Why I Deleted My Facebook
A: “Can I get your number?”
B: “No, find me on Facebook instead“
“I’ll add you on Facebook!“
“How do they look? Lemme Facebook them!“
We’ve all been guilty of saying at least one of those three phrases.
Don’t deny it, you Facebook fiend, you.
Facebook has taken over so many aspects of our daily lives, with over 1 billion and a half monthly active users, it’s no surprise there.
I’ve been on Facebook since 2008 – wow, my longest relationship, 8 bitter-sweet years, the first and one of the biggest commitments to technology I’ve ever made so early on in my life. Even when my parents joined it, I hung in there like that kitty meme that says “Hang in there!” Now that’s resilience. Sure, we have that whole kerfuffle regarding just how much of ourselves and our private information we’re putting out there, that Facebook monetises, tracks and allows a numerous amount of apps access to this precious data of ours. It’s incredibly worrying and as much as I would love to dive into that like fresh sheets, I’ll have to save that article worthy piece for another day. This one’s going to be a tad more mindful…
The average person has five social media accounts, spending 1 hour 40 mins a day browsing these networks. According to NBC news, a Facebook user will usually check their Facebook on an average of 14 times a day. Out of all those 8 years on Facebook I’ve acquired around 600 friends, each year I get 80 or so birthday messages, but I only have a handful of friends I talk to on a regular basis. The 600 friends or so basically consist of a mix of old classmates I no longer talk to/have no common interest with, drunkard party animals I befriended in university, friends I made while drunk, men I’ve tangoed with in the past, frienemies, friends half way across the world, acquaintances I wouldn’t recognise even if I bumped into them on the street, the hi-bye friends and a couple friends I can sit down and have a good meal with time to time. After scrutinising that long list and questioning my choices in life over wine, I reached the conclusion that I didn’t have too much to lose if I left Facebook.
So, I thought I’d go a week without it and here’s what I’ve realised.
At first? My fingers jittered, I twitched a little like an addict waiting for a hit of that good stuff. Facebook, was my ‘good stuff’. As much as I hated seeing those stupid “Dance in the rain like no one’s watching, love like unicorns are dancing” crap quotes on steroids, the 1827272 pictures of ex classmates’ children dressed as pumpkins and other cute shit, the recurring misspelt opinions so idiotic I rocked myself back and forth cursing at our doomed humanity, the unlikely animal friendship videos among the bragging pictures… I just HAD to see them. I got so wrapped up playing detective piecing everyone’s private lives together that, for a second there, I forgot about mine. Facebook did not bring out the best in me, for one. On the plus side? Friendship was just so much easier with Facebook, effortless. With the Facebook birthday reminders, all I had to do was like their post, accompanied by a heart emoji on their wall, that was it! Presence? Done. But now? I had to, make an effort *shudders*.
After relentlessly slapping my own hands away from the Facebook app on my phone, I had enough of people on the public transport giving me the stink eye and slowly moving away from me. I realised that logging out of Facebook wasn’t enough. I deactivated it, deleted it and felt a great sinking feeling inside. Facebook was my Jack Dawson. “I’ll never let go Jack,” I whispered as I pushed it off the door big enough for the both of us, ready to reclaim my rich Facebook free life with the Heart of the Ocean.
What followed was the feeling of absolute freedom, no longer will my life be ruled and tempted by the notifications. No longer will I see those ridiculous posts that make me question humanity. No longer will I stay up until 3 in the morning looking at unlikely animal friendships on Facebook. No more! I was free from it all… But now what?
I adapted better than I thought. I had to make an effort with the people I truly wanted to connect with, I was more selective with who I wanted to keep or add to my circle, spend time with, reconnect with and keep in my life. I did it all my own way, without Facebook which inevitably led to a busier social life, more brunch and dinner catch-ups, museum dates. Doing things I wanted to do with the people I truly cared and gave a shit about.
When I was in my early teens, it was all a competition, who had the most Facebook friends, the most likes or comments on their post or selfie. But none of that matters when you’re at home on your own wondering which one of your 600 or so Facebook friends you can truly confide in, discuss real matters of the heart with or call last minute to a game of Monopoly (which may or may not break your friendship).
Of course, Facebook makes interacting so much easier. To simply see how your loved ones are and what they’re up to with a click here and there. However, a little detox can do you so much good every now and then, to just break free from it all. We humans are very social creatures and somehow we’ve never been so disconnected from each other like we are today. Frankly, I’m tired of hiding behind a screen to communicate.
We’ve grown lazy with face to face interactions, why talk to people in real time when you can have access to the hundred or so Facebook friends who don’t require an immediate response, allowing you to tailor and swiftly edit your perfect reply in any way you wish?
So, I urge you, every now and then to take a break from it all. Travel, pick up a pen and write a letter, send a postcard, a care package, stir up conversation with an absolute stranger in a coffee shop, go knock on your friend’s door and talk to them, do charity work. Do other things besides spending half your time on Facebook, getting anxiety attacks over a lack of likes for your Batman and Robin meme (it’s okay, shh shh it’s okay). I’m not telling you to go through a quarter mid-life crisis and delete all your social networks from your phone like I did at one point, but a break from Facebook just might do you some good.