Saturday, February 26, 2011

Facebook isolation

I have spent a little time winnowing my "friends" each day since my last FB post. I had 948 contacts when I started, now I am under 200. And let me tell you, it doesn't feel good.

The vast majority of the people I have defriended never had any other connections to me than playing the same game on FB as I. I first added friends for the Hatchlings app. For those not familiar with it, it's a game where you get a basket and in it, at regular intervals, an egg will pop up. One can click on it and thus collect it. Then the egg will hatch and you get a virtual pet. You can only see friends' baskets, the more friends, more opportunities to actually find an egg. I got hooked on it pretty early, before you could buy rare eggs for cash and such. I spent hours with trying to find new places and ways to find eggs. I bookmarked every basket so I could open them all in one click in separate browser tabs. It took an eternity to load. But there was a list of the top players, and although I could never even get close to the all-round top ten, I was once number one of Hungary, and that was enough for me. I started checking the baskets less frequently.
Then the game changed, rare eggs with more lovely designs turned up, I remember a Siamese cat was my favourite. Then there were seasonal eggs, for Halloween and the 12 days of Christmas rhyme. And then feeding the pets was introduced, you had to keep looking for eggs to keep the pets from starving, lest they run away. I remember collecting zodiac eggs, one for each of the western zodiac, five per Chinese zodiac, as they had a version of each element. And I fed them. And my baby sat on my lap and made meowing sounds for the kitty hatchlings and I had to take care of those for my baby, or so I felt.
Then one day I was away from the internet for some time and the hatchlings all ran away. I should have paid cash to get them back. Even if I could have afforded it, I would have thought it a sinful waste of resource. So I let it go completely.
Then I started FarmTown, and it was nice, and very addictive. A few people invited me to Farmville, but I thought nay, one virtual farm is enough. And it was, for a while. But a bit later I joined. And I added more and more people so they can send me lovely things. So I can build things on my farm. So I can collect things on my farm. So I can expand my farm. So I can put more things on the extra land.
So many games. FashionWars, CaféWorld, YoVille, SororityLife, Restaurant City, MaffiaWars, CastleAge... and then there were those early silly apps, you could send pictures of teddy bears, flowers, chocolate, you name it, to anybody and everybody. And some of us actually collected that stuff. How about 101 treasures? It even has a daily version. I played that too. Like my life depended on it. Had some rare collectives, puzzles completed. I deleted that app too, it no longer has a hold of me.
After a while I started adding people merely because we had so many shared friends. Scary to think that by the end I kept seeing people I never heard of and had over 100 common friends with them. Still, it wasn't easy to defriend them. Call me silly, but I didn't wanna hurt their feelings. I looked at their profile pictures and thought "these are nice people". So I started deleting all those I didn't know and had a pet photo or a cartoon/movie character for a profile. I almost halved my contacts. Then I started removing the people whose name didn't ring a bell at all. Surely, if you send ingredients to someone daily, you will learn their names even if you never had any idea who they were. Some of these nice people have been on my friends list for years. I feel like I am betraying them. They have witnessed an era of my life. Well, a slice of my online shared life. Still. I cannot kick them to the curb in one smooth move and never think about it again. It's like I'm divorcing again. Divorcing the old me.
In other news, I have unsubscribed of about 3/4 of my yahoo mailing groups. Some had no traffic at all, others had so much traffic I couldn't keep up. Some had a theme I since lost interest in. I still have some with no traffic, but wanna remain a member to access the archives. They remind me of who I once was, before I became all cold and jaded, and I very much wish to remember that girl. If for nothing else, to introduce her to my daughter. She has to know that there was a time mommy could smile without forcing herself to it.


Amanda said...

Hi flossmum! I totally understand. I have over seventeen hundred friends right now on facebook. For some reason this year has found a new me. I rarely play any of the games on there. They no longer hold my attention. I am usually either knitting or cross stitching, so my hands are to busy to point, click, and drag things around on the games for hours like I used to. Farmville, frontierville, cityville, cafe world, baking life, ..... used to rule my life. I was always trying to get back in time to harvest my crops before they withered or keep my food from burning. Right now I will still send thing occasionally that friends request, but only am currently playing one game. It is puzzled hearts, which is new to me, so can keep my interest for a few minutes at a time. I am tempted to weed out my friends and try to control the anarchy that has become my facebook life. It does feel like a betrayal of sorts, but when you get hundreds of requests a day from people you don't know, and probably never will, it is probably time to do something about it. Anyway, I didn't mean to write a commment longer than your post, so I will stop yammering on now. I hope you can smile freely soon and never have to ever force it with your child.

Carolyn NC said...

Sounds like you're trying to simplify and introduce some balance in your life. Kudos!

Wolfie said...

Hi there, I just had to comment to say that I agree completely...I used to spend HOURS playing Farmville and Fishville, and even Zoo World. I had a very slow computer, so everything took longer than necessary, and I even created two more identities so I could get gifts from myself...In October I got fed up with everything as I have so many crafty things I want to do and because of Facebook games I hardly did anything, so I quit everything...but I had to sell my animals and buildings and trees and everything, as I would not have been able to ignore the animals...I know, I'm I have yet to dismiss friends, but I think I am gonna take a page from your book, and remove some friends I don't know. Sounds good to me:) Good on you!!! (by the way, I am in CCS with you) X Ylva