Sure you have a choice. I deleted my Facebook account years ago, I have a perfectly functioning social life. Some things are slightly more inconvenient but there's really not many of them. I saw a large reduction in the amount of useless crap I read online and didn't notice any reduction in the quality of any of my meaningful relationships, since let's face it - who develops or maintains meaningful relationships on Facebook? At best it's a means to find people in the real world to do that with.

To characterize it as a choice only legitimizes this thing as something we have control over and have opted into, rather than something that has happened to us.

You're right that it's something that has happened to us, but it has happened by choice and you can still choose if you want to.

> "who develops or maintains meaningful relationships on Facebook?"

I've done both. I've also formed and maintained meaningful relationships on other websites.

There's a definite cost-benefit tradeoff. It can be a huge time sink. It can bury you in games that aren't even remotely fun. It can lead to ideological arguments that destroy friendships. But it can also help you keep up with friends and relatives, reconnect with old friends, and even discover new friends-of-friends who you'd never have the opportunity to meet in person.

It's really a matter of how you and your friends use it.

I think your willingness to accept this as the truth is more telling of your own disposition than any of ours. Of course we have the choice.

I don't participate in Facebook, but I've yet to see any indication that I've "opted out of society offline". I have plenty of friends and regularly get invited to events (via, you know, my phone). If anything, I think opting out of social networking has only increased my value since my day-to-day activities haven't saturated the market.

And the people I go out to dinner with don't take photographs of their food or talk about what they "liked" on Facebook. Do you work for Facebook or something? Your life sounds like a commercial for it.

Yeah, I was pissed that my community college class, and this was over a couple years ago, had some extra material only available through the class facebook account. It was just assumed that everyone was on it, like assuming if you are human you need oxygen.

I think you're half right. If you opt-out of the online precursors to offline gatherings, then yes you'll be left out of those offline gatherings. That's still separate from whether your friends are the type to take pictures of their food and post to Facebook in the middle of dinner.

This reminds me a great deal of the insights of Susan Sontag in her essay On Photography. To wit:

"A way of certifying experience, taking photographs is also a way of refusing it -- by limiting experience to a search for the photogenic, by converting experience into an image, a souvenir. Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs... Most tourists feel compelled to put the camera between themselves and whatever is remarkable they encounter. Unsure of other responses, they take a picture."

The whole essay is really worth reading - looking specifically at photography, you could make an argument that our other tools like Facebook are growing to fill a similar aggressive, certifying role in our culture...

You can find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/On-Photography-Susan-Sontag/dp/0312420...

This is brilliant. Thank you!

Am I the only person for whom snapping a photo of an experience and uploading it to Facebook doesn't ruin said experience? Am I the only person with the capacity to engage in social media at-will, without feeling compelled to do so because otherwise my experiences "didn't happen"?

I don't understand either of these sentiments.

Humans are social creatures. We always have been, and always will be. Engaging with people face-to-face is great. But when we're separated from others we care about, we'll resort to whatever means possible to share our experiences with them. In the past, that meant writing letters, talking on the phone, having film developed, etc. Today, it means whipping out your phone, snapping a photo, and touching your screen a few times.

Has the nature of how we experience life really changed that much? I can't help but feel that complaints of this nature are really just nostalgia in disguise.

Agreed. This passage in particular stuck out to me:

There was nothing different about the bottle of wine we had in that one Italian restaurant. Except that it was our bottle of wine, and we shared it just with each other. Not with anyone else.

That hasn't changed. The author can still choose to keep a moment or a memory between him and his SO. He makes it sound as if the mere existence of social networks obligates him to share those moments with others.

Frankly, I enjoy having the option of sharing a significant moment with my friends and family. Or, I can choose to keep it to myself and soak it in. I really don't think it's worth worrying so much over that choice.

You have chosen to simplify your life and seem to enjoy it.

Other people tend to fight imaginary monsters, like self-consciousness, narcissism, the feeling of not fitting into the society, ostracism, envy - the first noble truth. For them the pressure from social networks seems to intensify this suffering of disconnect between the life they desire to live, and their actual life.


Bravo. Well said.

