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Steven
I'm from the foothills of the North Georgia mountains. I was a woodworker for about 12 years. Well, up until I had the rug pulled out from under my feet, and I was laid off. I got back into photography in 2008 and decided to give that a try professionally, but haven't made any money so far because rednecks, white trash, and hicks are cheap. So, I'm working in a local grocery store where some days I hear and see the craziest stuff. I tend to complain a lot about things, but I'm too poor to afford a good therapist. So, I decided to make a blog and complain online to all of you instead. But I digress. I really just wanted to do the blog to share ideas and stories with the interwebz. =D
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Friday, December 10, 2010

Opting Out of Facebook

Recently, I've noticed that all I seem to do is hang out on Facebook. It's to the point that I think it's become a real problem for me. So, in order to take back my life via self discipline, I've decided to opt out of it for a while. To explain myself, I kind of went through the whole thought process as if I were interviewing myself. It's kind of kooky, but it works.

But doesn't that seem a little extreme? Couldn't you just not go there so much? 

Well, I thought a lot about it, and if I opt out, it's like there's no account there. People can't write on my wall, comment on my stuff, or send me messages. Knowing that they can't will keep me from constantly worrying about it. I won't be catching myself wasting time checking in on status updates and chatting when I should be doing other things.

But how will you contact people? How will they contact you?

It's just Facebook. Remember what life was like before it? People used real e-mail messages and phone calls then. Fortunately, that technology is probably still available to anyone that has a Facebook account. I still have a phone, and I still have an e-mail address. In fact, I'd rather be contacted that way anyway.

What about friends?

If they're really my friends, I suspect I'll be getting phone calls and e-mails from them. I'll be around. It's not like I'm going to Siberia for a year. 

What if someone wants to hire you for photos?

That's just one of the reasons I hated Facebook to begin with. I'd get friend requests from people I didn't know, only to find out that they were interested in doing a session - and then never getting around to doing it. They were just there taking up space. Facebook is kind of like a type of personal space - at least some people take it personally. They get mad when you don't accept their friend requests, or if you un-friend them. But let's say you want to hire me as your photographer, and you ask me over to your house for a consultation. When it's over, I leave. I don't hang around in the background, snooping through old photos of ex-boyfriends/girlfriends. I don't interrupt conversations with my opinions which you don't really want or need. I don't go around the house playing my music and watching my television shows. No, when it's time for me to go, I leave. Facebook is kind of like letting someone into a little bit of your life. How much depends on what you choose to reveal. I'm actually somewhat of a private person. So, I don't want people that I don't particularly know or have some sort of interest in, poking around in my business. Like I said before though, people tend to take it personally if someone won't add them or they don't keep them around long.

Why not do a page or group for your business then?

Because I've never liked the way Facebook handles that. It should almost be set up like a personal account. You should be able to send and receive messages and all. 

But Facebook is trying to make you more friendly by introducing you to people you don't know. Why not just add them and then put them into a group where they can't see everything that you post?

Because that takes up even more time to set up and maintain. I run with a pretty diverse group of people. I'd hate to post something that I didn't want someone or a group to see, and forget to check my settings on the post. Plus, if you hide people on your news feed, I guarantee you'll miss something, and then that person will ask you about it later on. That will force you into a truly awkward position. I know, I've been there on both sides of it.

I heard that you recently cut 300 people out of your Facebook life. Again the other day, you were talking about cutting out even more. Why did you do the first round, and why would you do even more?

I did. I cut it from 400+ friends to under 100. I had added a lot of people that I had met in one-time experiences. I had folks that I went to high school with. I even had some total strangers. On Jimmy Kimmel's National Un-Friend Day, I decided that a lot of people were just wasting space on my news feed. These were people that I had known either for a very brief period of time, or people that I once might have known at some point, but hadn't talked to in years. There rest were people that had over 1,000 friends and probably still don't miss me today. I mean, I haven't received any messages or attempts to reconnect. So it's not likely that they care or even notice. That would be my reason for doing even more cuts. I can pretty much tell who's paying attention and who isn't. It was pretty obvious when I broke my leg back in September. 

I keep going back to the business end. I still don't see how people are going to get a hold of you. What do you propose?

Well, I still have the website. I have a phone. I have e-mail. Lastly, there's always the old fashioned knock on the door. I hand out cards to everyone I shoot. I pass on cards in CD and print packaging. All anyone would have to do is call up someone they knew that had either shot with me, or that knew me. They'd likely have my card or a way to get a hold of me. 

I'm still looking at finding a way to conduct business on Facebook. That's part of the opt out plan. Once I get it all figured out, I'll be back.

Is that what you're opting out for? Couldn't you just do that and still keep the account open? 

I have other things that need to be dealt with too. Things that are far more important than Facebook right now. I'm not going to get into much detail, but my whole year depends on what I decide to do over the next month and a half or so. When the time is right, I'll come back around. If not, I'm fairly sure I know how to get in touch with those that I might need to. Lastly, I'll still likely hang on to Twitter. You can always follow me there and keep in touch. 

Is this fake interview over then?

Yes. Yes it is. =D

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