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.

Closing the gap between F & B PRs and bloggers

I’ve been fortunate to have been invited by different restaurants who wanted bloggers to sample their dishes. As a blogger, I will admit that receiving these invites is really exciting – I won’t lie. And I do go to a few food tasting and opening events. I say “few” because I am not a food blogger but do want to highlight hip, trendy restaurants worth visiting from time to time.

(While I am thankful for every invite I receive, I am quite picky these days – as you know, the invites to eat do not come with a gym membership…)

A few days ago, my blogger friends and I were invited to an opening of one of the newest restaurants in town. The event was posh to say the least, complete with red carpet and display of interesting creatures straight out from a children’s fantasy book. It was exciting and I can’t wait how the night would unfold.

Unfortunately, our experience, in general, was a big let down.

In fairness, the food was great and I could’ve used a lot of adjectives to plump up a blog post about it however, the treatment and service we received was very disappointing enough to merit this long-ish, impromptu blog post.

I was busy that night, not to savor the food and exchange opinions with the bloggers in my table but busy to call the attention of the servers and ask if they can at all see us and why our table was without food that was served in other tables.

The servers and the waiters seem to act like there’s an invisiblity cloak hanging over our heads and just whizzed by us until we were too hungry to ignore them. I had to go around and find the PR who invited me (us).

The PR said when I finally caught her and introduced myself, “Oh, you’re the blogger I invited, please get busy with social media, write good things about tonight’s event!”

I replied, “Oh yes, I would gladly do that IF ONLY I had something to talk about…we are not served any food as we speak. We don’t have anything to share on social media.”

We were done talking about the ambiance, the music and the restaurant decors…

She apologized but said “you should have told me earlier!” (sounds like a lame defensive remark, really), pointing the fault to me/us why we didn’t complain earlier. 

It’s unfortunate when PR and blogger relationships turn sour (especially on first meeting!) so I have compiled a list of things that I wish PR people, especially those handling F & B accounts would bear in mind for a more successful relationship with bloggers:

1. Please don’t assume that bloggers only go to the event for free food.

…that you don’t care to check whether they came or not and meet them in person.

While there may be those kind of bloggers, some go to these food tasting events to genuinely check out the venue, the service and the menu. And want to meet the PR who invited them. It’s always great to put a face behind the email address.

2. Do not discriminate bloggers against print media people.

If you’ll invite bloggers and people from traditional print media, please don’t make the distinction and discrimination too obvious like placing bloggers at the back of the room and served LAST, if at all. If you really need to put more importance to print media people, then it’s best idea to not invite bloggers (if they will just end up looking like wallpapers).

We do not expect to be treated VIP, but only being served the main dish when all others are starting to finish their dessert is really off. No, I’d be honest – it’s upsetting.

3. Bloggers are not venue fillers!

There had been instances where bloggers were invited for an opening of a restaurant and they couldn’t even find where the PR is. There’s no one to greet them. The PR who invited is lost in the crowd, never attempting to make contact with the invited bloggers until the event ends…makes bloggers want to ask, “what are we here for?”

4. Do not send last minute invites.

Last minute invites mean something, and it’s not really pleasant or welcoming. Do not send invites to an opening event 2 days or one day or worse, a few hours before the event itself. Please see #3.

5. Do not pressure the blogger to write about the opening event of your restaurant.

I understand why you had to invite bloggers – to create a buzz around the establishment, the brand and maybe the opening event. Bloggers will happily post on social media real time (mostly Instagram and Twitter), sometimes only start touching the food that has already gone cold because they had to work first.

But a blog post?

…unless the certain blogger really wants to write about it but I believe that an opening ceremony is not a good and justifiable event anyway to cover to get a general view of the restaurant’s food quality and service. Typically a fair review is where  you are experiencing what the “real customers or clients” are getting when they visit. If you want the blogger to publish a review of the restaurant, invite him/her for a separate sit down where he/she can sample what you have to offer so he/she will be able to share his/her opinion about it.

In the end, we were served a basket of bread, water, some soft drinks for those who asked, a small plate of appetizers and the main dish that came only after almost everyone in the room (especially the print media people in the other side of the room) finished with theirs. And only after constant asking and finally, complaint.

PR stands for public relations. Unfortunately with most PR people I’ve met, the latter word seems to be the hardest one to perfect.

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?