I am a member of Facebook but I don't take it all that seriously. Sometimes I post a photo of something in real time. A lot of the time I don't. Sometimes people around me do this. Sometimes they don't. Either way, no big deal. I try not to do this when I am in the middle of conversation with others, and I see others do likewise. If a group disperses, that's the time to do your social media stuff (but only if you want to!) before engaging with others.

People take this stuff oh so seriously.

No, you're probably not the only person. It doesn't mean you're not different from OP (and many others) in that regard.

Well, I was asking that question rhetorically. There are a billion people on Facebook and even more with mobile phones, and (to my knowledge) the vast majority are capable of enjoying real-life experiences. The issue I'm getting at isn't really whether I really am alone, or if I'm the only one different than the OP. The point I'm making is that there is precious little substance to the claim that we have entered a new age characterized by a net loss in our ability to enjoy live experiences.

It's a bit like my dad comparing his childhood to mine. He would play all sorts of games outside with his friends, whereas I spent a comparatively large amount of time watching cartoons and playing video games. His point was that "kids these days blah blah blah." But the reality is, the people of my generation have very fond memories of those old cartoons and video games. We'll probably all grow up to criticize the pastimes of our children as well. But are these new generations of children really missing out on anything substantial? Or are things just different?

It's one thing to be nostalgic about things long gone. But it's extreme to take that nostalgia and conclude that social media really has taken away our "freedom to live" (the OP's words, not mine).

You feel guilty, angry and envy because of what you see on Facebook? That problem is with you. I have never felt more in touch with more people through social services of this kind.

These services enhance my capability of keeping in touch with people. I didn't know how to use them correctly at first, and probably ODed on Facebook and made fun of how much people use them, but once you master yourself—or at least become better at it—you can live a much richer, fuller life by staying in touch with people you never could have before. My great-grandmother left Spain after the Civil War and did not have contact with her sisters for over 50 years. Personally, this alternative of being connected is much better than the other.

Learn about yourself. Learn how to use them for your benefit. When you get distracted, don't blame the technology, blame yourself for not knowing that you need to disconnect. It's hard. But it's doable. A life less posted is a choice we want to have sometimes, but being connected is something that I think we want more.

This article represents a much-needed big-picture view of how social networks have affected how we live. It seems like those with smartphones in their pockets, and social networks with connections, have the always-on ability to make an impression on others—and they are expected to. That manifests itself as a nagging feeling to always share and make an impression.

I'm backpacking through Europe right now as well, and not having cellular service and being more disconnected allows me to live with the intention to live. Whereas before, living in NYC and constantly being connected always allowed me to ask questions like: Should I check in here? Should I Instagram this? Am I expected to be active on social networks, lest I be forgotten?

If you are in backpacking through Europe, you may want to reconsider checking Hacker News and commenting on an article about getting a little disconnected :)

I still like keeping up once in a while. It gives me fodder to think about while being disconnected :)

I don't understand how people feel so helpless at the hands of Facebook and their friends. I've been a satisfied Facebook user for years without ever checking it more than a couple of times a week or uploading a single photo. When some notification or news feed annoys me, I turn it off. Incredibly, I manage to do this without writing a dramatic blog post about how social networking has cheapened social interaction forever.

I feel like many of these posts present a false dichotomy. I hiked over 600 miles of the appalachian trail this summer, and I did use social media - a little. I posted about one photo to instagram a day - a faun a few days old, a chimney in the middle of the trail, a view of two side by side mountains, one drenched in sun and the other in a thunderstorm. This helped my notice the most beautiful moments of my day each day, and now I can look back at a gloriously curated story - ~35 pictures from 30 days. I put those photos up for my friends and family, and now I am so happy to have them. And they were happy to take a moment while flipping through their instagram feeds to see them. I guess I don't understand the fear, hatred, and jealousy people feel when confronted with moments from other people's lives.

All I can say: delete your Facebook account and travel to whatever country you want.

Not using Facebook doesn't mean you cannot share your photos (emotions, experiences, ...) these days. I traveled Central Asia and some other countries and uploaded photos and videos to a password protected folder on my webserver where my family and friends could watch them. Sending physical copies still would also work.

I never had a Facebook account and every time I read articles about FB, I'm thankful that I'm not addicted to this company, like so many people seem to be.

