>Disconnecting from the social network / looking forward to social networking

>I deactivated my Facebook account today. Deactivation isn’t permanent — my profile and all its contents are still there, somewhere, but those of you who are my FB friends can’t see it. In fact, a lot of you now probably seem to be talking to a ghost in many of your threads.

I plan to return to FB Jan. 1 or thereabouts. I just got a little freaked out about how little time was left in the first half of my sabbatical and how much time FB was taking, despite all my leechblocking. See, the thing is, I have an iPhone, and on that phone is a Facebook app, and there’s no Leechblock for the iPhone, alas. And I have no self-control. I’ve been tossing around this idea for awhile now, but last night, as I was curled up on the couch with a book, a glass of wine, and Pippi, while Bullock was at a job candidate’s dinner, I realized how nice it was to slooooow doooooown and read for a good long time. And since I was reading a book set in Los Angeles, with many scenes in a neighborhood I knew intimately, I realized that there were other ways of being connected to the world than through Mark Zuckerberg’s way of doing it. Even though what I was reading wasn’t high art (it was detective fiction — though its author’s work has been promoted from the “mystery” section to the “literature” section of bookstores near you!), it felt more like a Forster or Woolf way of being connected — like the “only connect!” motif of Howards End or the thin thread of Mrs. Dalloway. Both are vulnerable, fragile, abstract connections, of course, but that’s what makes nurturing them and recognizing them important. It’s not that FB prevented me recognizing these threads or of slowing down, but the moment made me realize that I could leave FB for a little while and not feel outcast or at sea or unmoored from the world or from my past. (I haven’t thought this all the way out–it’s really just a feeling, a hunch now–so my writing about it is a little flabby and cliche-ridden. For a blogger, I’m strangely not very good at writing about our socially networked world!)

Of course, as some of you know, the irony of all this is that I took a photo of that moment with the dog and the wine and the book (and fuzzy slippers!) with my iPhone and posted it to Facebook! Of course, I think there’s something fitting that that was my last post before my hiatus. And it is just a hiatus, I promise (especially to Sisyphus, who is looking forward to beating me in our currently suspended game of Scrabble). In the meantime, most of you know where to find me at my real life, university e-mail address, and if not, there’s my Dr. Virago g-mail address (see sidebar).

Meanwhile, I’m planning to go to MLA to do some old skool social networking, the face to face kind. Virgo Sis lives on the east side of the Cahuenga Pass, so I’m going to stay with her (and arrive and leave a few days before and after the conference) and take the Red Line subway from Universal City into downtown. I’ll be going to all the medieval panels and to any meet-ups y’all want to plan (just let me know!), and presumably to my grad school’s party, if I can find out when and where it is (it’s often a big secret). I haven’t looked at the program yet, so there’s probably other stuff (besides the book exhibit of course!) that I’ll want to go to. And I promise I’ll start up Facebook again before that for easy contact. 🙂

And one other thing: I’m kind of hoping that less Facebook will mean more blogging. We’ll see if I’m right.

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5 thoughts on “>Disconnecting from the social network / looking forward to social networking

  1. >You'll be missed, but I understand your motivations completely. And if the uptick in blogging does indeed occur, well, that's a fair trade.See you (virtually, at least) in 2011.

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