Facebook, I quit you.
The social media site started in 2004 changed the world. It wasn’t the first in social media (remember MySpace Tom or open diary, anyone?), but it has completely changed the way humans interact. Like any topic the pros and cons can be debated, but for me. I need to break my addiction.
I’m calling it for what it is, Facebook is an addiction. It triggers all the emotions in humans to keep us coming back for more. Narcissism, “Hey, look at what I did (or ate, or saw, or created) today.” Anger, “How can that person (who I just met yesterday) support this or that presidential candidate. I’m going to write a lengthy post telling that human being they’re going to hell in hand basket for voting said way.” A sense of belonging, “Let’s post tons of selfies at this event so everyone can see all the fun we’re having while they sit at home jealous they can’t be here.”
For some of us we become Facebook masochists. We stalk our exes (don’t even act like you have no idea what I’m talking about). Jealousy steals our joy for other’s happiness (or perceived happiness anyway). FOMO as we see pictures of all the gatherings our friends (and acquaintances) are having while we are stuck at work. It’s like a mouth watering Devil’s food cake. We can’t just stop at one piece, and we can’t just log onto Facebook once throughout our day. It’s a train wreck, and we just can’t stop gawking.
After spending 10 years as a Facebook member, I realize how much angst it breeds in my life as of late. I’ve currently been wandering through a season of discontentment. I had an epiphany recently at my my hypocrisy of living a contented lifestyle stemming from the fact I have yet to take my own advice. Since Contented Gypsy is dedicated to contentedly living life, I’m taking my own advice to heart. I’m doing it. I’m cutting that umbilical cord, and deactivating my Facebook account (currently a big source of my disgruntlement).
Why on Earth would anyone want to cut themselves off from society you ask? Here are 7 reasons I’m taking a 30 day (or longer) sabbatical and pulling myself from the teeth of the pariah Facebook has become.
A common theme among anyone disconnecting themselves from Facebook is how much productive time is wasted with mind numbing, newsfeed scrolling, depression inducing minutes. Side note here. I know this is a common theme because I wasted a whole thirty minutes Google searching why disconnecting from Facebook is a great idea (which should have been red flag enough to why I need to leave the social media site). End side note.
I often think, “Oh I’ll just spend 5 minutes on Facebook.” Let’s say it’s only 5 times a day (let’s be honest, it’s often longer and more than just 5 times). 5 minutes 5 times a day becomes 25 minutes of my day I just spent reading memes I could give a crap about, another article on all the reasons why my political views suck, or reading all the vague booking from a friend that is “just over it.” I constantly complain about being too busy for yoga. Too busy for bible study. Too busy for my relationships.
By wisely reallocating my wasted 25 Facebook minutes, I just gained 25 extra minutes (let’s be honest, that’s a minimum figure) to do activities such as: watch an episode of The Middle (freaking love that show), read a chapter or two of a book, call a friend, nap, do a few vinyasas. Pray, read a Psalms (or three), cook a quick meal, vacuum, dust, walk around my neighborhood. The list is endless. I’m stoked even as I type this of the extra 25 minutes I’m getting back!
Used As A Crutch
Facebook has become crutch for those of us in awkward situations, whenever a lull in conversation happens, or a way to not look silly as we sit somewhere alone. I’ve lost track of the amount of times my phone, (more specifically Facebook) has become my go to in those situations.
Why is it so hard to brace uncomfortableness? Why is it we don’t want to observe our surroundings or people watch when we are by ourselves? People watching can be so interesting. I know because the floor is constantly trying to trip me, I talk to myself when I’m lost, or make funny faces when I’m figuring out directions. I’m sure whoever is people watching when I’m around is throughly entertained. When we don’t have our noses buried in our phones, we are much more approachable (read: who’s going to ask a woman out when she’s ensconced in her phone?).
You’re feeling ecstatic. You’re pissed off a someone. You had oatmeal for breakfast. The other driver who cut you off in traffic is an asshole. Those are all situations we encounter every day, and rather than deal with the emotions in the moment and move on, we focus on the event and proceed to share our angst with the world.