When I travel I prefer using a private sharing system for my family too. It means they don't need a facebook account and we can comment on things knowing exactly who else is watching (I only gave the password to around 10 people and they all knew not to share it). I used a password protected Posterous site and that worked really well (Tumblr may be a better choice now Posterous is sold).

This all hinges on our personality.

I go on Facebook, like what I like, ignore what I don't, and refuse to dwell on things.


If you like it, great. If you don't, delete your account. Either way, no big deal. A lot of writing and drama about a rather minor decision.

It's not quite that simple. Facebook has changed the way many people interact.

Delete your Facebook and you will almost inevitably miss out. You will miss event invitations — "Oh, I sent out an invitation to everyone on Facebook, did you not get it?" — your friends will change their numbers without you knowing — "But I put a message on Facebook telling everyone my new number!" — and you'll find people talking about you, and posting photos of you without your knowledge.

We have a rather fascinating collective action problem here.

Fair point. There are definitely network effects. Facebook is more valuable to me than it was when I first joined, primarily because of the other people who joined, secondarily because of their new features (since I don't play Farm-Mafia-Pirate-Ville or other FB games).

What this means is that FB do offer real value for whatever they are taking/monetizing in return. I don't know what you'd call it - a method to broadcast to your social connections, perhaps? To synthesize that out of separate parts would take a lot of effort on peoples' behalf.

At present I'm of the view that simply having a Facebook account, without actively contributing content, provides me with most of the benefits without any significant costs.

What's more, I've started to notice a lot of my friends adopting this approach. I'd say my current news feed adheres to the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of the content contributed by 20 percent of the people. Perhaps even 90/10.

Meanwhile, it's not as though Facebook are getting much out of me. I can't remember the last time I clicked an ad on Facebook...

Right. Just a placeholder so that if friends use Facebook as Eventbrite or Evite or Gmail, you have a place to be contacted.

It's a reasonable compromise between being the person for whom "if it's not on Facebook it didn't happen" and the person who dramatically commits "Facebook Suicide" and deletes their account.

"I deleted my Facebook account" is this decade's version of "I don't own a TV."

I liked and agreed with the thesis of the article.. until I saw the tweet graphic at the bottom.

I "got" facebook in 2005 as a freshman in college, and deleted (not deactivated) my account in early 2009, as an experiment, and have been off ever since. I wanted to see if it would have a positive or negative effect on my social life.

1000% positive.

Now, if I want to know about one of my friends, I call them, text them, email them, or hang out with them. If someone wants to communicate with me, they do the same. I get texts all the time that start similar to "hey, facebook-challenged friend, theres X going on next weekend, come hang" or a phonecall/email saying the same, which leads into actual personal communication.

People might call it selfish, but my response would be: why am I obligated to use facebook to organize my social interactions? I don't make anyone contact me, and if they don't want to, they won't.

Also, I became really sick of baby pictures.

I've had the opposite experience. I also deleted my profile and was off for a couple of years, but when starting school it proved a needed tool for studying. I have been a lot more selective with my friends the second time and find that I'm having a lot of very good conversations with people I wouldn't talk to otherwise.

I am not surprised for this reason: initially it was designed as a tool for networking in college. It works very well for that purpose. I graduated, and this function was almost useless when not in the school bubble.

>If someone wants to communicate with me, they do the same. I get texts all the time that start similar to "hey, facebook-challenged friend, theres X going on next weekend, come hang" or a phonecall/email saying the same, which leads into actual personal communication.

So, the change is 1000% positive because people now contact you personally about facebook events? I don't really get it.

Facebook is a tool, and it can definitely be helpful as long as you're in control. I only use it as an extension of my email (because of facebook some of my friends only check their personal email once every few days). I never post things, like things, or comment on things. If I were to delete my account now, I would simply lose a lot of contacts that I don't want to lose.

To expand and clarify: I always say this (and mean it) facebook is a great tool, its just not for me.

I don't know everything about my social circles/family because I get it from a website newsfeed or because I browse pictures on a website. I know because I have personal communication with the people involved. I know someones birthday because I remember it, not because facebook told me about it. My friends/family will share with me when they get an SO/engaged/married/divorced, not a website.

