Why I am no longer on Facebook


I first joined Facebook when my daughter’s favorite teacher relocated to Australia in 2009 and asked me to get on this social media network so we can ‘get in touch’, so I could see her baby (she was pregnant that time). And I did. I opened an account and slowly slid my way through in this would be huge world of Facebook. Prior to that, I was happy with only blogging and then Twitter.

When I first joined Facebook back in 2009 it was really exciting to reconnect with long lost elementary/high school friends and even people I met briefly but wanted to keep in touch with.

But last week, I logged out of my personal Facebook account and uninstalled the app from my phone. It has been a week since my Facebook sabbatical and I don’t miss it at all (for now).

Why did I pull the plug on Facebook?

One fine day in October while on my daily commute from home to work, I stopped and looked at the people around me. Maybe 95% of the commuters have their eyes stuck into their phone screens that I bet no one would ever notice even if Sheikh Mohammed walks in. Everyone would just do little sidesteps to accommodate other passengers coming in.

With the huge social media revolution, that is the norm but I feel something’s not right.

Here are reasons why I quit Facebook.

I realized I derived zero pleasure from it now, yet couldn’t stop looking at it. It’s a huge time waster.


It’s a scenario all too common: we plop on to the couch and start scrolling Facebook. Then…close the app, get distracted and open…Facebook. Again and again and again all throughout the day. It’s so easy to get carried away that I feel, in the eyes of my kids, it’s inexcusable behavior.

While being on Facebook and scrolling down through the news feed, many are not aware of the time they actually spend on viewing others’ life events or sharing. It became such a disease that many even feel obliged to like or comment on anything that was shared. I saw the time I spend on Facebook as my free time, but honestly, I can spend the same time taking care of myself, reading new books to my son or learning something new or doing other tasks that I’ve put off – like blogging.

Its funny because it’s the only social media platform that really bothers me. I have no problem with Instagram or Twitter. (You can follow and connect with me on those social media platforms, if you like to.)

Related read: 3 Reasons Why I Use Twitter (it’s a good brain exercise)

There’s too much noise.

I crave for information. I’ve been an avid newspaper reader since I was maybe 10. In the time of Facebook, I subscribe to a lot of pages that feed me news, fitness articles, science breakthroughs, entertainment, life hacks, etc. But what was once a fun fuss-free platform, Facebook is now littered with ads. The more you populate your timeline or like statuses and posts, the more Facebook bombards you with ads. Facebook mines our information to sell companies who orchestrate invasive advertising campaigns. I don’t like my timeline anymore and yes, you could say I can filter it, but even I lost the interest and energy to “organize” my Facebook so I’d 100% like what I see.

Sometimes, Facebook makes me feel unhappy.

I won’t lie, there are times I see a friend’s post and feel inadequate with my own life.

And I found out – my feelings are not invalid or unique to me. Recent study conducted by the Department of Behavioral Science at Utah Valley University found that Facebook makes us view our lives negatively. Social comparison, a byproduct of the Facebook experience, makes the user feel worse about their lives because Facebook tends to serve as an onslaught of idealized existences – babies, engagement rings, graduations, new jobs. It invites upward social comparison at a rate that can make real life feel like a modesty festival.

I want to live in the moment.

because sometimes, you see beautiful things when you look up

…because sometimes, you see beautiful things when you look up, rather than look down at your phone screen (photo taken in Bohol island, Philippines when I temporarily shut out Facebook during a family vacation with my parents)

All this social sharing has too often ruined my ability to be present and live in the moment. It’s easy to start viewing the world in terms of what will make a great status update. Or taking photos only for the sake of letting other people share in a moment. Constantly reporting our lives rather than living them.

But what about moderation?

Of course, if it works for you. “Doing it in moderation” is easier said than done. Personally, it’s easier to control when the limit is zero. It’s like eating doughnuts. One bite is not enough. Oftentimes, a whole doughnut is not even enough. The solution is NOT to have doughnut in the house!

What happens next?

I am not on Facebook anymore so I won’t be able to see any comments or posts that tag me. But that’s ok. My family and real-life friends know they can still text or call me, as we always did in the past. Information still travels, sans Facebook. Right now, I gently advocate for the more private, simple, and direct methods of day-to-day communication.

And the news that I crave for? I can always get it directly from their websites.

I still keep my blog’s Facebook Page though to promote blog posts or share something interesting.

Facebook “Likes” contest: Never again

A very prominent Dubai establishment is giving away lots of prizes to their fans. The establishment have reached xx,000 Likes on their page in Facebook so they want to give back by giving away prizes daily, weekly and a posh grand prize.

