Life Without Facebook ~ A View From Gen Y #1

01/16/2012

More than 800 million active users has given Facebook the enviable status of the golden child of social networks. With multiple generations sharing photos, updates and videos Facebook might even be considered the biggest digital family reunion ever!

However, as with any 'family' sometimes you need a bit of a break. That's what's happening for the people who 'grew-up' on Facebook .. the Gen Y or the Millennial Generation. They're signing off from Facebook. Some for forever. Others for a few months.

One of the 20-somethings who disabled her (7 year) Facebook page is my niece Jessica Robyn. Ironcially it was Friday the 13th when Jessica said good bye to that part of her virtual life. I had so many questions Why? What would it be like for her? How would she keep in touch with her friends? What did her friends think?  

Jess had kindly agreed to a series of interviews .. let's call this quasi reality social media. Over the next weeks she'll share with us what life is like without Facebook.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Tell us a little about Jessica Robyn.

Jessica Robyn _for fb article
Jessica Robyn
: I am 25 and work in the mental health field during the week and spend my weekends performing Rocky Horror with the Full Body Cast in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. I graduated with a degree in psychology a few years back and when I am not busy with work or Rocky I spend time going out with my friends for drinks, dinners, concerts, going to movies, or finding some way to entertain ourselves. 

Diva Marketing/Toby: You’ve grown up on Facebook. You connect to your BBFs on Facebook. You have a history built on your page. Why did you disengage from Facebook?

Jessica Robyn: The entire idea of leaving Facebook began a few months ago when I ended a relationship. It was difficult to move on since our entire history was on Facebook in the form of mutual friends, photos, and wall posts. This was the first "long term dating" I had been in since high school (back in the day when Zuckerberg was just a regular guy). The idea crossed my mind to disable my account, but I have been such a huge social media addict I quickly threw it out of my mind.

When I was ready to start dating again I became slightly frustrated. I would be out and start talking to a guy and he would say, "Oh yeah we should hang out some time... find me on Facebook." I would give most of these men confused looks since at that point I was 85% sure we had not even exchanged last names. After a few of these instances I began to seriously consider disabling my Facebook while I began to date again.

I would rather someone get to know me than add me as a "friend" (I use quote since clearly I would not consider someone I JUST met a friend.) then simply have a baseball card of facts like my birthday, where I went to school, my favorite movies, etc.  Jessica robyn facebook_1 1_12 _5

Since I've been on Facebook from when I was 18 there are also pictures of the past 7 years of my life. If someone who has just met me, doesn't know who I am now, is judging me from snap shots of my past ... when I was out at a party, or being a goof with my friends ... well it could be a turn off. I admit I'm guilty of doing that too when I initially met someone.I judged them based on what I saw or read on their posts without getting to know their personality.

I can be a sarcastic person which means some of my posts should not be taken seriously. Now most people who know me pretty well can decipher the difference whereas someone who just met me may not sense the sarcasm and make the assumption I am just a heartless jerk.

Diva Marketing/Toby: I was intrigued by your tweets. What were you nervous about and why?

Jessica Robyn_Twitter _1_12 FB
Jessica Robyn: It's a HUGE change for me. When I am sitting in the doctor’s office or stuck in a long line at the store I can just grab my phone and see what people are up to on Facebook, make some comments, post some pictures. I don't play a lot of the games on Facebook, but it is a great way to occupy my time when I am bored at home. Now I won't have that option.

I have had a very strong relationship with Facebook. For over 7 years and it has been a daily part of my life. If you ended a 7 year marriage wouldn't you have a weird feeling waking up without your partner? I'm not trying to say I am THAT obsessed with Facebook that it feels like a marriage, but it's the daily usage that will be weird to live without.

Diva Marketing/Toby: How did you “Do IT?” Were you all by yourself? What were you feeling? What were your thoughts when you clicked the disengage link?

Jessica Robyn:  I did IT while I was alone. It took me a while to find the disable button and then, of course, Facebook says "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?" Below it were pictures of 5 of my Facebook friends saying they would miss me and asking if I would like to send them a message.

Two of them were people I am friends with through Rocky Horror, one was a friend I made while in Israel, one was an old family friend, and the last was my old college roommate. Only one out of the five I would not see on a regular basis, but I am sure they will all miss me on Facebook.

I guess initially I felt very numb and empty. I didn't really have a reaction. It hasn't been long, but I will go to my phone when I would usually check my Facebook on the go and just feel sort of lost and confused thinking, "Well what I am supposed to do to occupy these next 30 seconds of time?"

Twitter_Facebook dream

To be continued .. 

Life without Facebook Part 2 Part #3

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Comments

To tell the truth life without facebook is boring. And facebook is just a part of everyone's life/

Posted by: social network marketing promotion on Jan 16, 2012 12:55:38 PM

As a fellow Facebook addict (although quite a bit older than Jessica), I find this story riveting. Can't wait to see what happens next! :)

Posted by: April Wilson on Jan 17, 2012 6:31:24 AM

I cannot wait to see how Jessica spends all of her new free time.. I know that's what would happen to me if I deactiviated my account. It's kind of ridiculous to think of how much time I spend on it a week... let alone all these years.

Posted by: Ashley@A10sm on Jan 18, 2012 12:13:05 AM

What an interesting and timely read! Now I'm hooked on Jessica's story! I have actually considered deactivating my Facebook account too, maybe once or twice coz it usually distracts me from my other online and writing tasks. It's just sad to read some stories featured online about different people getting into a lot of trouble because of Facebook posts. What do you think should these people do? Are there any good marketing or blogging activities they can try instead?

Posted by: Ninsy Pilapil on Jan 21, 2012 1:38:48 AM

Being engage on a social network, is just because one considers that option. Otherwise, life still continues with our without facebook. It's not "part of your life" it's just another accessory in life, that one can cleary do without.

Posted by: Maria on Jan 24, 2012 2:14:29 PM

While the seeming permanence of all material posted about you or by you on Facebook can be frustrating, hurtful, or just "annoying," I always say that Facebook is best used for its communication. I have discussed with friends about how Facebook makes people jealous, self-conscious, preoccupied, and even sad, but there are ways to avoid these occurrences and use Facebook to its full potential.

Block your photos from others if you don't want them judging you off you're FB photos. If they ever ask why you don't have FB photos they will probably be intrigued by your personality and desire to get to know someone before judging them off 7 years of photos. Also, block people who's information may make you upset (or just block them from your news feed).

These are just two things that could really help because FB offers so much. (Group) messaging, event planning, advertising, news, entertainment, and more. It's hard to balance all the services, but it's up to the user.

Noah S.
Tulane University

Posted by: Noah S on Mar 7, 2012 7:13:40 PM

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