According to the Associated Press and NBC News, doctors are warning parents about something called "Facebook depression" in teens. The articles discusses how teens who are are already suffering from low self-esteem and depression are most at risk of the social media-induced disease.
I'm, uh, gonna go out on a limb here, though, and suggest that teens aren't the only people suffering from Facebook depression. I've heard of marriages breaking up over Facebook addictions, I've listened to acquaintances talk about what's on everyone else's Facebook pages (creepy) and blinked when they acted surprised that I wasn't cyber stalking them (creepier). And, we've all witnessed the bastardizing of the word "friend" as people collect virtual ones like points in some unwinnable massive multi-player online game. That's not even getting into all of the privacy and security concerns we ignore, or the people who spazz out over imaginary cows for their imaginary farms.
Personally, I hate Facebook ... yet I still have a page and manage a couple others. So, perhaps I have a different type of Facebook depression — I'm-tangled-up-in-this-Web-I-don't-want-to-be-in depression. For me, Facebook has become like work in many ways. In others, it's a guilt factory. There's the chick from third grade that keeps trying to friend me. (Lady! I haven't seen or heard from you since we were eight years old. Move on.) There's my distant family, who sometimes passively aggressively report back to my immediate family — who's not on social media — when they don't agree with something I post. (Hey, distant family! Haven't seen you since I was twelve. Shut it.)
Even as I'm writing this post, I'm going back and forth to Facebook looking for the "delete account" button. But when I bring it up, people act like I'm abandoning them. I mean, really? Remember before Facebook when we actually hung out with each other or talked on the phone or sent long, rambling e-mails venting our troubles?
I do. I miss those types of real friendship experiences with my actual friends.
So, I did it. In the midst of writing this post, I deactivated my Facebook account — which isn't the same as deleting it (I can log back in if I change my mind). I sent a few e-mails alerting people in the groups I manage that someone else will have to take over, and, besides feeling immediately lighter and better, that's it for Facebook for me. (I don't imagine that I'll change my mind.)
When the site asked my why I was leaving, I clicked "other" and responded: "Because I'm just not that into you."