September 29, 2012
Why I Left Facebook (For Now)
I deactivated my Facebook account a few days ago. Yes, you read that correctly. It hasn’t been two full days and I’ve been inundated with e-mails asking me if I have lost my mind. The tone of concern is somewhat funny to me. I left Facebook and they act as if I’ve just murdered someone. As Charlie Brown once said, “Good grief!” Get a grip, kids. It’s not the end of the world.
I haven’t decided whether this is just a much needed hiatus or the first step in permanently deleting my account. In the last few months I’ve felt that Facebook has become an addictive time-waster for me. I spent all hours reading status updates and playing Zynga games when I should have been doing other things.
My departure from the social media networking site was triggered by a combination of reasons.
I had 500 “friends” and barely conversed with half of them.
On the rare occasions that I’d see some of these people in public they could not even return my friendly hello. But the very next day I’d get a Facebook message saying, “Saw you at Kohl’s the other day, sorry I didn’t have time to say hi! Busy, busy!”
Wait. Let me get this straight. No time to say one little word face-to-face, but lots of time to send me a 17-word message? Yeah, that makes total sense.
Some of the most bizarre experiences were when “friends” from high school would add me, look through my profile, pictures, etc., and then promptly “unfriend” me. Who does that? It’s enough to make a person crazy. I would think, “Did that just happen? Am I imagining this? Wasn’t I just friends with this person?”
With the current presidential election in full swing, the volume of liberal bullshit I had to ignore was becoming too much for me. I have refrained from going to my friend’s pages to leave nasty comments or start a feud, but the second I posted a dissenting opinion on my own page, the crazies crawled out from under their rocks to launch their own political attacks. And these people are supposed to be friends? Who needs enemies?
I mean, how dare I post conservative opinions! That’s just not acceptable! Haven’t I learned that you have to be a liberal to post your point of view? Never mind the fact that Facebook allows you to hide another person’s timeline posts (you know, in the event that you don’t agree with someone’s opinion)! I broke unofficial rule #1,544: Thou shalt not post anything that may offend another Facebook user.
And you wonder why I left?
One thing I’ve learned through all of this bullshit is that bitches from high school are still bitches today. Some things never change. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’m not afraid to say what everyone else is thinking. I’m the Ramona Singer of my circle of friends, with a little less flair for the dramatic.
Truthfully, Facebook made me a bit of a narcissist. I feel like I was constantly seeking some sort of validation for who I am. FB makes it too easy to post about ourselves — it’s all about ME! ME! ME! We can post about our kids, our relationships and our work. We can tell 500 people what we had for lunch that day (and like Ms. Mason says, no one really cares).
Don’t get me wrong, I had good times. I loved being able to connect with friends I met through blogging as well as friends and relatives across the country. I loved looking at friends’ photo albums and commenting on their pages. Facebook allowed me to share my passions, and to connect with others I don’t see every day. I’m going to miss that.
The first day without access was rough. It was like withdrawing from nicotine. I had to make a conscious effort to distract myself when I had free time. But I realized I’m really not missing too much. If I absolutely need to know something I can pick up the phone and call my friends.
When my co-worker asked why I left, I shared my opinion that Facebook had become a place where people could keep tabs on other people they don’t genuinely like, constantly judging what they post. Everyone knows everything about us on Facebook.
“I have an intense desire for privacy lately,” I told her.
I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, and I haven’t even decided if I’m going back. I love that I have more time to accomplish other things. I love that I can foster the present friendships in my life. I’m no longer incessantly checking my phone.
Gone are the days of wasting precious time posting about my life. I’m actually living it. I feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted and I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.