I still have a Facebook account and I am aware of when someone messages me or I am tagged in a picture, but Facebook no longer consumes my life. And I’m pretty happy about it.
Some people think I’m crazy when I say that I don’t get on Facebook while others admire what I’ve done and others get the impression that I think I’m too cool to check Facebook. Well, I’m not crazy, I don’t think I’m too cool but I do think that it’s great that I have found the willpower to stop using Facebook on a daily basis and others want to do it too.
I created my Facebook account back around 2007 — when it really wasn’t the big thing and MySpace was really the social network of choice. When it started blowing up a little while later, I was on that bandwagon…and I basically didn’t stop using it ever since. Well, until around sometime in 2014. But for almost 7 years, Facebook has been a large part of my life.
In the early days, I’d check it on my computer (as I was a little late to the smartphone game) on a daily basis and interact with those I knew. As time went on, and I got a smartphone, I not only checked it on a daily basis but several times a day. Before I knew it, I’d look at my phone when I was on break, on lunch, bored, when I woke up in the morning, got home from work, late at night, when I was out and about at an event, visiting with friends, etc. It was getting to be ridiculous.
The amount of time I spent using it was one thing — but what I was seeing when I checked it was a whole other thing. Basically, I think that the types of ways people use Facebook can be summed up into these 3 major categories:
- Diary — This is my least favorite way of all. It’s never just one person on your friends list, but usually several, that air their dirty laundry on the web. If they’re not doing that, they’re giving their daily sob story. If they’re not doing that, they’re stirring up some sort of drama.
- Highlight Reel — I don’t hate this one, but I do dislike one thing about it. Most people will post the “best of” their life, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it makes you feel like you aren’t doing anything with your life. Pictures of honeymoons in the Caribbean, buying a house, getting a new car, trips to France, new babies, engagements, etc. You find yourself happy for them, and then comparing yourself to them. Which isn’t healthy.
- A place to post things now and then — This seems to be a small percentage of people. People will post about things that are important to them, but not on a daily basis. They will keep there distance and like and comment on pictures every now and then, and once in a while, post a picture.
Of course, this is not all encompassing. I know a lot of people who use Facebook on a daily basis and do not use it as a diary or to only post their highlight reel. But I guess these are the three that stand out to me.
In October of 2014, I started to actually pay attention to how often I checked Facebook. Then, I paid attention to what I was looking at. I was starting to get depressed by what I saw. I had “liked” many news channels so I would constantly see horrible and sad things in the news…then I would scroll down to see that someone else had gotten engaged, someone else was pregnant, and someone else just bought a new house…mixed with pictures of food, complaints about everyday life, and people sharing their concerns on GMOs and whatnot.
It’s not that these things bothered me, it’s just that I found myself stepping away from life to look at this stuff. Then when I was done, I felt annoyed, sad, or just unenthused. Very rarely did I set down my phone thinking, “I’m glad I checked Facebook today.”
So, I went cold turkey. I just stopped. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone to resist temptation. Before I had deleted the app, I changed my settings to notify me via email when I got a message or was tagged in something. I made it a goal to go without it for 3 days. The first few days were hard because it was the matter of breaking a habit. It was easier to resist since I didn’t have the ability to easily tap the app on my phone and be updated. It took going through some hoops to get there. Also, I knew that I wasn’t missing out on anything important where someone was trying to get in touch with me because I would be getting an email.
After a few days, it got much easier. Before I knew it, it had been weeks, months and now about 8 months. I have used Facebook in the past 8 months, but only a handful of times. I didn’t use Facebook until February when I got a bunch of notifications for my birthday. Then, these last few months, I’ve been getting updates on my high school’s 10 year reunion. I will get an email notification that shows me what the post is about and then I click the link to go to the post and the post only, if I need to take action, and then I close the window and get out of there!
I’ve been happier since I quit Facebook and I feel like my time is better spent. On breaks, I go on walks or make important phone calls or balance my checkbook instead. When I go to lunch, I eat, read, go on walk, or converse with the people around me. When I come home, I focus on what I want to get done that day — whether it’s cooking and cleaning or just watching a movie or reading a book. My life no longer seems to revolve around Facebook, and I like it.
I keep in touch with people the “old fashioned” way and I’m more inclined to send someone a random text or give them a call to say hello.
When I run into someone in the store that I haven’t seen in a while, I stop and talk to them. If they had been on my friends list and were one who liked to air their dirty laundry on there, I would often go to the next aisle over and try to avoid them.
I feel like I’m more involved in conversation with people as I’m not busy taking pictures and then posting them on Facebook as we speak.
I’m not anti-Facebook, but I do enjoy not letting my life revolve around it. It’s a good balance now and I’m enjoying it. I’m doing what makes the most sense for me and that’s how I like it. 🙂