4.08.2013

a year without facebook

Facebook profile pic circa 2010

One year ago today was Easter Sunday. I had lunch with my family in a crowded restaurant. I whined about how much I hated Facebook, how it did nothing but upset me, and how I wish I had never created an account in the first place. I ranted for a few minutes before I finally decided to actually do something about it.  So I went home and I deactivated my account for the umpteenth time, and this time it felt like a huge burden had lifted.

I had wanted to do this for years, but I was never ready to do it. Do you know what I mean? You have to be ready to do this sort of thing, or you will never stick with it. It's like going on a diet, breaking up with someone, or making any kind of life change. It's a habit you need to break, and you need to be ready to do it. I had tried going on "Facebook fasts" where I would challenge myself to not log in for a week, but my finger always found its way to the app, and before I knew what was happening I was reading potty training updates like I cared. I tried deactivating my account, but I could never make it more than a day or two before curiosity got the better of me. It never worked because I was never mentally ready.

It took several years of this vicious cycle before I had really had enough. Logging into Facebook eventually just became a form of torturing myself. Nothing good was coming out of it. I was frustrated with the effort it took out of maintaining relationships. I was constantly annoyed with everyone and everything I saw, but how do you break a habit 5 years in the making? It's hard, but I finally hit that point. I went home after lunch, and I deactivated my account and deleted the app from my phone. It was weird for the first few days, but it quickly got easier. I now relish the fact that the entire world doesn't know what I'm doing. I love that I can't be tagged in pictures anymore. And honestly, the whole fear of missing out syndrome has completely passed. I really don't care anymore if I miss an engagement or pregnancy annoucement. If they're an important person in my life, I'll find out one way or another.

Every time I mention getting rid of Facebook, there is usually someone telling me they wish they could do the same thing, but it's how they stay in touch with their family and see pictures and yadda yadda yadda. I totally get that. Aside from my parents, my family is several thousand miles away and all quite active on Facebook. But they also have other forms of contacting me, even if they don't use them. I was afraid people would simply forget I exist, but I actually had people make an effort to stay in touch with me. Who knew that could happen these days!

This all sounds a bit hypocritical since I blog and throw my life story all over the internet. I guess there's just something easier about writing for strangers than writing for people you actually know. And none of this is to say Facebook is bad. It certainly is not. I have no problem with people being on it, and it can be an awesome tool. In the interest of full disclosure, I have logged on a few times to grab some pictures for a blog post, and every time I log in I seriously feel my heart rate increase over the massive information overload. Every time I log on for a few minutes, it confirms my decision to deactivate my account. I've noticed the rising trend is to get rid of Facebook, and I would be lying if I said I wasn't applauding that. So keep Facebook if you want. That's totally great. This is just one tale of a girl who survived the Facebook deactivation and wants people who are near that point to know it can be done.

22 comments:

  1. As yet, I have no desire to be rid of FB. I was just thinking--I really like FB for how it allows communication to be open and public and above board. Because, I was always best friends with guys in high school and college. And I really love these guys and want to keep track of where they go in life...but now we're all grown up and I'm married and some of them are married and their wives don't know me and what a nice person I am. It doesn't really seem appropriate for us to chat on the phone anymore...or text...and even sending private emails very often just doesn't feel right to me. The whole "avoid every appearance of evil" thing? I just like to keep our interactions "in public" so that no wives start hating me or suspecting me of flirtations. And it works. Through FB I was able to meet up with a friend of mine from high school in Malaysia who now lives in Chicago and now his wife likes me!

    So I guess what I'm saying is one of the reasons I like FB is because it allows me to keep my men friends. Still sounds a little sketchy....

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  2. I am feeling very mixed feelings about Facebook lately. I haven't been utilizing it much, and honestly don't care about most of the people I'm "friends" with on there. So I've been deleting some people I don't talk to or never have talked to so I can whittle down my friends list to people I actually care about. And I've decided to maybe start using it a little more in a positive way but I'm really on the fence. I'm not at that point yet to be ready to delete it, but I think someday I might be!

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  3. i ditched my facebook account a little over a year ago too! and oooh-my-lanta it was such a great decision.
    i would find myself knee deep in pictures of my bestfriends-boyfriends-cousin-in-law-three-times-removed and wonder how the hell i was there and why i was caring about their pictures. it was such a waste of my time, yet it was like a weird addiction.
    when i ditched it, i just ditched it. and never looked back. my boyfriend came home a couple days later and goes 'ummm why dont i have a girlfriend anymore?' then he deleted his account.
    people still look at me like im from the dark ages when i tell them i dont have a facebook, but whatev.

    so congrats on making it a year! and cheers to many many more drama free years!

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  4. I think you're totally right that you have to be ready. I'm not yet :p I do however need to seriously purge my friends list and get rid of the people I really don't need to keep there.

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  5. I dislike facebook also. My husband and I made the decision to "trash it" and I'm seriously doing so much with my free time :) Through, its only been about 2 weeks for me...I will make it!

