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Why I quit Facebook

Short version: I've broken up with Facebook.

Long version, in the form of a mental conversation held with myself many, many times over the last couple of years:

Me: I need to cut back on all the ways I waste time.

Mind: Such as Facebook?

Me: Maybe, but, you know, other stuff too. All the activities that are mostly just adding to my stress instead of helping me.

Mind: So, Facebook.

Me: Haha, but it's handy to have a login there, in case people need to tag me.

Mind: So that you can come to the site and wind up wasting tons of time on Facebook.

Me: I guess, but also, I mean, the news, I should avoid the news. That's just an endless stream of upsetting stuff.

Mind: So is Facebook. Which also is half advertising and news stories these days.

Me: Well...I could just try avoiding Facebook but going to it sometimes...

Mind: We've tried that. You suck at it. You end up spending as much time there as ever. Pull the plug.

Me: But I have to keep my author page. Marketing says I have to.

Mind: So keep that. Pull the plug on the main one, though. You know it felt good that one time you did it before.

Me: Well...true...but people might forget about me.

Mind: People you've never met, or hardly ever see? You were just complaining about how you wanted more time to yourself, and more time for the people you know in real life.

Me: Hm. Then. Okay. Yes.

Also, I was tired of having snark lobbed at me on my page when I don’t do that on other people’s pages. Tired of people forgetting there are human beings on the other end of the internet. Tired of keeping track of everyone else’s drama. And tired of the clickbait, and the ads, and the hiding of posts, and everything else FB does wrong. I’m sure I do have “issues” to work out (look up "generalized anxiety disorder" and "highly sensitive person" to name two of the major ones), but I would submit that so do lots and lots of my friends list, and they may not even realize how much worse FB is making those issues.

Today in the wake of clicking the "delete" button, I feel drained and still tired, but lighter. Freer. Once I unhook the Pavlovian reaching for social media from my brain ("An interesting thought! I should post it on Facebook!"), I will probably be freer still. Of course, I did come back here, to social media, to discuss it, but LJ has always been better at being a solid and fairly sedate record of life, rather than a snark-comment badminton-match like Facebook. (And lately, like, almost no one is around on LJ anyway.)

Stuff I'm doing and enjoying instead: Amazon Prime's music library is pretty sweet. That has supplied me with a delightful soundtrack of all kinds of stuff the last few days. And I've been watching "Merlin" on Netflix, and am now in the early episodes of season 4. Adorable Arthuriana angst and sparkly magic and all-too-easy slash potential! Yay! And of course, loads more time for reading and writing. (The reading lately is book 2 of Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms series - fun mostly-teen high fantasy with a refreshing Native-American-like slant to some of the tribes.)

This weekend I plan to spend more time outdoors, sitting under leafy trees, gazing at Puget Sound, picking flowers, that kind of thing. May you be fortunate enough to do similar. Cheers!


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2015 03:42 am (UTC)
I hate it when you make a particularly sound argument.

I, for one, will miss the ever living schnooza out of you there. But, it means I will make more of an effort here!


May. 23rd, 2015 04:42 am (UTC)
Luckily our fiction projects will keep us in touch regularly enough! And we'll see if I last with this social media diet or what... but it feels right tonight. Talk to you on some channel or another!
May. 23rd, 2015 04:24 am (UTC)
I find myself having a similar debate and making similar arguments to myself. I keep asking why the hell I stay on Facebook and keep going back to it.

It's not just the massive time sink it seems to have become, but I also feel like it has displaced a lot of actual, real-world contact with friends. People I used to talk to and see regularly that I now only seem to have contact with via Facebook. And even then, that contact is impersonal.

