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My Year Without Facebook

I got rid of Facebook nearly a year ago. I would describe my use then as frequent, distracted, yet silent. I didn’t post much, I had a couple of photos albums and I checked it far too many times a day.

Why did I get rid of it? I was started to loathe its constant presence. I was becoming aware that my checking it, bringing it up on my phone and scrolling through old posts was now unconscious. Sort of the way I’ll look at my phone for the time, turn it off, put it down, and have to look at it again 15 seconds later because I didn’t actually register the time the first time.

Every once in a while I would go through my list and remove people I didn’t see as adding to my life. I think I got it down to just under 100 and still felt I had excess. I wasn’t happy with what I felt was artificial interaction that Facebook provided. I also didn’t like how it was making me feel.

I had just finished university in July and was job-hunting while working at a tourist trap chocolate store downtown. Looking at the successes of my peers kind of chipped away at my self-esteem. After a while I realized it wasn’t adding anything to my life and was in fact taking a little away.

I feel as though Facebook is a curated collection of moments, feelings and achievements. The general consensus being you post something you want to share with people, the exciting moments, trips, milestones all curated to a central spot. I’m not going to try to simplify Facebook because it’s a different form of communication. It’s the online version of the shopping mall, market, Roman bath house. But for me, it was becoming excessive and artificial.

I will admit I wanted to remove it earlier but I had been in school and it was handy for group meetings and planning. After school was done I felt more than willing to let it go.

I wanted to simplify my life and give myself a chance to feel good about the things I’ve accomplished and the direction I was headed in my life and what I was surrounding myself. I didn’t make a statement, I just deleted it. Some of my friends noticed right away and asked where I’d gone. Others took some time and I still get the occasional ‘do you not have Facebook anymore?’

Those I talk to I talk to. Those I don’t I don’t. It’s simple. I like it.

What do you think about Facebook? Have you ever deactivated your account and if so did you go back? Why? What’s your preferred form of social media?

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10 thoughts on “My Year Without Facebook

    • Yeah, it becomes a bit of a nuisance I felt. And I don’t mean to simplify and discard the reality of the ease of communication it allows but I also struggle with the quality of communication and I find I’ve done a lot better without it.

      Thanks for the comment!

  1. It just makes communication with friends who are far away easier. We all live busy lives and it would be sad to lose a friend just because I can’t see them, even though I want to. And its a collection of actual friends. Especially now that I live out of the country. So it wouldn’t be the same through e-mail, you know? I dunno. I deactivated my account once and then reactivated because I missed people far away. :-p

    • I can agree with this for sure. Email is a bit of a step-down especially when it comes to photo-sharing and just all round mass communication. My use of Facebook allowed me to remove it without missing too much. It’s all individual but I found I’m better off without it distracting me πŸ™‚ And I am too easily distracted haha

  2. I had given up Facebook before. Once I gave it up for Lent. Then once I deleted my account (I picked up the account because I was a campus minister and many of my students used it; when I was no longer a campus minister, I deleted the account.) Then a few years ago, hubby and I decided to get an account at the same time. We did and it’s been okay. At first it was like, “Va-VOOM!” — all these old classmates we’d found; it was pretty exciting. But that soon wore off. And you know something? Every single old best friend, every single old classmate, every single old acquaintance from back in the day — every single one of those people that I found again, not a single.one.of.them made my life any better or richer. In fact, every single reception I received was pretty disappointing. Didn’t measure up AT ALL to the thrill of the reunion in my mind. I read one particular article (one that may have been referenced by a blogger I follow) that said that many people feel worse after using Facebook. Here’s the link to that article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23709009. My husband still has his account but is rarely on. I’m not on nearly as much as I used to be either and, to tell you the truth, it wouldn’t bother me a single bit nixing it from my life. It would just be one more layer I didn’t have to worry about. Thanks for a great post. πŸ™‚

    • At first all of the classmates coming out of the woodwork was a super fun novelty. I got to see what they were doing after 10+ years and stuff but I mean… these were kids I met in grade school. The fact that we shared toys at 8 years old doesn’t really credit being friends online. In that case it’s mostly just us looking at what the other is up to which is interesting but if I were to meet them on the street would we say hi to each other? Would we make plans to meet for a cup of coffee and actually catch each other up on what we’ve been up to? Sometimes but not often… so I think Facebook is the quick and easy way to gather information you wouldn’t normally have access to.

      Yes I agree, it’s one more (social) layer I didn’t have to worry about.

      I was looking at that BBC article and it was interesting to read their findings. But the great thing is when we are conscious of it! Taking a second to assess how you feel on your own, your interactions, is worthwhile and I was compelled to just shut the lid on that form of communication and it was worth it.

      Thanks so much for your comment and the article πŸ™‚

  3. I totally understand getting rid of Facebook. I have never deleted my account, but I’ve considered it. Originally I got it to keep “track” so to speak on what my kids were doing. Now they don’t use Facebook anymore, so it’s just me and my 100+ “friends”. I get overwhelmed sometimes and angry with myself for how much time I sometimes spend on it. It DOES NOT add anything to my life, and I agree with you, at times it takes away and can be detrimental to self thought. It’s superficial and artificial in a sense — sometimes it feels like reading a bunch of those horrid Christmas letters you get. My solution has been to periodically delete it from my phone. I’ll delete it and not have it for a month or two and then something will draw me back in. It annoys me how some people only communicate through Facebook. Once I was off for a little over a month. When I went back I had multiple messages from people asking me why I hadn’t responded. These people have my phone number and email, and know where I live. Yet they chose to make contact through Facebook. It’s silly. Nice post. Your hair is looking pretty amazing too, by the way! πŸ˜‰

    • My mom was a little bummed when I got rid of Facebook. But we’ve been utilizing Skype a lot more and just calling in general. And, well, now I live at home so no worries there.

      That is so interesting that people who had all of your contact information would rely solely on Facebook as being their means of communication! Wow. And I love your comparison to Christmas letters! That’s definitely how it feels at times.

      In terms of social media I love the interaction, community, discussions Twitter provides. I also use Instagram, a private account with people I know. This blog has been amazing in being a part of a great community and great topics so I think I’ve ditched the ‘quantity’ of Facebook and traded it for the ‘quality’ of genuine interaction which I think has been rewarding for me.

      Thanks so much for the comment πŸ™‚

  4. I can completely understand your experience with Facebook. I have been off Facebook for a little over a year and it was definitely because I found myself becoming obsessive in comparing my life to my peers. Thank you for this post. I have learned to focus on my own life, work, goals and accomplishments!

    • I’m pretty glad I gave Facebook the axe. I agree, it’s great to be able to focus on your life and goals without the distractions going on in the periphery with other people’s lives. Thanks for your comment! πŸ™‚

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