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  6. I don't hate Facebook, but I am finding over time that I rely on it less and less as a form of communication. Sometimes it even feels like a burden, like I HAVE to check my Facebook. I know it don't. But it's muscle memory! Every couple of months I whittle down my friends list to try and streamline- but even that doesn't weed all the nonsense out. Someday!!!! :)

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  7. You are my inspiration! I am slowly reaching the point in my life where I am ready. I am almost there, but not quite yet. Maybe next Easter :)

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  8. I got rid of FB for lent last year and shockingly didn't mind... I try not to have it on my phone anymore because it can give me anxiety! I try to use it for professional reasons..my occupation is big on using it as a resource to get the word out!

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  9. Yes, yes, and one hundred more yeses. I always find that Facebook leads me to have the most petty feelings in the world....that I don't love my boyfriend enough, that I'm not traveling enough, that I'm not something enough. Everything becomes so petty, and even though sometimes I think *some* of those feelings are helpful (am I actually unhappy at my job? do I actually want to live some place else?), mostly I feel burdened like I'm trying to fulfill someone else's life. Which leads to me feeling so unhappy. But I totally agree on the quitting and removing it. I'm practically there. Practically.

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  10. I an on the verge of getting rids of Facebook altogether. I hardly log on, and to be real it makes me crazy that my family is so involved with it. I don't really care about all of those little events anymore.

    We can be non-facebooking bloggers together

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  11. You should be the spokesperson for the "You can deactivate Facebook and still have friends/life/sanity" campaign.

    Lesbehonest, Twitter is where it's at.

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  12. You inspire me...you (and all these reasons) are why I deactivated Facebook. I pretty much could have written this entire blog post...except not nearly as witty and eloquently. ;)

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  13. I should do it. I just should. but I like to harrass my family on public forums that just can't be done anywhere else other than facebook.

    that's the real reason I haven't deleted it.

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  14. My heart also races whenever I log in, and not in a good way. I've thought about deactivating so many times but I was worried I'd lose all of my friends back home...but maybe it would be a good way to find out who my friends really are? As cliché as that sounds... It's good to know you did it and survived! ;)

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  15. A few years ago, I went from a crazy number of "friends" on Facebook down to a much more manageable number. Like, a realistic number. Because I had (and have) no desire to get rid of it completely, I just kept people I was actually friends with on there. Gets rid of the bulk of the drama and I can keep up with people I actually care about. Everyone has their own deal- and I think it's awesome that you were able to go out completely!

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  16. Hmmmmm....I CAN'T. No, I can't. But maybe deleting the app would be a good first step for me...I've been deleting people left and right lately though.

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  17. I went no-TV about...oh, gawds, is it really almost TEN YEARS AGO?...and I've noticed that now, if I'm in a house that has the TV on, commercials do the same thing to me. The heart rate, the overwhelming attack of data -- it actually affects my mood, too. Panic edges into a sort of fearful anger, I get all worked up at the richly-voiced invisible narrators shouting at me about things I didn't want to know about.

    Interestingly enough, the way I find about the shows I watch (via streaming) are usually shown to me by friends who know my interests - wait for it - via Facebook. :P

    Glad you got away from an unecessary stressor...sometimes people follow happiness formulas (Ex: cake = great, ergo more cake = better, ergo ALL THE CAKE = 100% AWESOME) and not realize that their casual forms of entertainment aren't necessarily totally positive influences. You resisted, and freed yourself -- way to self-care, and not get suckered by "fun" formulas!

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  18. I have been slowly getting rid of people on FB but then someone will go and post a photo of Pauly Shore (wearing a Pauly Shore t-shirt) at the Portland airport, and I am thankful I got to witness that hot mess.

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  19. I don't have a desire to get rid of it, because it is a great tool to keep in touch with family members and friends who I don't really talk to much. I guess if I don't talk to them, maybe I should just... not. If that makes sense. But I like being able to share my photos. It's hard nowadays because I'm a stay-at-home mom, FB is sort of my social gathering when I don't have anyone else to chat with during the day except a toddler.

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  20. yeah....my sisters would do away with me if i deactivated my fb account before i get married and move away from them. lol.
    on the other hand, i enjoy keeping up with whatever stuff i do allow in my newsfeed from the friends and family i actually care about. i AM one of those people who has some friends they don't want to keep up with but are friends with anyways and have hidden their facebook activities from my viewing unless i click on their name.....but they don't know it.
    hahah.

    well.

    we all either find a type of balance in the buckets of social interactive apps that are available, or we trim down completely. to each their own.
    i really enjoy reading your blog, btw. just wanted to say that. :) <3

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  21. ive literally been right there with you lady! i finally decided to delete my facebook, and make it stay deactivated, the first day of november. and i am so much happier without it! like you said, that worry that people would forget you exist was there but the truly important people always have a way of finding themselves back into your life. props to you lady! facebook no more!

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  22. Well done, girl. I hate it too and it usually upsets me, but i have some people there that I probably would lose contact with if I didn't stay there, so I'll stay there. But I rarely post anything and I have a group named "special people" where I only have the important people, so what I do write is only visible for them..good thing they added that feature. Otherwise I probably wouldn't stay.

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