Wednesday, November 27, 2013
My Breakup With Facebook
I broke up with Facebook a week ago. I have yet to be compelled in clicking on my phone or laptop to see what others are up to or what fabulous life they are navigating in the world. My relationship to it lasted five years. It was an amicable parting. I acquired a good deal of knowledge about the power of sharing, over sharing, the notion of mystery, and the art of becoming more understanding and respectful; however, here are the reasons I fled.
1. Gloating about every virtual achievement, promotion, relationship, relative, child, party, thought, vacation, birthday, anniversary, opinion, view, success, injustice, complaint, rant, every photograph, place one has visited, or is going to, restaurant or bar frequented, other places subsequently arriving to, what one ordered for their meal, and every person your eating or doing it with, some of which I was guilty of. Longing for that beloved reply to a posting, just to witness one's reaction, when ironically many were from a group of friends kept at bay who truly don't know who I am, who don't care what I do or where I am doing it. Anonymity can go a long way in a city of 9 million residents.
2. Feeling insecure, inadequate, envious, sad, jealous, slighted, ignored, doubtful, secretly hostile, juvenile, competitive about the things, loved ones and fate that was not handed to me, insensitive to others' beliefs and politics (even when they are far right, which was harder than I thought) not thinking before I responded to a post, making snap judgments, allowing my imagination to get the better of me, overindulging in what ifs, pondering if someone cared.
3. Allocating precious efforts to updating my wall and background when I could have been writing and committing to creative projects. Its surprising how a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, evening, and before bedtime attribute to: an hour, which accounts for seven hours a week on Facebook, seven hours that could be spent exercising, reading, writing, or hanging out with a good friend, which ultimately accounts for 28 hours a month, and 336 hours a year on FB, which in the end, 336 hours x 5 years = 1,680 hours spent on Facebook since my relationship began and ended. Essentially that is three full months of my life, 24/7, I will never get back. Imagine that. Staggering.
4. Accessing everyone's thoughts and locations, having hundreds of those thoughts and postings from others in my head, which while some made me smile, I still felt disconnected and empty. I guess I was also lazy about taking a moment to email or call someone. Why have to when its on FB? I felt it enabled me to connect through a screen, not bothering to reach out, knowing all too well what others are up to, even when you don't see or hear from them in months, if not years.
5. Wanting to develop healthier ties to my real circle of friends. As far as I checked, email, texting, and other shared forms of social media exist, proving to remain far more effective, in my opinion, when trying to access someone you long for. I also learned that reaching out to those who are near and dear requires an effort. Those are my truest, most sincere friends. I can reach them whenever I want as they do with me. I don't need FB to facilitate that.
6. Having access to every individual from my past seemed unnatural. While I hope all are well, I didn't need or want to be reconnected to every former co-worker, childhood friend, college classmate, former boss, acquaintance, and so forth from my past that I was once connected to, but no longer am. Another clincher was having everyone know when I logged on with the pesky green button lit up to the right, informing others when I was on, lacking any shred of privacy surrounding the activity.
7. Being misunderstood with my responses to posts or lack there of. Its incredible how even the most secure person can conjure a jolt of anger if you don't reply with something witty or make a casual remark. Again, the immature aspect of myself lurked out when I lingered on FB. Certainly not a quality I take pride in.
When I announced the decision to leave on my wall, I sent out personalized messages to most, who I have every intention of staying in touch with and having in my life, people I deeply care for. I added many to an organized contact list on Google, chalked with phone numbers, addresses, and birthdays. I began to do it because I wanted to see if I could actually pull it off and if I would feel better about the direction of my social path.
"Is everything all right?" asked one friend. Or, "What made you want to do it?" asked another.
I found myself defensive, justifying the reason to leave, when it clearly had nothing to do with them, and everything to do with my peace of mind.
I don't think any less of others who continue to remain loyal to the site. If it works for them, so be it. Most of my close friends still have an active account. I admit, I'll miss seeing their colorful photos and like buttons.
There are awkward moments when I realize I won't be able to witness one's relationship, work, or location status with a simple touch on the smartphone app. But, then I look at how lighter I am, ten metaphorical pounds to be exact, and how much ample time I can figure other stuff out.
During five full years, questions were raised in my afterthoughts regarding how I viewed myself and others, and how I was benefiting from it. I don't have many answers, but I know I wanted to feel better about who I am without the constraint of pressure and social influence. On FB, my self-esteem grew distorted when I tried to reassure myself that I was fine the way I was when reminded of how richer someone's life is.
Facebook emailed me twice as I clicked close account in bold letters. "Are you sure you wish to deactivate? Your friends will miss you. Are you sure?" They even had yellow sad faces to accompany it, as if it made a difference. What am I? A child?
Yes, FB, I am sure you will miss me. No one is holding me hostage or putting a gun to my head. I received an additional email with an option to reactivate my account. It felt like I was escaping a cult who are waiting in open arms when you choose to return. No thanks. I honestly saw myself impinging on people's sacred, treasured moments. Being a voyeur isn't all that.
Breaking up with someone or something is not simple. I contemplated this for a year. I devised a list, detailing the pros and cons, fully aware of its impact before I took the plunge. It was a window of opportunity and I took it. Of course, there is always the off chance of going back to FB, much like one can do with a former boyfriend whom you still hold a torch for. I don't know about you, but I want to move forward, not backward.
I am certain for now, if not indefinitely, the charade, gig, game, whatever you wish to call is over. I have Linkedin, Twitter, and Google Plus. My articles, updates and shared stories will be available to read if ever and whenever you're curious. I hope to see all of you on some of these pages and for you to share with me your latest news and updates.
Goodbye Facebook. I hold gratitude for our special memories. XXOO.