“IS THERE LIFE after death?” This is one of life’s greatest mysteries. More recently, however, I’ve found myself asking, “Is there life after Facebook?” Can you survive in the modern world without having Facebook or some other form of social media? And if you decide to sever your ties with the online world, what will those who remain think of you?
Deleting Facebook is a difficult process. On the way out you are asked several times why you are leaving and if you’re 100 per cent sure you want to ditch. But those who have answered that question with a yes have found the experience liberating. No longer do you need to feign interest in the lives of people you haven’t seen in ages, or feel the need to check your phone every 10 seconds just in case someone has written on your wall or commented on your status.
I’ve asked friends who have recently taken hiatuses from social networking, and they said they would contemplate reactivation for one thing: the invitations. To be present and clickable on social media means to be invited to events and parties; by choosing to be absent, you risk being forgotten.
It’s not just friends’ birthdays and relationship status changes that social media deserters might miss out on, you also run the risk of not hearing about local and international events if you don’t have a Twitter handle.
Stranger still are the reactions of those who remain online after you’ve gone. Deleting your profile does not go unnoticed, seeing as you are essentially dropping off the face of the online earth. As soon as you click “deactivate,” there are friends immediately asking where you’ve gone and why you felt you had the right to drop their cyber friendship. In fact, one person I spoke to who had deleted his profile described how a Facebook group was set up in his honour asking whether he was dead or not because, obviously, life can’t go on without Facebook.
Or can it?
If you rise above the petty banalities of online networking, it is possible to live your life sans social media. The problem is that many of those who have bid social media adieu haven’t stuck with their decision and have eventually come crawling back. Maybe we can survive without Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest; we’re just not ready to admit it yet.