I don't wan't a layer between me and people. For some people it works very well, and good for them, I mean that, it just isn't for me.

> Now, if I want to know about one of my friends, I call them, text them, email them

So you traded Facebook dependency for telephone dependency?

Sure didn't, thanks for asking. I had a phone and email long before facebook, the ways I used them never changed.

> and deleted (not deactivated)

Can you explain this further? I wish to delete my Facebook account permanently, but I'm under the impression you can (these days) only deactivate it. Do you know another way?


So, when I did this, it was a while ago and the URL I've found is different than the one I used but:


And I found this here:


I was getting nag emails from facebook on a test account. I did a password recovery and then went to the delete page listed here: http://www.facebook.com/help/224562897555674

When I try to login or do account recovery with the email address linked to the account it, I get

  No Accounts Found
  The email you entered does not belong to any account.
The account didn't have any "friends" so I'm not sure if the account vanished or is just not usable now. This was in September 2012.

I find that the social networks are the modern version of being forced by an aquaintance to stare at mind-numbing out of focus holiday slides for 2 hours, except it pokes you every time that someone wants to force some more upon you.

I live a private life and don't want all the social crap bound to it.

As a point with regards to photography, I still use a mid-80's Praktica 35mm SLR and develop my own film and print by hand.

I want to remain attached to the memory, not where I exhibit it.

You don't sound like a candidate for a Facebook account. Which is fine - opting out is encouraged.

Good I'm doing something right then :)

I traveled for nearly two years right out of college - pre email. Central/South America/Turkey etc. I went through an incredible array of emotions relating to not seeing or speaking to friends and family for weeks on end. Yet I also felt this incredible sense of adventure - being truly disconnected from all I had known. Those lessons in independence have paid dividends over and over again during tough times - knowing that I've faced a lot of challenges on my own and come through. Within a year of settling down I had my first dial up modem and the rest is history.

I'm incredibly thankful now in hindsight that I got to do it when I did. You could still do it today but you'd have to very actively decide not to be connected to people. That in itself would open up awkward questions/dialogues "Dude, you couldn't check your email/FB like even once a week?"

I certainly am not alone in having done something like this. I wonder what it means though for post College kids doing it now. We're never not connected to our larger ecosystem anymore. It's almost moved from the notion of "I'll be totally separated from friends and family' to "Everyone will be following my every move as I do one exciting post after another"

Post like these assumes no one has enough willpower to take pictures and then upload them when they get back from the vacation. To boot he seems to be romanticizing 2003 as a much simpler time... what?

The statement, "I used film so all my pictures really counted" is really annoying because it's as though he believes people nowadays just hold down the shutter button.

If we're talking about phone shots that people post to Facebook and Instagram; I think people spend way more time than they ever would have with film to setup the best shot (because it's going onto Facebook/Instagram!).

On the SLR front, just as there's a cost with using film (not enough exposures so you can't make mistakes) there is a cost with going digital: having to sort through a large amount of photos that are time consuming to look through, process, and edit. And these photos are actually quite large so there's also a much larger time cost.

So believe it or not, digital photographers have to be choosy as well lest they spend another 30 minutes trying to delete the pictures that were unnecessary.

The main problem is that people don't spend the time to filter their photos - I'm often too lazy to have more than an idle flick through photo albums that people send links to because people upload some really bad photos that they just can't be bothered to filter. One good thing about film is that you're forced to do this (plus there are other benefits to being "encouraged" to think about each photo rather than just snapping wildly).

I don't see how is OP assuming anything of a sort. As far as I can tell, s/he's just telling her/his personal experience.

guilty as charged on holding down the shutter button.

So is my mother. Almost 200GB of photos just from a point and shoot camera in the past 6 years.

I agree with this post. It confronts a big problem with the Internet, and the whole cheap-and-easy-creation, mass-consumption, turbo charged information vortex it spins.

People (and companies) are too busy crafting the meta-perception of themselves and their products, rather than spending serious time crafting themselves and their products. And who can blame them for such short sighted thinking - it is such an easy option and provides real short term benefits. For companies, ad-revenue and growth potential (growth is very important you see, because once you grow big you can...?). For people, self-validation and attention (a real chance to sway people your way! - until a few seconds later when someone else lures them away with a new post).