How to enter?

Just post what you like about the establishment and ask your friends to “like” your comment. (The main sponsor Facebook page has to be “Liked” first – gaining them another ‘fan’)

Easy peasy. Comment with most “likes” wins.


…until unpopular people found other ways to win it.

I’d like to point out that while I am not against the contest, I disagree on how it is done. A contest based on Facebook Likes simply do NOT work in general, it only works for CHEATERS. It only creates dark clouds of doubts on the promotion. It stirs angry discussions among people who play it fair.

It is by far, the most easily abused contest online because anyone who has lots of time in their hands can create a free web based email account and in turn, create a free Facebook account.

A Facebook liking contest is easily maneuvered and won by cunning people by creating multiple fake accounts and ‘liking’ an entry using those fake accounts. If an entry gains more hundreds (or even thousands) of ‘Likes’, there’s no way the contest sponsor can check and determine if all the Facebook accounts are legit or not.

And most sponsoring companies NEVER check.

The cheater always win, again and again in a Liking contest by shuffling his multiple Facebook accounts.


Who doesn’t love winning free stuff? I’ve won from radio quizzes because of all out effort and draws, out of sheer luck. I know a Facebook Liking contest is a sham but I fell for it – I joined this recent contest by putting in my entry, which I sincerely mean. I really liked the establishment anyway, it’s one of my favorite  places in Dubai.

I posted the shameless plug in my Facebook wall (begging to please ‘Like’ my entry), got my friends to do it for me. Entrants were only given 24 hours to gather votes.

I got nearly a hundred votes from REAL people after a few hours.

However, my hopes died down when I saw there were entries with more than 500 ‘Likes’. Now it’s either,

  • The contest entrant is a celebrity
  • He/she has thousands of friends (with a fraction of it supporting him/her)
  • He/she owns an internet cafe and forcefully asked people at knife point to vote
  • He/she had multiple Facebook accounts to generate as much votes in a very short time

Of course I did not win. I don’t feel bad for myself but for my friends who took the time to vote for me so I am writing this as a warning to myself not to fall in the trap anymore.

Friends and relative from near and far away, you can breathe a sigh of relief now. I am not going to beg for Facebook votes anymore.

Dubai is a small city and the social network scene is much smaller. Contest junkies almost know each other. I had been warned but I had confidence in the support of my friends (which I got and very grateful for) but the cheaters are more confident because they don’t need to knock on doors, they’ve got the resources in their own hands to win anything they like. I am sure they feel like Gods.

How low can one get for freebies?

Lastly, there had been complaints from other contest entrants but the company sponsoring the contest is not listening. They are silently giving out the message,

Fight all you want. We don’t care  as long as we’ll have another few thousands more ”fans’ on our page, REAL people or NOT.

Why character assassination is less in Twitter


I can even say ‘it won’t exist’ and they would die a natural death, as compared to Facebook.

A friend of mine had a very tough time dealing with bullies in Facebook recently. She joined a contest and on that contest page, people are jumping in to accuse her of something she didn’t know, for all the world to see in an effort to disqualify her because she was the obvious winner (through honest means and effort).

Facebook is full of immature retards like that.

Malicious comments. Insults. Bullying. Is this even new on Facebook? Everything in Facebook gets hot easily and catches fire, before you know it, you are engaged in an online brawl, protecting your dignity and self pride, especially if you are using your real name and photo in your Facebook profile. You are on desperate call to save face, even if the rumors about you is untrue.

I have always been hesitant using Facebook and prefer Twitter. Maybe mostly because Twitter is less personal – I don’t need to see a string of photos or detailed profiles of people before I can exchange messages with them. Twitter keeps me up to date with events, it’s not about people all the time.

And there are less mean people on Twitter. (Depending on the people you follow, there are actually more intellectual stuff going on.)

This doesn’t mean that mean people are not in Twitter. There are but the chances of these trolls getting into you is less, than how it would be on Facebook. Here’s an illustration. Please keep in mind that I am not an artist, ok?


twitter troll

You have a Twitter account (mine is @sandierpastures) then you follow a bunch of people (referred to as “FOLLOWING”) and a bunch of people follow you, referred to as “FOLLOWERS” in the illustration. Sometimes a person can be your follower as well as someone you’re following (vice-versa relationship, like a Facebook “friend”).

If you’re still confused of the follower-following in Twitter, to simplify:

Followers – they see your tweets

Following – you see their tweets

How Twitter works and what is a ‘tweet’
Every message you send out, called “tweets” in Twitter language is only visible to your followers, not to people you follow unless people specifically access you main Twitter page (http://twitter.com/sandierpastures) where all sent out tweets are found.

