I recently conducted my own small behavioral science experiment. I quit Facebook. Now I’m not just talking about not visiting – I’m talking deletion. Not as far as committing “online suicide” via the folks at SuicideMachine.org – but i did just erase myself. There were a number of reasons. But mostly I wanted to see what would happen.
The Results List:
10 emails from people telling me they went to find me on FB and then asking me “where i went”?
5 emails from friends asking me “are you okay?”
i missed 4 birthdays of people very close to me – meaning I was a day late remembering – that’s missed.
I didn’t get to see my friend’s vacation photos while he was traveling over the holidays.
Both of my brothers picked up the phone and CALLED ME. TWICE.
I spent 3 hours at a time on the phone with a few different friends catching up.
I finished 2 books.
I cleaned the house, got more laundry done and in general made more progress “around the house”.
I was aware of less news – not that I missed Haiti or anything – but i didn’t know about it IMMEDIATELY. Despite having NY Times alert on my iphone.
I missed all the esoteric links that a few friends post regularly – the “fun links” that are the bizarre and interesting articles that suck you in to websites you haven’t heard of.
I looked at my email less often purely because I was looking at the Iphone less often due to not facebooking continuously.
This said – I paid more attention to my surroundings but was frustrated by the thought of not being able to share them. I missed being able to post photos to communicate what i was seeing.
I noticed that my brain now “thinks” in “status updates” language – stop sort of like I constantly have a western union telegram in my head – stop.
I missed SCRABBLE! BUT – I will tell you this – my dog plays scrabble online. With MY scrabble friends – how dare he. (this was the absolute one thing i couldn’t give up!)
I went on AIM more – but i felt like i was cheating whenever i logged on.
I blogged on my own website!
I’m still a bit skeptical of foursquare. Online USED to be a mystery to people…there was something interesting about being a part of the “small community” that got it….now that it’s big and EVERYONE “gets it”….I’m not so sure.
Maybe I have more in common with my 12 year old niece than I think – she doesn’t want me to see everything on her profile and I’m not allowed to make comments. Aunt Erin is just not “cool enough” i guess!
I’m back but i do think i’ll be limiting my time. Not sure if I will reinstall the facebook app for iphone just yet….