Rachel Jonat joined Facebook in 2006. She spent several hours a day on the site to see what her “friends” were sharing and to share her own updates.
“I want more from my friends than status updates. I want to give my friends more than status updates.”
“If this person isn’t significant enough in my life for a birthday phone call or visit or even a personal email, why do I want to stay on top of where they are vacationing and that they got a new puppy.”
“I’d rather give up the 189 Facebook friends, the majority of whom I don’t have or want the phone number of, and focus on the people near and dear to me.”
Rachel didn’t care what people shared. She didn’t feel like a friend. Because they shared everything about their lives, she felt like a voyeur. She didn’t want that label.
She deliberated for a week and posted a status update on her Facebook wall with her phone number and email address. She told her friends she wanted to see them more in person than online. Then, she deleted the account.
Three weeks later, I reached out to Rachel. We corresponded in email and I wrote a blog post about her experience. She was happy seeing people in person. She used Skype to keep in touch with faraway friends. She wrote emails.
Over the past decade, I’ve known other people who deleted their profiles. Some people deactivated their accounts (which is a type of temporary deletion) and resurrected them. And, I know several people my age who never created a Facebook account. I envy them.
As I wrote about how I use social media networks, I’m similar to Rachel in not caring as much about what people are sharing on their walls. I scroll through the newsfeed and click like on this and comment on that, but I find more value in psychographic groups.
Nine years after emailing Rachel, I updated that blog post into this one. I removed large chunks of text and added fresh commentary.
Rachel, ironically, maintains a Facebook page for her blog, but she never created a new profile.