I quit Facebook three weeks ago, and it wasn’t what I thought it would be.
I thought it was going to be terrible. Instead, it turned out to be even better than I expected.
The agonizing part was hitting the delete button. I suffered from a brief moment of intense anxiety but once I did the inevitable, I was surprised to feel intense relief and a strange kind of pressure lifting from somewhere at the back of my mind that I didn’t know existed.
The next day, I woke up feeling so light, not hearing the incessant dings nor seeing the red flashing light of notifications coming in.
Also, I have regained a lot of my time. I used to complain I didn’t have enough time for everything that I wanted to do. Now I know why.
I realized Facebook was my trigger for a huge percentage of time wastage. I say that because scrolling down my Facebook feed always got me going into one article and video after another. It was a rabbit hole of shiny distractions.
With Facebook and Messebger gone, I suddenly have time to write more and read more. I am learning new things and planning to do more. New perspectives are coming to light that otherwise I would have ignored with Facebook.
It is hard to let go. Took me months of serious introspection, carefully weighing the pros and cons of joining the #DeleteFacebook movement.
Could I do it? My heart was saying yes but sometimes my brain would take over, and I’d begin to doubt the logic behind it.
Ten years of Facebook is serious business, representing a huge chunk of my life in the age of social media. I needed to stay updated with family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. I wasn’t sure I could let go.
I also thought of the messages I’d be missing, the fun group chats from everyone in my social circle, the notifications to events, and the invites.
I didn’t want to miss out on the ease that having Facebook at my fingertips afforded.
Then came Zuck’s admission early last month that Facebook had accidentally given away 87 million accounts. That tipped the balance for me.
There are many articles that talk of the technicalities of the information breach and I’m sure you’re familiar with it by now. If not, then doing a quick Google search will help.
The first step in letting go of Facebook is recognizing that you need to delete your account. The next is in the hows.
Here is a step by step account from Hackernoon’s Your Facebook Data is creepy as hell.
You will feel that you are doing the right thing but you will also go through a host of excuses such as:
“What about the memories? I can’t simply let that go!”
Before you decide to delete your account, you can download everything you’ve ever done and posted on Facebook (also outlined in Hacker Noon’s article).
That’s a good thing if you’re the sentimental kind, but once you receive the archive in your email and go through the files, you’ll find how creepy it is that Facebook has everything on you, including the things you thought you deleted.
That realization made it easier for me to decide. No one should ever have that much information on anyone.
“But I need to be updated!”
Oh no, honey, you do not. That’s the addicted part of your brain talking. There is no reason why you should know everything that’s going on in the world.
Come on, do you really want to know about that fly floating on a friend’s cup of coffee or another friend posting about a missing key on his keyboard? Not to mention where a friend had his shiny red car named Ziggy washed? Do you really want to be inundated with the countless complaints of your Facebook friends or their rants?
If your answer is yes then you might want to take a good, hard look at your own life and your priorities.
Here’s something you might want to think about when you get into that FOMO — fear of missing out — funk. Since Facebook has only been around for the past thirteen years or so, then it’s safe to assume that you have, more or less, known a life without it. Before Facebook, did you really want to know everything that your neighbors were up to? And did you want strangers in on what you have been doing?
Think of Facebook as this one big neighborhood where not everyone is a close friend and therefore do not really need to know everything about you. Nor you them.
“How can I let my close friends know what’s up with me and how do I let my family know I’m fine?”
Make a phone call. Send a text message or an email. Maybe send a letter through the mail, the good old-fashioned way even. Have a real conversation face to face. It doesn’t matter how you do it as long as you reach out. Socialize in the real world the way generations of people have done for thousands of years.
The past three weeks, friends I haven’t talked to in a long while called me to ask if I was okay. These are people I haven’t actually talked to over the phone in years who were very concerned. I question the logic behind the intent — as if not finding me on Facebook meant I was going through tough times or that something was wrong with me — but I did enjoy touching base with these people.
Nothing like a good laugh in real life with the person you’re talking to instead of those ubiquitous emojis or gifs on a screen that sub for real human emotion.
These were my excuses. Perhaps you can come up with more. Whatever these are, think things through to the minutest detail, if you wish. List down the pros and cons.
Personally, I hope you decide that it is not worth supporting a company that cares nothing about your privacy but cares only about making more money out of the one thing you can offer them: your information. It is a precious commodity in this hyperconnected and algorithm-obssessed world. High time you protect it.