For example, if you tweet “Good morning, world! I don’t feel like working today.”

Your followers will know that it’s morning in your world and that you don’t feel like working today.

The people you are following on the other hand, won’t have any inkling of what’s happening in the neck of your woods. Remember you are following them, so you read their tweets, not the other way around.

Twitter is an open channel. People don’t need your acceptance or confirmation to be your Twitter ‘friend’ and see your tweets.  Sounds scary? NOT REALLY. See, if a bully twitterer send out a nasty tweet of accusation or anything bullying in nature like:

@nastytweeter @sandierpastures You’re cheating in the contest. You should be disqualified!!

The nasty tweet will be visible in the main twitter page but follower wise, only his followers will see that nasty tweet, not mine. And sometimes because @nastytweeter is a troll (with sometimes a fake account), he has no followers so his nasty tweet is really void of meaning. Unless of course if I reply then my followers will know the conversation stream. That I’ve been accused of cheating.

But nasty tweets only need to be ignored like this one because not only because it is baseless – I believe answering to nasty tweets are a complete waste of my time.

And the good news is that, they don’t matter at all really, even if @nastytweeter sends 500 or a thousand similar tweets directed to me, there’s no harm done! The nasty tweet won’t ‘leak’ to my audience (followers) or the people that means to me and I have connection with as long as I ignore it.

Plus, I can mark the twitterer in question as spam or block them and they’ll be gone from my Twitter time line forever.

*wipes dust off shoulders*

Facebook has always been the reciprocal  relationship so I see it as personal type of social media tool as opposed to being professional. This is where family, friends old and new gather to share photos and chat.This is also where people stalk and keep tabs with other people.

You post something people on your friend list sees it, along with hundreds especially if your friends start engaging in your posted status. If you’ve got 5 people commenting on your status and they’ve got 100 friends in their list, your status is immediately available to 500 people all at once.

FB troll

Well, nothing wrong with that if the conversation stream is pleasant. What if it’s not? Like if someone jumps in and comment that you’re a cheat blah, blah, blah *insert vitriolic comment here*. And remember there is no 140 character limit in Facebook unlike Twitter so your destroyer can have his bullying festival.  ‘Course you can delete that nasty comment from your stream: IF YOU ARE ONLINE ALL THE TIME and you had the perfect timing to nip it in the bud before it gets worse – sucks most especially if the comments are not true at all and the only intention is to damage your reputation.

So back to my friend who joined a contest…in that contest page, people were trying to pull her down by posting negative comments, accusing her of cheating her way to win (which she didn’t do at all). The nasty commenters couldn’t even provide a proof but my friend has naturally, reacted to her defense and now the whole conversation stream is uncontrollable and visible to her friends because every move you do in Facebook whether on your own page or with others are visible to everyone on your list.

It’s exhausting and emotionally draining, not to mention time consuming to drop comments here and there to save face, even though it isn’t true.

With so many people using the crazed hysteria that is Facebook, I am sure there’s more to it than meets my eye but it makes an easy channel for character assassination, bullying and easily open to abuse . It puts people on the defensive to protect themselves, it turns vitriolic, it makes real life friends fight. I can’t remember where this original tweet came from but it makes sense to me now:

Twitter makes me like people I’ve never met and Facebook makes me hate people I know in real life.

The reason I don’t like Facebook (as much as Twitter) is that it keeps people busy with useless diversion. Twitter keeps it short, you are bombarded with tweets but only if you choose to, otherwise you can ignore it. No Farmville!

In short, if you like Facebook and it suits you well, fine. I am only saying the worst things that can happen there and we all need to be careful.

Top 3 Reasons Why I Use Twitter


Dubai blogger Sea Bee has written a post titled, “Twitter and Me” where he discussed how he feels lost in Twitter. Another Dubai blogger, Sarah of Dubai-ified wrote an excellent post about Twitter too. This prompted me to talk about Twitter as well as I’m an avid Twitter user.

First off, here are the top three reasons why I use Twitter:

1. Twitter gives me immediate pulse on news and events
What I like about Twitter is that it can be a live coverage of what’s going on around us. Information get to Twitter faster than news agency reporters because everyone with connection to the internet can ‘tweet’ about anything they see or experience real time. It’s like everyone on Twitter are ‘reporters on the go’ and tweeters (or Twitterers) are faster than real reporters on the go!

