Happy introvert | Inquirer Opinion
Young Blood

Happy introvert

It’s been 12 months since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I set up my Facebook profile way back in 2008-2009, and my Twitter account in 2010. I enjoyed them so much that I became addicted. Coming home from school, I remember, I’d drop my books and other study materials on the floor and immediately log in to Facebook and wait for my friends to get online as well. And we’d chat for hours! There were times when I went to bed past midnight and got only three or four hours of sleep.

But all went well. The game apps, like Farmville and Tetris Battle, were such fun. I followed trending topics and viewed viral media. I “liked” thousands of pages and profiles—most of which were pure nonsense—just because these appeared in my newsfeed. Gradually I felt… fake.

I asked myself: What do these mean to me? Why do I send and accept friend requests, and follow people I barely know? My Facebook listed 500-plus contacts, and I followed 100 on Twitter. Out of all these, I noted that I regularly spoke to only around five individuals. Honestly, I felt plastic. You know—“friends in the Web, but strangers in real life.” Terrible.

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Some friends suggested that I “purge” the “friends” list, which meant “unfriending” and removing contacts. I spent a few months “unliking” pages and “unfriending profiles.” I even contemplated renewing an account just to start over.

I reviewed my profile and realized that I wasn’t as active as the others. My accounts seemed like a waste. Social networks sort of pressure you to expose your life in the form of media and status updates, to reveal your inner thoughts, under the notion that multiple “likes” or retweets will boost your self-esteem or whatever. It’s like a popularity contest—mean and cruel.

I just fell out of love, I guess. I understand and respect the value of privacy—something a supposed introvert should know. I like solitariness; you are free to focus on a goal without social distractions. (But, of course, I still sometimes have the desire to share my life with close friends.)

So I began to limit my posts until I became just a viewer, silently reading and silently liking. Mid-August of 2014, a few days after my family moved into a new house, I decided to cut myself off from social networks. Start a new life, I told myself.

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With one click of confirmation, my Facebook account was deactivated and permanently deleted after 14 days; Twitter was removed after 30.

Initially I felt bad. Some of my most memorable friendships were formed and strengthened in and through social networks. It was through Facebook chat that I had the chance to speak out and share mutual interests with friends. Unfortunately, social networking becomes a deceitful prison if one is not careful.

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Your mind locks itself in a virtual realm, surrounding you with interim entertainment that will soon bore you. True, I was greatly updated by all the available information, but as an individual, I couldn’t tear myself away from the lure of social networks. Being online turned me into a puppet, a mindless being who let time pass unproductively.

So I leaped far from its iron bars. But the idleness that ensued after I regained my freedom almost drove me mad! I had an itch I couldn’t scratch. I’m in a new house in a new neighborhood, and I had nothing to do.

With time on my hands, I resurrected past interests and renewed and improved skills. For example, I learned how to make and knead dough, and have perfected savory masterpieces like chicken empanada, doughnuts, scones and biscuits, and fruit pies.

What I truly appreciate now is that I’m nourishing my passion for writing. I’ve always claimed to love to write and that I wanted to write a novel—but I have nothing to show. Now I’m pushing myself to act on my goals, especially while I’m still in my youth. The soil won’t till itself, you know.

In the 12 months since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I have not felt like a fool. With each breath I remember that I have a life to live, and memories to form and to keep. I am not a virtual man.

I am … real.

Ferdinand Marquee Fuentes, 21, says he is an aspiring writer.

It’s been 12 months since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I set up my Facebook profile way back in 2008-2009, and my Twitter account in 2010. I enjoyed them so much that I became addicted. Coming home from school, I remember, I’d drop my books and other study materials on the floor and immediately log in to Facebook and wait for my friends to get online as well. And we’d chat for hours! There were times when I went to bed past midnight and got only three or four hours of sleep.

But all went well. The game apps, like Farmville and Tetris Battle, were such fun. I followed trending topics and viewed viral media. I “liked” thousands of pages and profiles—most of which were pure nonsense—just because these appeared in my newsfeed. Gradually I felt… fake.

I asked myself: What do these mean to me? Why do I send and accept friend requests, and follow people I barely know? My Facebook listed 500-plus contacts, and I followed 100 on Twitter. Out of all these, I noted that I regularly spoke to only around five individuals. Honestly, I felt plastic. You know—“friends in the Web, but strangers in real life.” Terrible.

Some friends suggested that I “purge” the “friends” list, which meant “unfriending” and removing contacts. I spent a few months “unliking” pages and “unfriending profiles.” I even contemplated renewing an account just to start over.

I reviewed my profile and realized that I wasn’t as active as the others. My accounts seemed like a waste. Social networks sort of pressure you to expose your life in the form of media and status updates, to reveal your inner thoughts, under the notion that multiple “likes” or retweets will boost your self-esteem or whatever. It’s like a popularity contest—mean and cruel.

I just fell out of love, I guess. I understand and respect the value of privacy—something a supposed introvert should know. I like solitariness; you are free to focus on a goal without social distractions. (But, of course, I still sometimes have the desire to share my life with close friends.)

So I began to limit my posts until I became just a viewer, silently reading and silently liking. Mid-August of 2014, a few days after my family moved into a new house, I decided to cut myself off from social networks. Start a new life, I told myself.

With one click of confirmation, my Facebook account was deactivated and permanently deleted after 14 days; Twitter was removed after 30.

Initially I felt bad. Some of my most memorable friendships were formed and strengthened in and through social networks. It was through Facebook chat that I had the chance to speak out and share mutual interests with friends. Unfortunately, social networking becomes a deceitful prison if one is not careful.

Your mind locks itself in a virtual realm, surrounding you with interim entertainment that will soon bore you. True, I was greatly updated by all the available information, but as an individual, I couldn’t tear myself away from the lure of social networks. Being online turned me into a puppet, a mindless being who let time pass unproductively.

So I leaped far from its iron bars. But the idleness that ensued after I regained my freedom almost drove me mad! I had an itch I couldn’t scratch. I’m in a new house in a new neighborhood, and I had nothing to do.

With time on my hands, I resurrected past interests and renewed and improved skills. For example, I learned how to make and knead dough, and have perfected savory masterpieces like chicken empanada, doughnuts, scones and biscuits, and fruit pies.

What I truly appreciate now is that I’m nourishing my passion for writing. I’ve always claimed to love to write and that I wanted to write a novel—but I have nothing to show. Now I’m pushing myself to act on my goals, especially while I’m still in my youth. The soil won’t till itself, you know.

In the 12 months since I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, I have not felt like a fool. With each breath I remember that I have a life to live, and memories to form and to keep. I am not a virtual man.

I am … real.

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Ferdinand Marquee Fuentes, 21, says he is an aspiring writer.

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