Can I live without Facebook?

I grew up in an age when teenagers memorized addresses and telephone numbers, and could rattle off the 7 digits (6 if you lived in Ghana) assigned to a particular individual. We walked our neighborhoods and could give you 4 different ways to reach a destination point. In 1995, none of my friends had cell phones or pagers. Only doctors and drug-dealers had pagers. If I needed to be reached, everyone knew it would be after 6 pm when I got home. Nothing was that critical. It was a different time. Was it really only 15 years ago?

Today, I live in an age where my husband of 5 years and companion of 12 doesn’t know my cell phone number by heart. Before I leave my house, I have to Google my destination to make absolutely sure of the route to take. If I leave the house without my cell phone, I panic, turn back around and search frantically for my device while my children wait patiently in the car. And in the wake of these toddler killings and snatchings, I’m seriously considering getting a pre-paid cell for my 5 year old.

And then there’s Facebook.

This morning at 4:58 am, I shut down my Facebook account. The shut down is temporary, I’m sure. As of now it’s 10:03 am and I’m already feeling the effects of not knowing what everyone is “thinking about” or doing. The decision to discontinue my Facebook activity was a somewhat difficult one. Could I really go through the day without letting all my people know that I had just eaten the best pizza of my life, or that I witnessed a shooting in the hood apartments behind me? Where would I post all my witty and snarky one-liners? Could people really get through the day without hearing from ME??? The answer, sadly is yes. I myself have had several friends drop off the Facebook circuit and I myself have yet to reach out to them via email, phone or smoke signal. The Facebook community will thrive without me.

On the flip side, the shut down was fairly comforting for those reasons as well. When I broached the possibility of a shut down in my status late last year, one of my friends commented “No!! How else will I find out about what’s going on with you and the children?” She was right? How else would she know how we were faring? Then I remembered this girl lives in Snellville, which is a 30 minute drive from my house…a reasonable distance by Atlanta standards. Why, she could invite me over for tea, or she could email me. Heck! She could even call me once in a while! There are no long distance charges between Snellville and Roswell. Another friend objected my leaving because I was “one of the best Facebookers out there”. All that means is that my statuses are more amusing than average, since I have found that in recent months, everyone is trying to push an agenda or an album with their status. I know God is great and that you’re probably a really good rapper, but can I get a raw honest emotion or thought out of my connections for once please? Jeez!

After all is said and done, I admit that I do love Facebook. I’d rather be online than folding clothes or doing dishes. And now what am I going to do with all this spare time? Play with my kids or read a book? That’s absurd. My addiction to Facebook must be pretty apparent. Within minutes of posting my intent to disconnect, two people wanted to place wagers on how long I could stay away, if I could stay away. To those people, I say bring it. Let’s say for every 30 days that I am off Facebook, you make a donation of $5-20 to my non-profit, KBFF at www.kbff.org. Your lost money (which is tax deductible) will help pay for the medical bills of a needy Ghanaian child. OR, you could make a contribution to my Back to Africa fund, in which case you will still be helping a poor African child get home. That African child would happen to be me. I need money for a plane ticket to Ghana. If I get back on Facebook, I’ll pay you the amount of your wager. Email me at malakagrant@gmail.com if you think you’re man/woman enough.

(Maniacal) Muhahaha-ha!

  • David S.

    I don’t think you have an addiction to facebook. I think a lot of people don’t realise that like anything else on the internet, Facebook is a means to an end. It’s not an end. Saying someone is addicted to Facebook because they are on there every day interacting with their friends is like arguing that someone is addicted to cars because they drive to work every day. They aren’t in the car because they like sitting in a car, they are in the car because if they don’t get to work every day they will be fired. Facebook enables you to efficiently reach out to a very large number of people over a very large geographical area and keep up with their lives and interact with them. It’s merely the electronic edition of the school cafeteria, or the workplace water cooler. If you are on facebook all the time it doesn’t mean you are addicted to facebook, you are just addicted to what you do on facebook: socializing with your friends. If you spend a lot of time on facebook, all it means is that you miss your friends and aquaintances. Put anyone in a house all day with only three kids for company (and when school is in session, not even them) and they’ll reach out to their network of friends too. Facebook just gives you the means.

    On the other hand I could just be a plant and be blowing rot on behalf of someone who has made a bet and wants people to convince you to return to Facebook.

  • Have you seen I’ve caught you?? You ARE a plant! You want me to fail and I will not be fooled!

    If Facebook is like a water cooler, then what do you think would happen if you spent all day chatting with your co-workers with your tiny cup in hand? You would be fired! For some people, Facebook is both the means AND the end. Some people lay awake all night contemplating what their status should read the next morning (I of course have never had that experience). If you focus all your attention on one person or thing, then it’s an addiction. Facebook was like a nice young man who promised me days of endless fun and indirectly took me from my family and responsibilities as a stay at home mom/maid. Darn you FB! I miss you so much!!

  • lolita

    you are on girlfriend £25 says you dont make it, but would love you to make it so that your charity wins. good luck

    • You’re on!!! Hope you’re ready to loose 25 good British pounds!

  • I. MISS. YOU. ON. FACEBOOK.
    🙁

    • Aww!! I’m so sorry m’dear. But I have to see this through. Facebook was like crack to me. And crack is wack! We’ll always have each others blogs though 🙂 Great job with your content by the way!

  • Ange

    I am also contemplating getting off of Facebook. E newsletters are going to be my best media from now on, hoping to get out into the world more often. Just found your blog through Beth Maiden’s newsletter, thanks for writing!

    • Hi Ange!
      Thanks for reading! Gosh, I wrote this so long ago that I’ve since changed my stance and RETURNED to Facebook… Turns out I needed the platform to advertise my books. I was on Twitter for a long while and was completely addicted to it. But Twitter can be such a viscous environment that I’ve since given it up.
      I understand you completely though, in terms of exploring less popular yet more fulfilling news sources. Last year I made a conscious decision to do the same and it’s done wonders for my world view!
      I’ll have to Google Beth. I’ve never heard of her and I feel like I should have!