Why I Quit Facebook (And Will Probably Join All Over Again)

Facebook: It’s basically the bane of my existence. My nemesis. My El Guapo, if you will.

UNSPLASH2

Let me start at the beginning. Facebook used to be fun for me– a breezy way to keep up with my friends on a day-to-day basis. Slowly, it changed. More ads. Less organic engagement. And more and more opinions/complaining than I could take– so much that I was routinely having to take time to block people. And I’d feel myself being thrown into a place where I was starting to complain. Here’s the nail in the coffin: more takeover of my headspace.

The older I get, the more protective I am of my free time and the way I actively utilize it. I am, by nature, a sensitive person, and so when someone posted something that would upset me I was faced with a decision:ย  write a comment with my differing opinion (which would likely be either attacked because when people complain very rarely are they wanting anything but to hear their own voice), or ignore (which was a joke because I would hold their thought in my head, rolling over how best to solve/contest their issue).

In a nutshell: it has taken me a long time to reckon with life as a sensitive person, and I’m okay with it. Pushing a thought instantly out of my head isn’t my M.O., and I don’t necessarily want it to be. I am happy to be someone who thinks and feels in big ways. It’s made me the empathic person I am right this minute; it gives both me and my art a pointed direction. I’ve learned to navigate so that I am preserved and positive on most fronts.

Facebook was different though. I was beginning to feel consumed and I resented the fact that I had become so dependent on it for communication.ย  What happened to good ol’ email? Or snail mail, really? That’s the true shit I really thrive on.

I left Facebook. I deleted the app off from my cell phone. I deactiviated my account, and, a week later, totally deleted it.

I swear, it was like my whole body breathed a sigh of relief.

When I mentioned to people that I no longer had a Facebook, they expressed either genuine shock (“how will I know what’s going on with you?”) or envy (turns out I’m not the only one that has the brainspace issue). I’d love for us to all quit together, quickly penciling in coffee dates, record listening parties, and heart to hearts to replace our rapid-fire Facebook messaging.

If you are feeling stifled or overburdened from being plugged in, I can’t recommend leaving Facebook enough. I found myself with so much more time. I no longer had to plan content for that particular platform, no longer had to debate weather or not I should pay for advertising or for more people to look at my posts. I no longer felt like I was feeding into Facebook’s machine of feeds, updates, and likes.

Here’s what I did instead: re-examined my purpose as an artist, came up with a new business plan, organized my mailing list, drew four portraits, spent time face to face with friends, watched movies with my husband, walked around Pasadena like crazy, and went to the gym.

I didn’t wonder what my friends were doing online once, because I knew that if they wanted me, I was a phone call or an email away.

UNSPLASH3

Deleting my Facebook was liberating, but not without it’s challenges.

Super annoying challenges.

Facebook isn’t just an app or a website. It’s managed to make itself integral to lots of other sites (“Sign in using Facebook” ain’t no joke) that you might want to use. Or really, that I want to use. I’m also seeing more and more businesses use Facebook as the platform used to facilitate their own products (The Blogcademy just released their at home learning series, which takes place…guess… on Facebook!). Even zine fests I’d like to be a part of only allow access to their applications through the monolith.

How independent are we? How much in charge of our own businesses and destinies are we if we are relying on places like Facebook? Is there any other equivalent option? Are we making strategic choices, or are we just going for the easy, seemingly “free” option?

And, ugh– the worst question–how long will I be able to hold out not having a Facebook, until I feel like I have to cave and create one in order to function with everyone else? The irony of this isn’t lost on me; the idea of needing technology to communicate and deal with my very human work seems like a cruel joke.

The truth is that people are more likely to add you on Facebook after meeting you than to go to your domain. They add you after meeting you and you follow each other and it’s easy. If our projects and blog posts don’t go through our Facebook feeds, maybe it’ll get through our Instagram feed (ahem, which is owned by Facebook). If it doesn’t land there, then Twitter is your last hope.

I considered resurrecting my Facebook page just for business, and getting rid of my fan page entirely. But that still doesn’t give my brain the space it needs. In all reality, when I’m ready, I’ll likely create a brand new account and use it solely for those annoying “challenges”.

