I deleted my Facebook account this week. Well, it’s in the process of being deleted. Facebook actually makes you go through this 14-day waiting period in case you have decided you made a mistake and want to save your profile. Deleting a Facebook account is not even easy. It is easy to deactivate an account, but to actually delete one takes some digging and a lot of help from Google and wiki how to make it happen.
I have spoken about digital sabbaticals and pulling the cord before. This time, I am taking a huge plunge and ridding myself of all social media, with the exception of this blog. Since I have retired from my time as a college student five months ago, some things have come to light that helped me to make this decision.
First, in my efforts to rewind real slow, I have want to focus more on in-person relationships than the superfluous friendships that exist online. One of the things that has really irked me lately is how people would post to my Facebook wall when I was on digital sabbatical and gush about how much they missed me online, so that my friends and the world could see that this person misses me, yet this individual is incapable of picking up their phone to see how I’m doing. The fact that people are too lazy to conduct real-life relationships outside of a social networking environment is disturbing to me. I live in the real world, not virtual reality.
Second, I noticed that when I ran into some people in-person at the store who were “friends” on my Facebook list, that these individuals did not respond when I walked up to them with a smile to say “Hello and congratulate them on their pregnancy/engagement/etc,” but also deliberately turned around and walked away. They did it so fast that their shopping cart knocked over a display. If you cannot respond to my wishes of good fortune in real life, then I don’t need you on my Facebook list to see all your dirt.
Third, every time I did log into Facebook, I was not seeing the people I wanted to see. I was viewing advertisements. Lots of them. If I wanted to see what was going on with a particular person, I had to deliberately go to their profile. The last time that I logged onto Facebook, I quite literally counted 43 advertising posts/links before there was a single post displayed from someone on my friends list. It’s not like my friends are not posting. It’s that Facebook is more interested in trying to market to me than it is in truly allowing people to connect with each other.
Fourth, I have taken enough digital sabbaticals from Facebook these past few months to realize that I am not missing anything. I am not missing the anxiety, the constant checking, the reflex to the notifications; I do not care that one of my former classmates is about to marry a felon or that another of my classmates has reached level 42 on World of War craft. I do not care about any of that. If it’s not newsworthy enough for you to tell me over coffee or to pick up the phone, then I don’t need to know.
Another thing I have discovered is that most people are on Facebook for the shit show. Facebook is not a useful tool. It is entertainment.
It is not entertaining anymore.
Facebook was helpful when I was in school because I could connect with my classmates instantly when I was working on a project or just needed a study break to either see cute cat videos or commiserate online. Now that I am retired as a college student, I do not need that platform anymore. If I want to see the cute thing your kid did, you can email me a video, or better yet, invite me over so I can see them in person. Experiences are much better in real life than it is in pictures.
I received a rather grim prognosis relating to my autoimmune disorder this week, and it made me step up my efforts to live more fully. I want real people in my life, not fake people. I want meaningful interactions. Life is short, and I want to be present for all of it. If I truly mean something to someone, then you will make the effort to reach out to me in person.
That said, I have 14-days, now down to 11 days, to change my mind. I could potentially reactivate my Facebook account within that 14-day window and stop the deletion process. I could go through the deletion process, and then regret doing so in the future. I will keep you posted on whether or not this happens. I don’t think that it will, but you never know. I figure that the people in my life who are most important to me already have my phone number and/or email. If someone doesn’t, then they can ask for it.
I have one life to live, and now that I have more freedom and control over my life since I am not in school, I want to live in the moment. I want to enjoy every experience in my life fully like I was never before able to because I was always rushing from here to there or worrying about some paper I had to write.
I know a few other individuals who do not have a Facebook account, and they all seem like happy, well-adjusted people. It is ironic then, that when you decide to leave Facebook , the first thing people often ask is, “Are you okay?”
I am more than okay. I am great. I am living life on my own terms. I have plenty of free time to do what I want to do. The people who truly want to be in my life will make the effort to be there. Remember the 90s? Or even the 80s? This is what life was like before Facebook. There wasn’t anything wrong with that time. We had lots of fun, and are probably pretty lucky that Facebook didn’t exist to display some of the crazy things we did. (I came of age in the 90s, and I can tell you, it was a wild decade.) Thus, I am saying goodbye to Facebook.
While I am saying goodbye to Facebook, I am saying hello to you. I am glad you are here. Let’s rewind real slow.