Yesterday, after a week of notifying friends, backing up photos, and resetting sign-in preferences on myriad apps, I clicked the big blue “delete” button on my Facebook profile. There are so many stories like this out there, but this one is mine.
Like many bloggers and columnists who have also quit Facebook, I didn’t have a bad experience with the service. I’m not angry, offended, or upset with anyone on my newsfeed. If I had to sum up my reasons in one line it would be: I want to stop wasting time on things that don’t make me a happier, stronger or better person. But, this is a blog post, so I’m not going to leave you with one line.
My reasons for dumping Facebook include:
1. It’s the biggest time-suck out there. I compulsively checked Facebook all the time. Sure, a lot of people can just check their newsfeed while they’re standing in line or during work breaks, when they normally wouldn’t be doing anything else, and it’s just fine, but that wasn’t the case for me. I felt incomplete unless I checked. A lot. Does this sound a little excessive? That’s probably because:
2. I actually had a Facebook problem. I compulsively pulled my phone out during conversations with people, or while eating dinner, or even while playing with my daughter, which is altogether unhealthy. I typed the web address into my browser when I was bored, even if I literally just clicked off of Facebook. I went down rabbit holes, checking up on people from high school and their friends and their friends (etc.) when I was procrastinating. I wasn’t able to begin a real-life project until I read my entire newsfeed. Like I said, it was a problem. I was a freak.
3. Very few people on Facebook actually care about me. Sure, they might be mildly interested in what I’m up to these days, but I tended to think of each of my Facebook “friends” as actual friends, even if I’ve only met them a handful of times; even if I last saw them over a decade ago. That wouldn’t be a problem, except I easily fell into the trap of lamenting the fact that my “friends” didn’t invite me to things, or want to go out for coffee, or engage me in conversation, ever. See above. I already admitted I was a freak.
4. Facebook life envy is real. I struggle with some of my major life decisions, including being a working mom and only having one kid. The vast majority of my Facebook friends are not in this situation, and frankly, seeing their ideal lives (yeah, my rational mind totally realizes that nobody’s life is perfect and everybody has struggles) can cause me to lose my satisfaction with my own life, not to mention my sanity, in a matter of minutes.
5. It’s just too much noise in general. It’s in my nature to crave knowledge. I’m even what you might consider nosey. So I can’t very well just block out the status updates, political debates, and new stories that are constantly buzzing around my Facebook feed. It gets to be a lot, you guys. A lot. Too much.
6. I see the people I cared about most on Facebook in person on the regular. And you know what? Sometimes, when we were together, we would have absolutely nothing to say to each other, because we already read the minutiae of each others’ days on Facebook. What kind of life is that, anyway?
I know that there are plenty of people out there who are either:
a.) able to use Facebook in moderation, or
b.) addicted to Facebook and are just fine with that.
And that’s great. I’m not trying to convince anyone to leave Facebook. I’m not taking up any cause. It’s a great service, and it serves a lot of useful purposes. For me, the drawbacks have outweighed the benefits for far too long.
Anybody out there not on Facebook? Are you glad? Anyone on the fence about calling it quits?