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