Why I Quit Facebook
16Mar 2015
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I’ll admit it… I was a “late-bloomer” to the world of social networking.

After years of overhearing stories about the awesomeness of Facebook, and feeling like I was a little out of the loop with the latest happenings of our trendy new online world, I finally jumped on the Facebook bandwagon.

And after years of adhering to my own daily Facebook routine, 3 months ago I finally made the somewhat outlandish decision to delete my account, and quit Facebook for good (my ultimate STOP DOING list item from Bootcamp!).

Now don’t get me wrong.  I know that Facebook serves a valuable purpose, especially for those who need to network with the masses in order to share their valuable messages; Bloggers, business people, companies, etc.… It is an incredible tool for people able to apply discipline and use it with moderation and purpose.  But I realized that for me, at this point in my life, I personally don’t have a real purpose for using it.

And because it’s Social month here at Lifebook, I thought I’d offer some rationale behind my seemingly anti-social decision, and share some insight into what constitutes truly fulfilling social experiences (and digital leisure time) for me.

Here are 6 reasons I decided to quit Facebook:

1.  I Was Addicted To Boredom

Bored?  Hop on Facebook.

Want to kill time?  Hop on Facebook.

Find yourself in an awkward face-to-face interaction with a real live human being?  Hop on Facebook!

And once you’re there you can browse and scroll and browse again, until there’s nothing left to see, and you feel like your eyeballs are going to burn out.

And, if you’re like me while you’re browsing, you’re thinking to yourself how boring and useless nearly every bit of information is that you’re willingly taking into your brain.

What?!?!

Why would anyone subject themselves to such mental torture?

I’ll tell you why I did… Because it’s easy.  It’s addicting, because all you have to do is type the letter “f” into your browser (assuming Facebook is, indeed, your most commonly visited web address beginning with the letter f) and boom: you have the magical opportunity to make the next 15 minutes disappear in a flash, with mindless reality entertainment.

The question I finally asked myself is, how can I EVER allow myself be bored?  Why am I consciously squandering my time, and not even enjoying it?

Growing up, my Dad always told me “only boring people get bored.”  It’s up to YOU to use your time wisely, productively and creatively.  It’s like that quote… “As if you could kill time without damaging eternity.”

So I’ve kicked the habit and stopped indulging in boredom once and for all.

2.  I Had Traded QUALITY for QUANTITY

Facebook gave me an unconscious excuse to hide behind the curtain in my real-life relationships… “I know what you’re doing, and you know what I’m doing, without us ever actually needing to speak to one another.  And as long as I’ve engaged with your recent posts, I can feel as though we’re in a mutually supportive, effective relationship… right??”

Yikes!

My daily social capacity had hit its threshold and become filled with the monotonous happenings of not only my dearest friends, but also of people I don’t even really enjoy.  The random hordes of Facebook “friends” I had unintentionally acquired were stealing all of my social bandwidth, while simultaneously boring me to death.

It’s amazing how quickly your Facebook friend list can spin out of control.  By the time I quit, I had somehow acquired HUNDREDS of “friends” that I never talked to, or thought about, outside of Facebook (and mostly for good reason).  The majority of these people I had known in my past – some of whom I’d loved and enjoyed at some point in my life, and others I can honestly say I never enjoyed at all.

In quitting Facebook, I’ve limited my social interactions to only the people I choose to exchange with.  I’m in control of who I expose myself to.  And most of the time, it’s in the form of real-life connection – either face-to-face or over the phone.

What a joy it is to pull back the Facebook curtain and become re-absorbed into the world of genuine, expansive, tangible human interactions.  I’ll take quality over quantity any day.

3.  I Was Putting My Life On Display

This was a big one for me.  Every time I would post a photo, a quote, or a little love note to my husband, I felt like I was making a declaration to the world about who I am, what I’m like, and how I live my life- or at least how I want to be seen doing these things- and it gave me an icky feeling.

I realized that for me, these should be personal things that I want to reserve only for myself and my closest loved ones.  I don’t need the world to see the latest photo that I look fabulous in, or know that at 3:15 in the afternoon I’m daydreaming about my lover.

Sharing can be a very powerful thing.  But in my experience, sharing done recklessly and with no real purpose can extract the magic from the thing being shared.  And I want to hold onto all the life magic I can get.

4.  Other People Were Putting THEIR Lives On Display

Regardless of who my Facebook “Friends” were, or how I knew them, 90% of my online buddies weren’t even my buddies, and didn’t have any relationship or interaction with me whatsoever, outside of this digital world.

Yet, I’d find myself sitting hunched over my iPhone, scrolling mindlessly through the dozens of boring posts these people were making each moment of each day.

Sally just checked into Butterfly sushi… Evan made himself a paleo lunch… Sean took a selfie in his driver’s seat…  Crystal was having a very stressful day driving her kids to and from their various activities.

