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    Posted May 14, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living without Facebook?

    Off the Grid, Yet I Still Exist


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     brolinw88 says that when people find out he is not on Facebook they at first are not sure what to make of it. 'They sort of stare, and almost act like you are trying to hide something,' he says. But he says his life without Facebook is eventful and he finds himself going on lots of social outings. 'My network is smaller, but stronger,' he says.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    I was on Facebook in 2005, while I was still in high school. Then, you had to have a .edu address to gain access to Facebook. I stayed on until about sophomore year of college. I made the decision to leave Facebook, for three reasons.

    The first, and main reason, was that I continuously received updates on my ex-girlfriend dating one of my friends. That doesn't foster a clean break. In life, friends come and go as you change. There is no valid reason for staying connected to people you don't actually see in "real life" anymore. So - to help me move on in my life, this was a catalyst in my decision to leave, but not enough to get off the fence.

    The second reason, and my parents would be grateful for this, was that I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time on the site which was at the detriment of my studies. I spent countless hours in class "researching" my classmates when I should have been attempting to understand my professor in my Econ 496 class. When I went to study, I found myself with an always readily accessible procrastination tool. It took some courage, and some long awaited maturity to recognize this, but Facebook was slowly consuming the time at college I most needed. Study Time.
    However, it would still take one final reason to get me off the fence.

    The third an final reason I left was the total lack of connections actually made on Facebook. Many people will tell you, "If it's not on Facebook, its not official" or "If its not of Facebook, it didn't happen." Guess what? I was at that party. I was at that beach. I dated that girl. All of that happened... In real-life. While, these events may not be chronicled on Facebook for eternity, they all happened. I met people. I asked them questions. I got to know them. Hell, if I liked them, I'd follow-up with them and hang out again. I've never researched a potential date, because then what is the point of the date? I all ready know everything we would talk about the first few dates. Do I miss out on a few invitations that are only on Facebook? Sure. But, if they are my real friends, they'd find away to get in-touch with me.

    I still get the, "I can't believe you aren't on Facebook," when I see people for the second time. And I always respond, "But I'm here now. Ask me whatever you want." However, they a lot of times I get blank stares because that basic interaction with people has nearly been lost. They wanted to research me before the second meeting, but couldn't and now have no idea how to do it.

    With all of personal reasons for leaving, I still see there is some finite value for being on Facebook. I understand as a parent of young children its smart for you to be on there to monitor them, or to keep in-touch with kids away at school. I can see how its neat you can look up people you went to elementary school with and what they are up to now. Hey, humans are voyeuristic, what can you do?

    All and all, I don't regret my decision to leave the grid. Everything I do in real life, with real people, happens with or without Facebook.
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