The 15 year old in me is slightly disappointed– I’ll be rejoining the system, instead of standing away from it. The thirtysomething in me counters, “Don’t give a fuck– just take advantage of the tools in front of you and use it your way.” My way might be eye-roll inducing, but it also might give me comfort, and I don’t balk at that.

How do you deal with Facebook? Is it just a part of your day you don’t think about or consider? Have you ended up quitting and why? Did you find that giving up on Facebook affected your life and business, and, if it did, how did you contend with that?

 

 

6 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I want to abandon ship. I’m torn, though, with the business aspect.
    I’ve hidden most people from my feed. I can’t deal with the complaining, negativity, posts fishing for sympathy, political crap or maimed animals. Last time I deleted/blocked people, I had over a year of backlash and harassment. From people I thought I knew well. I guess it does make it easier to weed the bad people out, as they usually over share any negativity that lies inside.
    It always feels like we are expected to share every facet of our lives on there. I’m sure you know which ones I choose not to share, and more than often I am met with criticism because I refrain from sharing those things.
    Friends no longer text or call, they send me a message on Facebook, and then get mad because it takes me days to reply when they need an instant answer.
    I have a friend in France from my SF days, we write actual letters. I enjoy that!
    I’m over being expected to utilize technology and social media to the fullest.

  2. I have SO many thoughts on this.

    1) I hate Facebook for several reasons. But I also love it for several reasons. As with most things, it’s neither all good nor all bad, though it’s easier to focus on the bad parts.

    2) Facebook is very good for two things: staying in better touch with people I love who live far away (cousins, parents, some kindred spirit friends), and for helping people like me (who are pretty isolated and restricted from going out in the world due to ill health) not be as completely horribly socially isolated. Because one of my health issues involves my throat, I can’t even talk on the phone a lot anymore, so the internet is a huge lifeline.

    3) The things Facebook is good for are COMPLETELY OBLITERATED at times by the bad things about Facebook – the negative crap, the ads, the poor balance of noise to signal, etc. etc. etc.

    4) I have experimented with and discovered great ways to mitigate the bad and get the most out of the good. It involves a) De-friending like a mad woman and b) making much use of the “lists” feature. I could and probably will write a whole blog post on this topic. It applies to Twitter too (which I can barely bring myself to look at these days, I think I feel about Twitter how you feel about Facebook).

    5) I LOVE other forms of more “deep” communication, like writing letters, or even like writing blog posts – I really wish more people would engage on my blog (rather than in comments on a FB post where I share that I wrote a blog post), but I know that at least people are out there reading it. Up with blogs, Instagram, and letter writing, yessss!!! But I guess cause it’s more effort, tons of people just aren’t into writing letters, or even reading my blog posts. Whether this means I should fall out of touch with them is another question.

    6) No, and I repeat, NO service or other website should only offer “Social Login” (using your FB, Twitter, Gmail, etc.) as an option. I was sooooo bummed to see the Blogacademy doing that. :( Not only is it not cool to force people to compromise their security/privacy, but it is also super not cool to require someone to be a member of some other website to use their service/site. I never use these social logins, and generally boycott anything that requires them. Trust me, I’m also super conflicted here about the Blogacademy one.

    7) One last thing – I feel like it’s overkill to plan specific content for something like Facebook. Or Twitter. I totally get why it’s a thing that some people choose to do, and how it’s getting harder and harder to do free marketing through social media. But for me, it takes the pleasure and spontaneity out of connecting with people online, and makes it a chore.

    And… ok, I think I’m done now. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately though, it’s good to hash it out!

  3. I noticed you’d left facebook right away. if it we’rent for the networking aspect i’d probably do it too. oddly I haven’t promod my book thing on there yet

  4. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it
    helped me out much. I hope to give something back and help
    others like you helped me.

  5. Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you penning this post
    and the rest of the site is extremely good.

  6. Something made me think of you today and I realized you weren’t on FB anymore. Good for you! I’ve deleted mine several times but living in the boonies it’s my main contact with quite a few people. Hugs to you!! :)

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