Yup, I deleted my Facebook account. Part of the reason was the ever-growing privacy issues (constantly having to re-lock down my account is not something I find desireable in social networking) as well as the constant influx of ads. Also, I was getting a little bit too caught up in the world of Facebook, so I just said goodbye. It’s okay though, I’m still friends in real life with most of those people, I just won’t know what their plans are for the day or when they get stuck in traffic or how smashed they got the night before. No biggie. Watching how I was using Facebook really wasn’t lining up with the person that I’d like to see myself become, or my values in general.
But also, I just didn’t like Facebook! The user interface sucks. There is zero options for customization like there is with Myspace (though since I’m not in middle school or in a band, I have little use for Myspace) and every change that Facebook makes to their program, it seems to get worse and worse. So why put up with it? I don’t feel like I have to settle for an inferior product (even as I type this using Windows….) just because everyone else is using it, or it’s the most popular thing to do. If Facebook had been a better program/site, maybe I would have stuck with it, but I feel like it really sucks. I’m excited about the news I’m hearing regarding the Diaspora project, and am hoping that will provide a new alternative to Facebook.
As consumers, we almost always have a choice about where our money gets spent, or what ads we click on, or what businesses we choose to support. One such choice I made some time ago was to put my money in a local credit union. Personally, I have no interest in making someone else wealthy off of my money. Credit Unions are member-owned cooperatives, and are non-profit entities. Any fees or interest you pay go right back into the CU and back into your pocket in the form of lower rates, and zero ATM fees. Plus, it’s all local, and there are no requirements to join one (though this varies by state, and there are some like the Navy Federal CU that are only open to DoD employees and their immediate families) and no one is going to try to squeeze every nickel and dime they can out of you. All in all, banking there lines up with my values, and I’m glad I made the choice.
No matter the arena, we have choices to make. Even given all of our conditioning and environmental and genetic factors, the truth remains that we are free to choose. I chose the Buddhist path not because it was popular or trendy, but because I took the time to examine my life and the choices I was making, and found something in the words of the Buddha that resonated deep within me. I am not bound to the Buddhist path, I walk it freely of my own volition. I made this choice because it was right for me.
Likewise with my recent decision to embrace a vegetarian diet full-time. I took a look at my actions and realized that the choices I was making didn’t line up with the lifestyle I wanted to live. But it really took some serious thought, effort and planning to make it happen (not to mention will power). Looking back on that process, I’m wondering how many of my actions are going un-investigated? I mean, it took me like 3-4 months to prepare and really come to terms with cutting meat out of my diet (silly when you look at it that way). It took me weeks to get up the courage to delete my Facebook account, and months to examine what I was doing there. There are a plethora of actions to be mindful of and so much of what I go about doing seems…automated. I’m starting to wonder if I’m consciously choosing anymore, or if I’m just on auto-pilot? Another lemming over the cliff? How much of our lives go completely unexamined?