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.
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.