2. Twitter broadens my reach to wider community and I learn a lot from it
I follow people who tweet about topics I am interested in: blogging, social media, news, parenting, etc.  I get a lot of ideas and feedback from people beyond my inner circle of friends and I learn from their informative tweets or the links they post. I even get answers to my questions directly from people who know it best. For me, Twitter is a gold mine of information available for free. 

(I have landed paid freelance writing jobs through Twitter and have won prizes through Twitter contests as well, including a laptop)

3. Twitter is less disruptive than Facebook
Though real life friends also tweet each other, many people in Twitter have not met in real life yet they virtually engage in sensible communication. There is no need for a ‘face’ or to look up each other’s photo albums. I don’t need to scour through personal information before replying to a tweet. I always get lost in Facebook and end up spending more time than I should have because there’s too much information on it.

But I see the part where one can’t put his head around Twitter.

Looking at Twitter streams can be intimidating, one would assume that there are lots of Tweeters (Twitter users) who use this micro blogging platform like it’s a giant chat room. That’s why I won’t recommend following thousands – I keep a List of Reasons Why I won’t Follow Someone in Twitter and I only follow a few.

Everyone will be talking at the same time that it’s difficult to sort out good content from bad ones. So what I do is skim through my Twitter time line, read the good tweets and skip the bad ones (unnecessary clutter like repeated RT’s, ad content, etc).

Tweetdeck~ Tweetdeck – columns to manage tweets easily. ~

Also, I would recommend every Twitter user to use a Twitter client to make tweeting easy. Tweetdeck, Twhirl and Seesmic Web are just a few. I strongly believe Twitter won’t be too inundating when you use an application.

Next – How do people find the time?
tweeting_fingersTo solve this bit of mystery – I think that most people who are on Twitter are those sitting in front for their computers day in and day out. They have this free Twitter desktop application installed where they check out what’s buzzing in Twitterland while working (*Ahem* You are not allowed to tell my boss!). They engage in tweets they like, click and read links, they tweet whatever comes to mind. But of course I might be talking about myself.

People who aren’t in front of their PC’s have internet packages in their smart phones where they send their tweets. I, however, have no tweeting capability outside and have found myself wanting to tweet what I see but disappointed that I can’t. Yes, I have reached a point where it’s hard for me not to tweet when I want.

Finally, Facebook vs Twitter vs Blogging
There’s no real winner as each is a winner on their own.

Facebook lets me connect with old friends, people I have had an ample amount of online interaction and family, look at their photos, check up the latest about them.

Blogging lets me exceed the 140 character quota per tweet that Twitter has. It makes me expound on the subject more, like what I’m doing now.

Twitter, on the other hand,  allows me to engage in brief conversations with people from diverse background and all the three reasons above. Although Twitter will never replace blogging, sometimes the bare basic facts (in 140 chars or less) is all we need.

Honestly if I would be asked to retain only one social media tool in my life, I’d take Twitter over Facebook any day simply for the reason that Facebook connects me with people I already know (friends, family) but Twitter connects me to the world and I don’t have to meet them in real life to connect with them.

As one tweet I read some time back, to sum up Facebook vs Twitter:

“Facebook is about people you used to know; Twitter is about people you’d like to know better.”

You? Which social media are you more active in? Twitter? Facebook? Why?

Facebook chat, nostalgia, growing old, etc


I had a chat with a good, old high school friend of mine (whom I’ve lost touch with) last night via Facebook. Usually Facebook chat acts like a young child that’s sweet at first, grumpy the second so I thought our chat would only last for 10 minutes max before we tell each other “hey Facebook chat sucks, bye!”.

It seems a miracle in itself that my friend was online but another mystery was that, Facebook chat didn’t suck last night.

So we chatted for 2 and a half hours.

The last time we have seen each other was 14 years ago in 1997. And prior to that was high school graduation in 1993. It feels so good to reconnect with old friends because suddenly, I am not the working mother who’s tired at the end of the day and counting the days till the weekend, not the person who can’t stay up late beyond 10 pm – I become alive and young again while being transported back to high school, giggling and telling silly jokes along the way.

I was actually smiling in front of the computer beyond 12 midnight.

We reminisced and reminisced and laughed at little things like how little children around us before have been popping in Facebook, already married and have kids of their own! Suddenly that made me feel old. My mom who’s turning 60 this year once told me she doesn’t really feel old and that her feelings are still the same – as the years go by, it’s only added responsibilities, wrinkles and stomach gas.

From last night’s trip down to memory lane and small giggles, I do believe we are only old as how we feel.
Top Photo credit