I haven't cut the cord yet, but I think it's about time. The reign of the Evil Book of Faces needs to end.
May. 23rd, 2015 04:44 am (UTC)
Exactly; I don't even want to try to calculate the amount of time I've wasted on Facebook over the past six years that I could have used for real life activities, including writing and reading and other rather more useful endeavors. It's an insidious thing, because it almost feels like real contact, but ultimately it's a poor substitute. Mind you, we'll see if I stick to this and how I feel after a couple of weeks...I'll feel better, I predict, but we shall see!
May. 23rd, 2015 05:31 am (UTC)
no better solution for posting baby pics for relatives :(
May. 23rd, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
I do regret the easier connection with family...but even they were adding unnecessarily to the day-to-day stress sometimes, just from my fretting about their momentary bad mood and such. So, back to email I'll probably go, for most things. Dropbox, Shutterfly, Instagram...? They're not as easy, but there are ways if you honestly want off FB.
May. 23rd, 2015 11:33 pm (UTC)
I agree with pretty much everything you've said here...but living 750 miles away from my entire family means that if I want to see pictures of all their kids and new babies and weddings and keep up with all their life events, it's almost a necessity. The upside is my page stays pretty much drama-free, so it doesn't cause me anxiety.
May. 24th, 2015 04:55 pm (UTC)
Hey, if it's not a problem, then it's not a problem. :) I do want to keep up with that stuff to at least some extent, so if after a few weeks I feel dreadfully out of the loop, I'll leave open the possibility of rejoining with a severely curtailed list of "friends." But then I'd also feel bad for not re-adding some of the perfectly nice people I knew there, so...hrm.
May. 24th, 2015 12:25 pm (UTC)
I've always been too much of an introvert for facebook but have been having the same conversation myself about tumblr and other things. Finally decided to take a forty day fast from it and a slew of political and/or homeschooling blogs.

It's not been as difficult as expected. Now rereading LotR for the first time in forever.

Edited at 2015-05-24 12:28 pm (UTC)
May. 24th, 2015 05:05 pm (UTC)
The re-opened time for reading is especially nice! I expect I'll feel pretty great once I get used to the strange feeling of not being around there. I have a Tumblr login, technically, but haven't ever been active there. I hear it can be quite the snarky place in some corners.
May. 24th, 2015 05:52 pm (UTC)
I was an early adopter, and early quitter
Back in the mid oughts, I told my friends that if they wanted to keep in touch, they HAD to use facebook. I was a huge fan of it and what it could do. When I realized it wasn't for me (for the reasons you state above and others - mainly that it (and a lot of social media) promotes narcissism - I quit. Best thing I ever did. I do use it now for work, I creep on my authors mostly (!) and use it to manage my work facebook page, but even that one I find a bit useless. I find get more real interaction via twitter and instagram and following blogs.

I don't like facebook, the feed is manipulated and there's too many promotions and ads. It's not real time and it's not an open format like twitter. Plus, now it's really complicated! It used to be quite simple, but not anymore. It feels like a big algorithm. It's not personal like it was.

When all is said and done, the interwebz is amazing, but in small doses. It's more important for me to carry out real world interactions and I think the younger generations will figure that out way sooner than we did.
May. 24th, 2015 09:14 pm (UTC)
Re: I was an early adopter, and early quitter
All well said! If it weren't so manipulated, I'd feel less resentment and might have stuck it out, but it's just too much a hot mess. And makes us all hot messes if we get too involved in it. :)

Of the people I know who've quit FB, most have not returned, which makes me think this is not only the right choice but a choice that will soon feel fabulous. (Right now it still feels a bit strange and withdrawal-ish.)

I do wonder how the younger generation will handle the constant online nature of the world. From what I've seen of teens, they're actually much more sane about it than I currently am (or would have been at their age). :)
Jun. 28th, 2015 08:44 pm (UTC)
Wasted Time
I don't believe there is no such thing as wasted time.
Jun. 30th, 2015 10:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Wasted Time
This may be true. I did make connections and learn things. And in any case, probably no point in berating myself for "wasting time" when I can't take back what's happened!
Aug. 8th, 2015 05:01 am (UTC)
I'll send you an old-school email...
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )