Why I am thinking of breaking up with the internet, by Stephanie Orefice.

Some people on Facebook have a ridiculous number of friends. Thousands. My friends list has been around 850 for a majority of 2009. I don’t see it as any sort of popularity contest, nor do I feel the need to collect random people’s friendship approval. Most of the people I’m friends with are either people I know, knew, or am getting to know. Sure, there are a handful of really random people who I am not always sure of who they are, but for the most part they are people whose status updates or pictures I’d feel comfortable commenting on.

All day long I’ve been thinking about this acquaintence I have. We have a few mutual friends, and I know I will be running into this person within the next few years. Today I went to leave them a wall comment expressing how they’ve been in my head, but when I searched for them I discovered.. that we are no longer friends. They unfriended me.

My heart dropped a little bit. I’ve been rather faithful in every so often dropping in on them or leaving them comments or even engaging in conversation with them, and their unfriending me has kind of hurt my feelings.

Almost instinctively, I visited the profile of a random internet Facebook friend I have, whom I came across on flickr. I sent this friend a message, and realized that my message would probably not be responded to.

So I began to think of the many ways Facebook takes small stabs at my ego – sometimes people like my status, and other times nobody even notices it. I can see when people write on someone else’s wall but not mine. I also love the event feature where you can see what kinds of people want to have nothing to do with you, and who can’t decide if they do or not. The worst is seeing the boy you like on Facebook chat, and then watching them sign off moments after you’ve said “hello” to them.

But then I realized that this is not something that is limited to Facebook; these kinds of small punches are thrown at us all around the internet. Here on wordpress, I frequently like to look at how many times my blogs are viewed. I see the things people search for to stumble across my blog, and my blog views go up while my comments stay about the same.

Twitter? Yeah, today I decided it sucks. Even with a couple hundred followers, my twitter updates only result in my followers decreasing.. rarely do I get @replies.

Even just plain e-mail. Remember the days of passing people notes or spending hours sneaking your cordless phone into your room to talk to your friends at all hours of the night? I miss that.

I miss real life conflict. I miss the joy in finding out the phone number of the boy I liked. I miss memorizing people’s numbers. I miss folding my notes in cool ways and writing “2: FROM:” on the front.

But right now I especially miss the ignorance of life away from the internet. If someone “unfriended” me in 7th grade, I would have never realized it. What would that have meant, any way? That my acquaintance would be continuing to not call me or hang out with me? Nothing in my life would have changed because I would not have been aware of it.

Tonight I realized that the internet makes me feel awful about myself.. and yet for some reason I find myself drawn to it. An abusive relationship, for sure. I’m looking forward to the summer, when I will be at camp investing in real, face-to-face relationships. I’m considering giving up the internet for social networking for the summer.. even e-mail. I gave up Facebook for Lent and am so frustrated that I’ve already slipped back into codependency.

Tonight I will have dreams about my lost acquaintance and wonder what in the world is so awful about me that my blog comments never increase, my twitter followers decrease, and my acquaintances delete me from their Facebook friends lists.

Goodnight, internet. You’re sleeping on the couch tonight.

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6 thoughts on “Why I am thinking of breaking up with the internet, by Stephanie Orefice.

  1. I really like this Stephanie. Like, a lot a lot. Thanks!
    and p.s. I think I’m definitely ready to be at camp for the summer too. for the same reason of getting away from the computer and having real face-to-face relationships!

  2. I thought about only commenting of Facebook to this post, but then I decided I could raise the your feedback (and hopefully your self-esteem) by commenting on both.

    well, I think it would be great for you to give up the internet. Even if you gave up all of your “Social Networking” tools and only used email. I agree that A LOT of people have emotional dependencies with their facebook/myspace/twitter/blog. Another word for dependency is addiction. And when we are addicted or dependent on anything that is not our wonderful Savior, it is a willful idol that we place in our life. I would encourage you to give these things up, not so I don’t have to ‘un-friend’ you on facebook (haha just kidding), but so you can encourage the people around you to have face-to-face conversations with you instead of a string of meaningless acronym that somehow constitute as grammar and a conversation on the internet.

    I quit my myspace because I didn’t like that kind of interaction. I still have a facebook so I could share photos with the masses.

    Be a man, do the right thing.

  3. WoW! that was really touching Stephanie. Thats kewl that you are going to give up on the internet and hopefully do more things in the world that will make you more happy! The internet is just another lazy thing that people do these days anyways… Enjoy LIFE! haha

  4. I can certainly understand your points, they are really great ones. I have to though point out some of the really positive attributes to the internet and “social networking”. I know that for me, especially having coached so many kids over the years, without the internet, keeping in touch with even half of them would be impossible. Now, with the internet, even if I never comment on their status, I can have a decent idea of what they are doing with their lives. I can not count the number of times I have read what a friend of mine or a former player of mine has posted as there status and have passed on that information to other interested parties. Sometimes things we post as statuses, or twitters or whatever may seem to us like they mean nothing to someone else because they dont comment on what we say, and we never hear any direct feed back, but really, that person has read it, talked to family and friends about it and it really has made an impact and made that person feel like they are still involved, even if in some small way in our lives, which, is important.

    Anyways.. Thats just my couple of cents worth. I can see both the good and bad of the internet, but feel like for me, the positive aspects outweigh the negatives.

  5. this is excellent thank you for writing it, but isn’t it so hard to leave the internet alone even if it hurts.

    Good Luck with your summer camp enjoy 🙂

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