Facebook, You’ve Been Downsized…

Posted by on Feb 8, 2011 in Friends, Life, Relationships | 5 Comments

It had been a long time coming. My on-again, off-again obsession with the unsolicited trivialities of 930-or-so “friends” finally got the best of me Sunday night.

Delete? Click. Delete? Click. Times about a hundred twenty. Click click click!

Those clicks might as well have been tears welling up in the imaginary face of Mark Zuckerberg. You see, I was doing some intensive pruning to my Facebook “friends.” I was downsizing my social media footprint, taking out the virtual trash, cleaning house (which, to draw the right parallel, I’ve been doing extensively to my own home the past few weeks).

And I’m not done yet.

You see, it used to be that, between my laptop, desktop, iPhone and whatever other device through which I could get my social media fix, I’d be the monkey in the cage, hitting the bar to get his treat. I’d post status updates, and wait for comments, likes, validations of what mostly amounted to self-esteem boosters. Although I have absolutely no experience with illicit drugs, I was a junkie in every sense of the word. Hanging on for that random “like,” seeing who it was, and maybe even liking their like. That was the high, and five minutes without response was the crash.

What I came to realize is that, for most of my life in Jacksonville, I’ve cast a wide net. A wide net of friends, acquaintances, business types, people who just want me on a contact list to pitch something. And in general, that’s a good thing. I like to network, meet diverse people and share my experiences and learn from others … even if they are trying to sell me life insurance. It makes you a more well-rounded person … as long as you have perspective as to why you do it. Until a day or two ago, I did not, and I did not know what it was costing me.

The opportunity cost of that broadcasting strategy, though, was building fundamentally strong, lifelong offline relationships with people who build you up … and you just plain enjoy being with them, and not necessarily “liking” them either (in a Facebook sense only, of course). I have tried to do just that — build traction, momentum, whatever you call it — but then another group of “friends” were to be netted at a random social event, and I had to attend to them and leave the others behind. It was the most vicious of cycles, a rat race with no exit ramps or speed limits.

That’s not to say I don’t enjoy such relationships. I do, and I have been blessed with many amazing people who love me and care about me in the real world. Facebook was just a smorgasboard of random pickings, but I wasn’t picking the right foods to continue to provide proper nutrition. Those foods were … and have always been … offline. Phone calls, letters, random coffees, Saturday nights around the dinner table, hanging out and passing out while watching SNL. And that’s the feeding trough where I need to spend more time.

Facebook still has a role in my world, don’t be mistaken. It’s important to maintain all levels of relationships and understand that ebb and flow. I get that. But I think trading in a kilo of online “friends” for a tablespoon of real, honest-to-God relationships is a worthy barter. I want to begin that process anew, and soon.

It’s time for that … for me. As I enter my 36th year of life this morning, I won’t be posting Facebook status updates as often, and the photos I post will be more selective and mindful of others’ privacy, an area where I have fallen down embarrassingly of late. Don’t be shocked or saddened. Call me. E-mail me. Write a freakin’ letter to me and put a stamp on the envelope, then drop it in one of those hollow blue cylinders. And I’ll do the same. I’m still here.

Heck — you can even still “like” me or poke me on Facebook, and I’ll probably retaliate. I have my pride, after all.




  1. Lynn Thompson
    February 9, 2011

    A good example to follow. Although I must admit a recent obsession with boosting my “Klout” score…

  2. Elizabeth Flora Ross
    February 9, 2011

    Amen, my friend! Amen!

    LOVE the look, too!

  3. Raquel
    February 10, 2011

    It’s not that fb won’t continue to be part of your life — it will just move to its proper place. Congratulations on getting to the point where no amount of EIG (electronic instant gratification) can replace a warm, human touch.

    • Jay Magee
      February 10, 2011

      Thanks, Raquel (and Elizabeth and Lynn) … It’s time to put Facebook (and social media in general) in its proper position in my life. For a while it was a little lopsided, but I’m quickly realizing that the offline life is where the fun really is. 🙂 Thanks to you all for being my first comments!

  4. Kevin Ross
    February 11, 2011

    Love the new and improved .com site. I like your 3 Florida geographic eras represented by a single picture at the top.
    The ironic thing is that I got on to Facebook mostly because I wanted to be able to see the pics that you used to post on your site. Plus, in late ’08 I knew my offline life was about to undergo radical changes with the imminent birth of Katie. If not for social media I think Elizabeth would have gone insane by now. And to think I had to convince her get on Facebook…