(Photo: Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images)
By Kendra Benner, USA TODAY College contributor
- Junior psychology major at DePaul University deleted her page in 2012 because it had become a distraction
- Student discovered that "some of the information posted on Facebook is really valuable"
- "You can be technologically savvy without being social-networking savvy"
Kristina Campagna, a junior psychology major at DePaul University, deleted her Facebook page in January 2012. She was one of the last people in her high school to get a Facebook account, but she deleted it two years later because it became so distracting.
Kristina shares the things she's learned after ditching her account - from what it's like to be out of the loop, the importance of remembering birthdays and the best way to ease off of social networking.
1. It's possible to go without it.
"I like that I'm not dependent on Facebook. Because I'm not a part of any social networking sites, it makes me feel out of touch with my generation - this is what they do, and I don't do that. But all of my friends have Facebook, and they'll show me what's going on."
2. Some of the information posted on Facebook is really valuable.
"With people making all these posts on Facebook, some are ridiculous, but some people are actually posting about news or things that are going on in the media. That's one of the things that I miss. Information is traveling so quickly, and I feel like with some conversations I'm unable to enter them because I haven't seen the video or read the article that everyone's talking about."
3. Social media made me feel like I could concentrate on multiple things at once.
"I think our culture is cultivating this society of punctuated consciousness where it's so easy for us to go from this thing to this thing and not really focus on one article or one picture. We can just jump, jump, jump. It's good to be able to pay attention to multiple things, but I don't think you really can if you're constantly jumping."
4. Facebook sometimes taints a person's sense of mystery.
"I don't like the idea that I can meet someone in class, and they can look me up on Facebook, even if my profile is on private. If I'm on a social network site and I start to Facebook creep - and I think everyone does that - I know it's a flaw in my character that I will look at people's sites and say, 'Look at this picture.'"
5. You can be technologically savvy without being social-networking savvy.
"I have an app on my phone called Flipboard that I check for news stories to keep up with what's going on, if I choose to. As far as events go, I use Google Calendar. I have a Samsung Galaxy, so I use those apps. All of that I'm in touch with. I think I'm technologically where I should be, but I just don't use social networking."
6. Social media had given me an artificial sense of connection.
"If you have whatever amount of Facebook friends, you feel like those people care about you and you actually have this community, but that's not always the case. I definitely value quality friendships over quantity, so it was kind of a superficial sense of connection."
7. Facebook posts sometimes hurt my friends' relationships.
"I feel as though Facebook can cause some confusion or frustration with personal relationships. Especially with my friends, I was seeing a lot of people Facebook-creeping on their boyfriends' friends who were girls - 'He posted this,' and, 'She posted that on his page.' It was a manifestation of jealousy or curiosity beyond what's healthy. There's just no privacy."
8. Birthdays are more special.
: "My birthday is coming up, and a bunch of my friends keep texting me, 'Did I miss your birthday? I don't have the luxury of checking Facebook like I do with everyone else!' When I was on Facebook I had all of these people saying 'Happy birthday' to me, but it was insignificant because they wouldn't have said that otherwise. I guess it shows you who cares enough to pay attention to those things versus public information."
9. Limiting your Facebook use little by little is better than trying to quit entirely.
"For someone using Facebook all day through the day, I don't think it's healthy to stop using it cold turkey because I think that would make them dependent on some other form of technology. I don't think it's so much the stimulation of Facebook. I think it's about the need to be on the computer or some form of technology."
Kendra Benner is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill studying journalism and dramatic art.