Two years ago the end of March I started this blog, and its sister DIY blog. I was sick of F******* taking over my life, sick of worrying about who could view which "private" content of mine on-line, sick of having to shoehorn myself into someone else's cutesy categories. I wanted my on-line self back, dammit.
Okay, so I made two blogs. So what? What did that give me?
It took a lot of stress away. I like being able to check on my friends with an RSS feed instead of having to log in to a site that continues to bewilder me, no matter how many overhauls they seem to make to it. On Google Reader, Twitter, and other like services, I can scan through for not just what my friends are up to, but what my friends are up to that is of interest to me. You see, I have an amazingly diverse group of friends with lots of different interests (if you're reading this, maybe you're one of them). We don't connect with each other 100%, all the time, and we're all perfectly cool with that. So instead of getting a "status vomit" from F******* on everything people I know are up to, I can just find out what they're up to that I can contribute to and relate to meaningfully.
And, although it's not nice to say, the truth is I can keep up with my real friends out here. One of my annoyances about F******* is that I often found myself friending people that, um.... quite frankly, I didn't like very much. But they were friends of friends, or they were in the same group or club I was, or something. They sent me a friend request, and once I figured out who the heck they were, I realised I couldn't not friend them without some useless angst happening in the real world. The politics of "friending" just added the clutter and dysfunction of F*******, not to mention its general uselessness.
I still have to go back to F******* from time to time, mostly for event invitations. I wish people would just use something like Evite, but hey, to each their own. It works well enough so long as I remember to put the event on my calendar once I RSVP. That's cool.
One thing that still astonishes me, two years on, is how many people don't realise I'm not on F******* except in name. I have completely, absolutely, gutted my account. There is no material information there. For all intents and purposes it looks like a dead account. Even so, I still have people trying to friend me, and still have people saying, "Oh, didn't you see my F*******update?". Obviously they never saw mine, or else they'd know better.
The other thing that I find interesting is how many dedicated F*******ers are down on Twitter. They all say the same thing: it's too much work, and it's too trivial. Yet they all do status updates on F******* (which is the same thing as a Twitter post), and they all read the "latest updates" section. Maybe it's not so much too much work as all the same work one has to do to keep up with F******* anyhow? Personally, I've found Twitter very useful. It makes no pretenses about you being "friends" with anyone (you "follow," you don't "friend"), and it's based on interest, not a "friendship" which may or may not be artificially constructed by the web site.
I'm glad I escaped. It's a lovely on-line world out there. I love the simple things, like being able to choose my own colour schemes and link together my own web space. I love being able to tailor the information flow into something manageable. And yeah, I love feeling like a grown-up instead of a college freshman, since I hated that even when I was a college freshman.
Most of all, I love being comfortable in my own on-line skin.