We no longer check our audience. Many statues we post (myself included) are really only for a handful of people, but we post as if the total amount of our “friends” care. They don’t. It is our page, and we are free to post as we wish, but who are we really posting for while we “hope that jerk gets what he deserves?”
I find myself often viewing events in my own life as “that would be a funny status.” I finally asked myself why can’t I just live in this moment rather than worry about posting this to Facebook. This change in mindset helped me to actually stay present and enjoy the moment.
It Is Not News
Often, I’ll see interesting facts, and I catch myself wanting to share them. Before I do I fact check through Snopes. 9 times out of 10, the story isn’t even real (and I’ve saved myself the embarrassment from posting fictional “news”). By the end of the day, said article is trending on my newsfeed. Facebook has become a lazy news source for inaccurate information. Instead of the 15 minutes in the morning I spend on Facebook (because as I said earlier, who actually spends 5 minutes on the site), I could be catching up on the latest news and staying informed on current events. Newsflash! Facebook is one big giant op-ed, and NOT a place to stay up to date on current events.
Just White Noise
Facebook becomes another source of noise. If we allow ourselves, we can be inundated with information 24/7. Facebook is just another avenue for advertising revenue and white noise to distract us. Recently I shared one Fox News article on my Dad’s page, and before I knew it every other post in my newsfeed was from Fox News. Where were all the posts from real people I befriended on Facebook?
It’s also become a catch all for every other websites. Gone is that “connectedness” people speak of. I no longer see posts from people in my life. Now my newsfeed is littered with memes, recipes, craft ideas, music, and all things Pinterest. And the worst part of all? Unlike Pinterest, if someone posts a recipe, I have no way of finding the deliciousness someone teased me with.
My newsfeed has become cluttered with internet junk. And let me tell you, I have enough clutter IRL (in real life for those who don’t speak internet teen) that I do not need to allow Facebook clutter to fill my time.
I watch older people on the plane and wonder how they can sit on a two hour flight just staring. Observing their surroundings. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone as baby step one (before deciding to hell with it, I’m quitting cold turkey). I caught myself automatically going to the app whenever I had a minute (literally even one minute) or I felt bored. Rather than embracing the boredom, I distracted myself with mindless chatter (see the “Just White Noise” point above).
If we don’t allow boredom to entertain our lives, how will we ever learn to entertain ourselves? Perhaps we’ll discover new activities we enjoy (such as cooking or knitting or coloring). Maybe, just maybe, it would be better for me to get up and go for a walk around the block when I feel a period of blah-ness happening rather than spend the time sitting on my butt draining my iPhone battery (not to mention it will help me lose those ten pounds I gripe about).
The Point Anyway?
Can someone please tell me the point of Facebook anyway? Often arguments for pro Facebookers involve connectivity. Sure, It’s allowed me to stay in contact with people who ordinarily may have fallen off my grid, but did we ever stop to think perhaps some people should stay off our radar? Often, I’ve allowed people to stay in my life much longer than they should. Ex-boyfriends for example, only to prove my life is fantastic without them! Who freaking cares? If the whole point is to prove to someone my life is great without them, my life really isn’t that great afterall.
When I think about the people I chat with regularly (including all my out of state and out of the country friends), Facebook is the minuscule way we stay in contact. Often we use WhatsApp, Facetime/Skype, email, text/imessage, phone calls to chat. Each of us get away from the lazy form of communication so we can grow our relationships into strong friendships
“Little girls think it’s necessary to put all their business on MySpace and Facebook, and I think it’s a shame…I’m all about mystery.” – Stevie Nicks
Don’t get me wrong. There have been people I’ve met, articles I’ve read, memes I’ve recycled all thanks to Facebook, but at the end of the day these are minute to my overall quality of life.
I want to walk out of this discontented season. I want to embrace joy. I want to share my political convictions with people who genuinely care. I want to take ridiculous amounts of pictures of my little white kitty and send them to my family who love her to death. I want to declutter my mind and just allow myself to get lost in the black hole that is Pinterest. I want to see the beauty of this world through the professional photographers on Instagram.
So for now I’ll just keep Tweeting, Instagramming, and Pinteresting.
Au revoir, Facebook.