Quitting Facebook has long been on my mind. Looking back to 2007, when I joined, I had the noble intention of keeping in touch with friends and family, mostly abroad, as well as acquaintances. A decade has gone and this almost indispensable social media platform is not what it used to be. It has morphed into something I don’t quite recognize.
I had over 300 friends at one point, then less than 150 towards the end. No one ever contacted me to accuse me of unfriending or unfollowing their account. They either didn’t care or never noticed it to begin with. They were too busy scrolling down the never-ending feed.
It’s such a great place to keep in touch, whenever you’re actually in touch with somebody. I know for a fact that the handful of people I’m usually in touch with have texted me at least once in the past month or two.
I took a 6-month hiatus from Facebook last year and it was very refreshing. I have officially gone without it for 3 weeks now, and I can say I haven’t suffered from FOMO nor have I experienced any type of mental withdrawal from not accessing my account.
I do feel the need to disclose that I currently have a second Facebook account, this one with zero friends. I’ll occasionally use that one to learn more about blogging and all its technicalities in the groups I’m a part of. Although I do like the interaction, that space is quickly becoming cluttered and almost impossible to connect with anyone besides just surface contact. Introvert problems, maybe? Either way, I don’t see that account lasting long either.
So here are 10 reasons why I believe quitting Facebook is a good decision:
- It’s not my choice of entertainment. Yes, we do “keep in touch” with friends, but a lot of the posts are videos, memes and other things that I would consider pure entertainment, which is fine if you’re into it, but I’d rather read a good book.
- It’s a place to keep up with current events / news. Honestly, the news give me anxiety. There’s a lot of good articles I’d read, but I see news not only from the US, but also from Brazil and other places, and a good percentage is politics or straight up horrifying or sad. We intentionally don’t have cable so seeing such terrible headlines is the last thing we want to do.
- It collects personal data for marketers. That’s an obvious one, but the doubters can always Google it to find more about the annoying truth about Facebook making money by collecting the most amount of info you so willingly provide by completing your profile as thoroughly as possible.
- It enables a connectivity with family, friends and acquaintances, but in a passive and shallow way. This is a sad reality. A lot of us keep up with our friends by scrolling down and looking at their lives for a few seconds, hitting the Like button (or not), and scrolling down some more onto the next event. There is no real interaction most of the time, no depth, no conversations. I would get comments on memes I (purposedly) posted from family and friends that I haven’t talked to in a long time. No one asks “how are you?”, because there is no need to since everyone knows about your life; or at least whatever you post about it. This might sound so 90’s, but it’s still very strange if you stop to think about it.
- It’s a major cause of FOMO. This syndrome is evidently real, and it’s even more bizarre than the above. The ability to be in all time zones at virtually the same time is driving people mad. I don’t understand why there is a fear involved in not being in the know regarding events or information that do not pertain you. The only important event I do not want to miss out on is the Rapture, and that won’t make it to social media quick enough, I guarantee it.
- It’s not reality. Social media in general has created a lot of envious behavior over illusions. People desire lifestyles, things and relationships that don’t exist and it has caused some major discontentment for many people. Without realizing it, they become unhappy and ungrateful for all they have.
- It creates drama. I’ve never seen so many trolls emerge and passive-aggressive posts pop up. All kinds of drama break out in this type of environment. Thanks, but no, thanks!
- It breeds dissension. The 2016 election alone has caused so many people to unfollow and unfriend each other, I was in shock and disbelief. The fact that relationships are not close and strong enough on social media can be very conducive to arguments and disrespectful behavior.
- I never understood the point of sharing things on a feed. I’m almost convinced people mostly share stuff about their lives on Facebook, or any platform really, to have an audience. It’s like the news, and such broadcasters sure hope someone is watching. No one is exempt from this, I wasn’t, but then it almost became silly. I’d rather have a good conversation with somebody and share about my life then. It’s almost as if we want validation for whatever we are posting at the moment. It’s borderline egotism in a way. A lot of people do share to motivate, inspire and inform others, but it’s very easy to fall into that trap. The result can be frustration and discouragement for not having enough likes, comments or followers that you expect to have.
- It has its own set of standards by which people are praised or persecuted. If you post something worthy of being on social media, you get likes, but if you say something controversial or whatever the “social media etiquette” calls for, you can get frowns or even life threats and be hated around the globe.
I’ve learned that in this life people will come and go, friends will move, people will pass away, but what matters are the moments shared with them. It’s kinda crazy to let it all just be, but it’s perfectly fine in the end.
I can’t keep up with hundreds of people, nor do I want to. A handful keep in touch via text or messenger, and I’m glad for that. I am thankful for them being in my life through different seasons, but I think it’s time to let it be and focus on the people who are currently in my life outside of social media. This is and has been the natural cycle of life and I don’t want to miss out on that opportunity. I hope the same to you.