I Have No (Online) Friends

Well, I completed the deactivation of my final two social media accounts yesterday.  After much internal deliberation and feedback from my wife, I deleted my personal Facebook account.  Gosh, I had had it for ages.  I also got rid of my Untappd account.  For those of you who don’t know, Untappd is like Facebook for beer drinkers/connoisseurs.

Facebook was hard for me to purge.  I had collected tons of photos from various places that I had traveled to.  All of my sons’ photos from when they were born were displayed on my page.  For the most part, I don’t miss a lot of my “friends” on there; however, there were a few contacts from my past whom I will miss.  At least I can keep in touch with my family through email and texting.

I had been considering starting anew for the longest time.  This Independence Day weekend clinched it for me.  It really hurt when I would find out the hard way that someone whom I considered close to me had “unfriended” me on Facebook.

You know, I have enough drama and difficulties in real life; I don’t need double the amount (the real world plus my cyber world).  Individuals from the younger generation will probably read this and assume that I’m an idiot.

I disagree.

I benefit from not having grown up with all this technology.  I never even became interested in LinkedIn although all of my older colleagues use it for networking.  To me it just seems like another juvenile way to show off and incite jealousy and unnecessary stressful competition.

Man, Topaz, you are one messed-up dude.  I don’t think that at all.  

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Well, that’s because you’re not struggling with a head full of crap.

Untappd required lots of money, and I risked continued brushes with the law.  See, last summer I was charged with a DWI after my suicide attempt.  The police found no trace of alcohol in me (because I had been passed out in my car for ten hours prior to operating my vehicle); only a crapload of Xanax in my system.

Yeah, I know: You could have killed someone, you piece of ****!  That’s what the paramedic kept screaming at me, too, as I lay semi-conscious in the back of the ambulance, babbling in my stupor, on that fateful morning late last August.  For what it’s worth, I never expected to wake up from my deadly cocktail of tequila and benzos, nor do I even remember operating my vehicle or intending to.

Untappd was just like the other social media distractions: Trying to keep up with the Joneses.  

I couldn’t keep up with IT computer geeks and web developers who were making at least double of what I make per year as a college teacher.  I just couldn’t keep up financially.  Drinking gourmet Belgian brew every other day is rather expensive.

I shouldn’t have been drinking so much anyway.  Luckily my wife cared enough to make sure that I only drank at home. For my DWI, we spent thousands of dollars just on the attorney alone.  Plus, I’d rather not do any jail time; I’ve seen too many scary episodes of Locked Up.

And it hurt to give up those social media accounts.  Oh man, did it hurt.  Talk about a blow to my already low self-esteem.  (My virtual self is way cooler than my real self.)

I got rid of my personal Twitter account and Instagram (I loved my photos) a few days ago.  The funny thing is, I don’t really miss any of it.  I feel lighter.  Happier.  (I think.)

Last.fm helped me stay connected with other outcasts (and web developers who “work” from home), sharing new black metal and death metal bands that we had stumbled across, trying to find the most evil Scandinavian misanthropic noise creators.

I don’t regret deleting all of those things:  Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Untappd, Last.fm, Rdio, Spotify.  I’m pretty sure it was God’s will.  All of these things were hindering me from getting closer to Him and carrying out His will for my life.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

Whatever helps you sleep at night, dude.

~topaz

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About Topaz

I'm a college teacher, writer, and faithful Catholic. I do my best to juggle all of these while dealing with my mental illness -- a constant thorn in my flesh. View all posts by Topaz

6 responses to “I Have No (Online) Friends

  • flyinguineapig

    I admire you for deleting all that stuff. I was on a Christian discussion website for a while and that definitely created more headaches than it was worth so I quit.

    I almost deleted my Facebook account because it is a monumental waste of time in most cases, but I use it to find out what my favorite bands are up to and to connect with my extended family because most of them live 2 states away.

    After reading this I did “unfriend” all the people I had “friended” in high school. We never talked to each other and we’ll likely never see each other again. In fact, I don’t even know why I added them in the first place.

    Thanks for posting. 🙂

    • Topaz

      Thank you for reading! I agree that Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with family who live far away. I intentionally didn’t advise everyone to delete their social media accounts because everyone is different. In my case, I felt it was the right thing to do.

      I think some people (like myself) are becoming too dependent on technology like Facebook and Twitter. They started to control my life. For instance, I often found myself listening to music that I didn’t even like so that my Last.fm stats would resemble my friends’!

  • inkandpages

    Hi Topaz. Thanks for commenting on my post on meditation @ http://alkhemy.wordpress.com/. Congrats on coming to your senses and unplugging the social media distractions. FB is creepy enough anyway IMO b/c who knows what it does with all our info. Plus social media are like drinking, gambling, and drugs (I confess I’m addicted to Tumblr). I’ve been blogging since 2006 and I think I still prefer blogs, like yours, where you can really express yourself like a grownup, at length without worrying about friends du jour and peer pressure and keeping up with the Joneses.

    • Topaz

      So true! I had so many special plugins connected to Facebook that I really didn’t know what info was being sent out to where. Scary indeed. I have nothing personal against Facebook or Twitter (I use them to promote my blog!); they just weren’t for me anymore. As you mentioned, I prefer blogging — anonymously — so I ca really get my feeling out and, hopefully, someone can be encouraged or positively affected by my efforts at overcoming. Thanks for reading!

  • Laura P. Schulman

    Wow, that was a brave step to take. I’m glad you’re still on WP though. I find the Mental Health community here tremendously supportive and helpful, especially because I’m an Aspie and don’t get out much. What are you going to do with all that free-d up time you have, now that you’ve cut the social media umbilical cord?

    • Topaz

      Thank you for the encouragement! Ha ha. You brought up a good question! I am getting more involved with my local K of C chapter, spending more time with my sons, and writing more — not necessarily in that order!

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