When did play-by-plays of the mundane details of people’s lives become entertainment??

The final deal-breaker occurred during a trip I took to Canada with my closest group of girlfriends (who I refer to as my soul-sisters and love with ALL my heart, mind you).  But I’ll admit it… they are social media junkies.  And it really hit me when as were gazing out over the ledge, in awe of the magnificence that is Niagra Falls, having our photo taken by a random passerby…  Immediately (and I mean IMMEDIATELY) after our photographer handed the phones back with the newly taken pictures in their photo library, my friends began editing and posting them to Facebook, Instagram, and the like.  Just like that, I watched them transition from total awe over a one-of-a-kind wonder of the world, to living the experience vicariously through the eyes of their digital friends.  They consumed the experience and spit it out within a matter of seconds.

I LOVE my friends.  Without them, I simply would not be who I am today.  But after this experience I realized exactly WHY I had to quit Facebook.  Because I had been guilty of doing the exact same thing before.  And it made me feel wasteful, distracted, and a little less “real.”

5.  I Was Devouring My “Down Time”

We all have down time, whether we choose to believe it or not.  This is the time when we are not actively productive… When we retreat to the little islands of indulgence throughout our days, however large or small.

And as a Facebook junkie I had become addicted, not only to using up most of my free time online, but also CREATING free time simply to spend a couple moments seeking distraction from the task at hand.  Facebook had become my #1 career distraction, and the only respite I had between responsibilities, which was draining to say the least.

In the busyness of our daily lives, any shred of free time we create for ourselves should be conscious, treasured, and enjoyed.  Down time should be a time for replenishment and supplementation of energy.

Now I spend my down time more fruitfully, and I actually seem to have more of it to enjoy because I’ve disciplined it.  I’ve designated moments throughout my day for different things… I take breaks to stretch, read, cuddle with my love, and even take naps, when necessary. I’ve taken back control over my down time, and can’t believe the difference it makes for me energetically.

6.  I Was Cluttering My Mind

It’s amazing how even the smallest, seemingly unimportant information you take into your brain sticks itself to you and clogs up your mental space.  Sure, there were plenty of times that I would stumble upon valuable resources while surfing Facebook. But they were few and far between, and sifting through the trash just wasn’t worth finding the treasure.

Since quitting Facebook, I’ve freed myself from the barrage of useless information that was piling up and cluttering my mind, and I’ve taken a much more proactive approach to finding inspirational content.  Instead of browsing through dozens of useless posts to find one great article, video, or website, I’ve cut out the middleman and gone straight to searching for the gold.  I’ve compiled a list of all my favorite, most reliable sites, and when I’m in the mood for some artistic inspiration, I dive right in.

In closing, I’d like to make one thing very clear.

This is my way of taking responsibility for the way that I use my time online.  An alternative way would have been to simply discipline how I use Facebook.  I didn’t HAVE to post personal things about myself (although that would kind of defeat the purpose of having an account, right?).  I didn’t HAVE to browse through the news feed, and I certainly didn’t have to do it 5 times a day.  I could have filtered my home page to only feed me posts from the people I care about.  I could have purged my friends list.  There are dozens of ways I probably could have customized my Facebook experience to make it more enjoyable.

Like I said before, I think Facebook is a miraculous tool for those who apply discipline, and use it with moderation and purpose.  But for me, it just simply wasn’t worth the effort.  I’m an all or nothing kind of girl, I suppose, and I just decided to jump ship.

And let me tell you, the world DOES go on outside of Facebook!  Part of me thought that if I deleted my account I would somehow be sucked into a vortex and transported into a timeless, spaceless vacuum where I would remain disconnected from the world for all eternity.

The truth is, quitting Facebook was a breeze.  Worries about staying in touch with my more distant loved ones have been curbed by good old-fashioned emails and phone calls, and I’ve started working on our beloved family travel blog again, to satisfy my photo journaling fix.

It’s truly amazing how one simple item on my STOP DOING list could make such a drastically positive and all-encompassing change in so many areas of my life.

What are some of your life-changing STOP DOING items??

2 comments “Why I Quit Facebook”

  • Margaret
    March 17, 2015
    12:10 pm

    I loved this post – I agree with everything you say. Not sure I can quit completely but you’ve inspired me to severely limit my Facebook usage. Thanks!

  • Connie Gersteling
    March 17, 2015
    12:10 pm

    I love this article. So glad to hear there are ‘others’ that feel that fb time is an addiction that can be overcome! And, that life after fb is actually fulfilling. Some of my clients nearly go through withdrawal while their phone is off during sessions.

    Personally, I despise going out with friends and they are spending 80% of dinner, a movie, coffee catch up or even at weddings with their head down and fingers madly keying. They can’t understand how I can go days without checking fb and that I take maybe one photo a year and share!

    Thank you for sharing… and allowing me to share as well!!!!

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