Barry Smith: Irrelativity |

Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

OK, cruel world, I did it. Social-media suicide. E-death by my own iHand. I deactivated my Facebook account.

After six years and countless hours that I’ll never get back, I’ve realized that I cannot continue to live a healthy, focused, nonstalky life if having a Facebook profile is a part of it.

The decision itself was an easy one – I’ve known for a while that this day had to come. But the actual execution of the decision involved some lead-up. As I faced my own e-mortality, I went through quite a lot of searching – both the soul and Web variety. But it’s probably the same thing that everyone in my situation goes through. It’s …

The Five Stages of Facebook Death (or, “Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Never Had to Ignore FarmVille Requests”)

1. Denial – I feel fine. Really. I have a healthy number of friends, not so many that it looks like I’m not discerning and not so few that it looks like I’m unpopular. My profile picture is current and engaging, and I rotate it regularly. I’m updating my status several times a week, sometimes more. My “liking” is thoughtful and not frivolous. My re-posting habits are improving. I’ve been posting a lot of music videos lately, even going through interesting and intentional cycles: blues, classic punk, obscure novelty. People seem to really appreciate it. They comment on my video choices with things like “lol” and “LIIIIIIIIIKKKKEEEEEE” and “I wish there was a ‘love’ button.” I don’t see why I need to go. Even though it’s been years, I feel like I’m just now getting the hang of it.

2. Anger – “WTF?!” I just wrote that in my status and am waiting for someone to comment. Oh great, someone just “liked” it. What does it mean, that you “like” such a thing? Why does this person get to stay on Facebook and I have to go? What a waste of an account. Oh, look, I just got an “lol.” Great. I know this is a popular stance, but I freakin’ hate “lol.” Because you’re a liar. You are not laughing out loud right now. You can’t be. And if you are, if you truly are laughing – out loud – because I wrote “WTF?!”, well, that’s arguably worse. I thought social media was supposed to bring people closer. Instead it’s just making me more aware of the world o’ morons I live in. LOL? OK. FOAD!

3. Bargaining – OK, OK … I’m sorry I was so upset. There is some good, quality interaction to be had on FB, and from now on I’m going to have it. No more music videos. It’s all gonna be positive, uplifting things from me. No more cryptic movie dialogue or ironic graphs or links to stories from The Onion. From now on, Gandhi quotes, that’s all. “You must be the status update you wish to see in the world,” that sort of thing. And I’ll only go on FB twice a week and not for more than three hours each time. And when I see that my friends are doing cooler things than I am, I will not feel jealous. I’ll be happy for them, and I’ll even comment accordingly. “Good for you,” “Right on,” “You deserve it, lol.” I’ll do all of that. Please, just don’t make me go away. I can get a handle on this. I can be good.

4. Depression – “What’s the point?” I’m so depressed that I actually considered only thinking, “What’s the point?” and not actually posting it! And what’s the point of having a lyric from a Clash song pop into your head if you can’t use it as your status so that everybody knows how retro, hip and edgy you are? What, I’m supposed to just think about stuff without telling the world? Also, I’ve got a birthday coming up in just over a month – what’s the point of living for another year if you don’t get a wall full of “HAPPPYYY BIIRTHDAAAAAY!!!! LOL!” wishes from people you aren’t sure exactly how you know? Sigh … what’s the point?

5. Acceptance – It’s all going to be OK. I was fine before there was such a thing as Facebook, and I’ll be fine without it. My real friends already know my email address, so they can find me if they want to. Plus, the extra time will allow me to focus on my Facebook “fan” page. Thirty-two “fans” so far! And growing, sorta! What? A fan page isn’t the same as a regular Facebook page. It isn’t. Now everybody, quick … like me. Like me!