The future is now, tomorrow is gone forever.

I had a similar experience.

At the beginning of summer I was in Ireland for 7 days with my girlfriend on a Contiki tour. The first time I've ever been in Europe. I didn't bring my phone, on purpose.

Everyone around me was sharing, emailing, texting, and whatever else. I was relaxing, enjoying, and living the experience. I refused to nap, because I wanted to see everything, hear everything, experience everything.

Of course, when we got back home, I saw all the 'likes' that people had amassed on their trips. It was a weird feeling, that I could have updated my friends during the trip or whatever. But after the trip now, whenever I see people check-in when in big trips to europe it just seems like rubbing it in the face of your friends who might be stressed out, grieving, or whatever else.

I agree that many people "overshare" and misuse social media as he describes. This is a very subjective area where some people prefer to share more and others prefer privacy. If sharing is compulsive/addictive it can be a lot of fun but perhaps also a problem.

I use hootsuite to share via social media (twitter/facebook/linkedIN etc) as channels for sharing interesting news, and perhaps 10% of my posts are vaguely personal (sunset photo I took that evening for example).

In my experience online and social media (including HN here) are like a flowing river - the conversation is always flowing... it's nice to take a swim once in a while, just don't get swept away.

I don't share anything personal I do online. I haven't had a Facebook account for 8 months. Best decision I've made this year.

Another root cause:

"I started to compare my life to others, hating people based off of their status. All it brought me was anger and a lower self-confidence. Almost immediately after deleting it, I felt better. I'm mostly ok with how I live my life and I don't need to compare my life to that of others."

via http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/11wm5w/to_those_w...

I've done both. Me and my wife did a very similar trip in 2007 - 19 cities in 45 days, carrying DLSRs. I spent a huge amount of time taking pictures (~2500) which I still haven't managed to tag and organize 6 years later.

Just last month I went to LXJS and extended my stay into a month-long trip, carrying a DSLR and and iPhone. I rarely took the camera out of my bag, and shot maybe 500 pictures total, most of those using the iPhone.

Aside the fact that the phone actually takes better pictures in low light than my professional 3-year-old DSLR, I couldn't bother to use the camera for a couple reasons: 1) more hand work 2) a bit more difficult to share; taking SD card out, importing to the iPad 3) 90% of the time someone has already taken a nicer picture of whatever I'm looking at.

I had 3G for almost the whole trip, used Foursquare, Facebook, Path, Twitter and Skype a lot, and don't feel that this has taken out anything from the experience. In fact I believe I spent less time overall messing with tech than when I was intent on doing photography, and being able to effortlessly keep in touch both with my family at home and people I met along the way was really nice.

Facebook can improve your social life, you need to put some effort into it

When I used film, this is exactly how I felt. Like each moment was precious and worth saving. Now that I use my phone and DSLR more, it's much easier to share, and therefore I do it more. There's a lot to be said for adding a barrier to sharing. Shameless plug: my startup, Backspaces, is doing exactly that.

Here's an idea: moment quota. Set up a social network similar to those that exist, but implement a cap. You then have to choose what really matters.

A good example is Dribbble. To prevent excessive posting you have a cap (per month) that you can use. At the end of the month, you're topped off with more posts (or "shots" in their language).

This would make people not only enjoy networks more (and be conscious of what they share), but make the experience of taking in other people's content actually exiting.

I've skimmed through the comments and I (at least from that) haven't seen anyone mention what I think's the most interesting question:

Is there a way we can improve social media tools (or replace them with something different) that helps minimize their negative effects and maximise their potential?

In the scheme of things, computers are a very new technology and Facebook and the like even newer still. I wouldn't be surprised if there's still a lot of room left for improvement.

Putting aside the issue of posting about oneself, I wonder if there is research data whether not keeping track of others/society makes one less achieving or more...

perhaps try facebook w/o the metrics? no likes might make you less envious. http://bengrosser.com/projects/facebook-demetricator/

".....and got this idea that the value of a moment is directly proportional to the number of likes it receives."

LOL I cannot agree more to this.

You can't stop progress! ;)

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