I’ve been away from Facebook for a few weeks. After writing a journal entry in which I listed 7 reasons gale leave Facebook, without even having to pause to consider them, I realized it was definitely time to make the leap. And since I’m an “all or nothing” sort of personality (is that part of having an addictive personality?!) I had to deactivate the account, not just log out indefinitely. (Since my husband is also an administrator for the Orange Plume page on Facebook, that’s still up.)
Before I list the reasons, I want to be clear that I’m fully aware that at one time or another I’ve been guilty of at least half or more of them! This list isn’t meant to be judgmental as much as it is drawing a line in the sand for some perspective.
7 Reasons Why I Quit Facebook
1. Selfies. Facebook, by its very nature, promotes vanity and the fosters the need to impress, a “look at me,” sort of mentality is perpetuated by how many “likes” someone can attain. Especially susceptible seem to be the younger set and bored homemakers. Related to this point–basing one’s value on how many “likes” can be acquired for a post. Unfortunately, our culture has evolved to that point, even my second-graders want to be esteemed for their creative play by having me post it on Facebook (oh dear, what have I done!?)
2. Play-by-plays. During major sporting events or season finales on television, you can often see someone’s play-by-play on their feed, up to 20 entries! They read something like, “Seriously Manning? Get with the program!” or “I cannot believe the mother was the killer!” (thanks for the spoilers, by the way.) Not really interested in anyone’s virtual emoting. If I was watching on the couch next to you, then I’d care.
3. Hostile People. There are a lot of land mines out there. I’ve stepped on many of them by naively offering my opposing point of view thinking the recipient would (surely) understand my good intentions. I’ve even had a couple of people I thought were real friends “un-friend” me. Never mind the people I only met online or at a party once and then had them unfriend me. It’s just too much drama and so easy to misinterpret people–and be misinterpreted–online.
4. Brag Book Syndrome. Related to selfies but not quite the same thing are the brag book entries. I want to care about all of humanity, but I just can’t. Instead I’m left with the feelings “uhh,” “meh,” or worse, envy. It’s just too many people out there sharing too many things for me to genuinely care. An acquaintance from high-school got a raise, wonderful for them! A friend I haven’t seen in years is buying their dream home, fantastic. So-and-so’s kid got the leadership award at school, good for them! But it’s just too much information, literally.
5. Too Much Information Which brings me to my next point: it’s all just too much information. I don’t watch television news anymore because I don’t believe God intended us to be aware of every murder, theft, and minor event in the 100 mile radius of our homes. I’ve realized that Facebook is just too much information about people for me to digest, even if I’m just on it for 1/2 hour a day (less than the average person but way more than I personally can handle.) When I deactivated my account I had upwards from 665 Facebook connections. I probably “followed” 100 of them. I’ve decided my brain’s energy is too precious to dedicate to people I hardly ever see. The ones who are super important to me–and I have several long distance friendships I hold tight and dear–I’ve always kept close bonds with even without Facebook. The others who are local can expect me to be calling them up for some face time a little more often now.
6. MLM Promotions. I understand the need to promote your business, and for about five minutes in my life I even had my own Multi-Level-Marketing company, so I get it. But I’m tired of being casually pursued as a candidate for a business. I have a couple of people I patronize for their products, but I pursued them. I have never bought anyone’s stuff because they reached out to me. And I hate dissing people’s online parties, too. I don’t need any added guilt in my life! No Facebook = no problem.
7. Quality vs. Quantity Relationships. How easy is it to “like” someone’s feed? That is obvious and I’m as guilty as anyone for the “I’m clicking ‘like’ to show you I read this and care” response to someone’s post. I’ve just gotten to the point where that feels so hollow. I’ve always been old-fashioned and written snail mail letters, even with the advent of email. But once Facebook came about, my snail mail correspondence nearly died. I thought it was because my children were born at nearly the same time as Facebook started into the mainstream (2007), but I’m thinking it also has to do with the insta-connection I felt with Facebook. It took me a long time but I think I’ve finally come to a place where I’d rather be missing out on every single event that happens to people than try to keep up and spend my energy on it. This comes from a person who hates missing out on anything! But I’m striving for quality now. In fact, I’m feeling relieved being away from the social network.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know if this is forever, but for now I’m feeling so much peace that I hope more people will follow suit.
December 2015 UPDATE: After six months’ resting time I’m back on Facebook. I value its uses for social and business connection, and feel rested from its downsides. Here’s hoping!