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Why I Left Facebook

Updated on August 12, 2018

First, I have to apologize to the sacred cows. I offer contrition to the holy bovines because I'm going to make a blasphemous statement:

Facebook is unnatural.

Really, I'm not picking on just Facebook. Social media in general does not reflect the way relationships were and are designed to work. I'm not saying it's bad for every purpose, but I think being aware of its limitations in healthy. I'm only using Facebook as an example because it's a universal reference.

After years on social media, I inactivated most of my accounts a couple of years ago. I did so after an inventory of all aspects of my life, motivated by two goals:

1. a desire to have more peace in my life, and

2. to make the best possible use of my time.

Here are my reasons for leaving Facebook, and I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below. Have you had similar experiences?

T.M.I.

I was just getting too much information about people . . . information I didn't need to know.

In some cases, this meant friends broadcasting indiscriminately the most intimate details of their lives. Following someone's divorce, for instance, play-by-play didn't feel good to me. But this isn't even the information I'm talking about; I could at least understand that while that person used very poor judgment, it was therapeutic to share as they processed the experience. Innocent enough.

I mean this type of information:

Take Lola, your former coworker. At work, you stayed in safe conversation zones: the boss, weekend plans, kids. So neither of you had any idea that, say, you're a "liberal elite" and she's "a deplorable" (joking, of course). Now on Facebook, she's re-posting Fox News updates, and your skin is crawling as you play whack-a-mole trying to keep that stuff off your timeline. And vice-versa for Lola.

This scenario checked both boxes for me: it did not create more peace in my life, nor was it a productive use of my time.

This scenario checked both boxes: it did not create more peace in my life, nor was it a productive use of my time.

Arguments

I could say here political arguments specifically, but this really includes arguments about any emotionally charged issue. Tons of them. Without any productive outcome.

Some people on Facebook are drawn to arguments like moths to a flame.

The underlying reason for me, which I've observed is true for others, is that there are many people in my network that think differently than I do -- very, very differently. I don't mean trivial differences; I mean major differences . . . sometimes in nearly all the issues that matter in life. But we're "friends" because there has been other common ground that has unified us at one time or another (we went to the same school, we worked together, we knew the same people, etc.), and this common ground has caused us to think we should try to maintain our relationship indefinitely.

We've all seen, or participated in, the endless thread of back-and-forth, trying to change someone's mind or justify your position, and as emotions rise, it gets nastier with each new response. And sometimes it even drags in strangers from the endless web of connections.

This is a no-brainer. In terms of time, I kept checking my phone for every new comment, then firing back responses . . . this could go on for hours. And not only did not create more peace, but was clearly destructive. I felt icky after reading or commenting, and it served to accomplish nothing.

Obligation

This is one of the strangest results of Facebook, I think. I wonder if we've all experienced the phenomenon of being friends with someone on Facebook, then literally walking by them at the store, hoping you don't catch eyes. It's almost laughable to describe. And for what?

There is some obligation we feel online due to implied social media courtesies and protocols that just do not translate well or naturally into real life. In real life, when I stop working with someone, we may not talk for several years. Then we might run into each other at the store, do a heartfelt catch-up, say it was great to see each other, hug and move on.

I had 1,000 friends on Facebook. Now, on a monthly basis, I talk to about 10.

Memories

This is probably the biggest and most important reason for me.

I have wonderful memories with all of these people and the things we did together: elementary school, high school, sports, college, church, . . . it goes on and on.

I treasure those memories. Sometimes I picture myself in the future: that one day, I might be old and alone in a nursing home, and I'll have those vivid memories to sustain me. So I want those memories to stay as special and as unaltered as they are in my mind now.

When I think of Joey from high school, I want to remember our Senior trip and parties and soccer games . . . I don't want to think about the sludge I've been seeing on his Facebook feed because that affects how I view him as a person.


The Best Decision I Made

Of course, there are still things I occasionally miss about Facebook. When everyone is going to the same event, for instance, or making plans -- I've missed out. When people get married or have a baby -- I've missed some of the happy milestones. Similarly, there have been a couple of times I've missed the news that someone has passed away or some other tragic circumstance has befallen a friend, where I wished I had known in a more timely manner.

But overall, there is absolutely no question that I've gained a much better quality of life in the Facebook exchange.

Comments

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    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      21 months ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      That's because the only thing Paula uses twitter for is to share her articles. Nothing more, nothing less. I don't believe I've ever followed anyone who followed me on twitter. Do not take it personally.

      Wesman! Pay attention to what Jen has shared with us! Had I joined FB....you and I would probably be not speaking by now!! LOL Or maybe we would because I think we have a lot of the same opinions and attitude. I'm not taking chances.

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      21 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      If Paula joined Facebook, I'd hate Facebook a little bit less.But Paula is not joining Facebook.

      Also, before I was kicked completely off of Twitter for citing FBI crime statistics for certain demographics, I had followed Paula on Twitter.

      Now,, I never once actually witnessed Paula twittering or tweeting, but I did see her profile, and I did follow it. ....aaaand Paula never followed me back. LOL

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 

      21 months ago from UpstateWestern,New York

      Jen.....Hello, nice to meet you. I applaud your decision to leave FB and understand your sensible reasons. I never signed on to FB and fought the good fight against all the begging & pleading by everyone for me to join. I simply stood firm in my choice to not join. I've actually never even been tempted to join. I instinctively knew from day one that it was nothing I would appreciate nor enjoy. I've never felt any differently. IMHO, you made the right move.

      I had/have so many reasons, I won't even begin to list them. Suffice it to say, I'm comfortable being an "outsider!" LOL.....I say that because when I tell people I'm not on FB, they are shocked, stunned....like I just admitted to mass-murder! LOL Then again, I'm quite accustomed to that reaction to pretty much most of my independent & non-conforming opinions & attitude. I am a painfully honest, confident & vocal individual, offering no excuses nor apologies. I stand by my ideals and beliefs despite the "ways of the current trends." This, as you may know, is not readily accepted nor assimilated by too many cookie-cutter people. I see this as their problem, not mine.

      BTW, you have a nice style of writing..... Peace, Paula ( I see you Wesman, my friend. You can't hide from me!!) LOL

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      21 months ago from Kaufman, Texas

      I absolutely HATE Facebook, and I will cheer on the day it is finally done and destroyed. At the exact same time, I am very addicted to Facebook, but the only reason for this is I am somewhat addicted to social media.

      We had previously had Myspace. I went to Facebook when everyone else did because Myspace either died or was murdered.

      Oh I wish I could just sit here and write all the time. I can't make decent webpages that way though. I can't force them out. They come out when they come out, and I've found that often, I suddenly realize what my next paragraph or next section of a thing I'm writing should be, suddenly, when looking at and thinking about something completely different, and over on Facebook.

      I hate international corporations attempting to tell me how I should think, and how I should feel about anything. So you can well imagine I hate Facebook forever censoring things I've said. Facebook is no moral authority. In fact, the morals of international leftist are quite rigged against me.

      I'll cheer when it is dead, and gone forever. It will definitely happen, and then there will be some other place, and there will be plenty of reasons to hate that one too. I never hated Myspace though.

    • ptosis profile image

      ptosis 

      21 months ago from Arizona

      I only have a FB account for signing on to WaPo disqus. I like The Hill because I can sign into disqus without FB.

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