A Break from Faceook

“It’s not you, it’s me”

As a fall gift to myself, I have decided to take a break from Facebook.  I de-activated my account.  It’s far too early to say how long this break will be.

I will state a disclaimer by saying up front that my reasons are my own.  I don’t think that temporarily or permanently opting out of Facebook makes me any “better” than my peers.  I’ve sometimes seen that attitude slip out from other people who I’ve encountered who have said they don’t use Facebook.  People who like it and enjoy it still live in my household so I’d be lording it over a lot of really important people in my life if that was my attitude. Nor is my decision a “grudge” because someone “did something” to me.  It is not intended to be a slap in the face to people who genuinely care, or a snub at anyone’s lifestyle choices.

Here is an explanation as it applies to my own mindset and experience:

My first is that I acknowledge my own difficulty in time management.  I’ve spent hours and hours reading posts that people have made to Facebook, comments on news stories I follow, and I’ve found it to be a waste of time, rather than “something fun”.

It has never been very fulfilling to me socially.  Like many people, I had struggles in middle school and high school.  It seems that even to this day, I observe the social structure and it’s a matter of cultural appeal whether a person makes it through their school years unscathed, making the cut.  My social anxiety is with me to this day, and I have not found Facebook instrumental to alleviate that.

I work very hard and place a high priority in not offending other people, and therefore, I’ve added friends who really don’t matter much to me (and vice versa I am sure)  for the sake of social etiquette, and then promptly “unfollowed” so I wouldn’t see their posts scrolling through my newsfeed, without unfriending them.  I knew that is how people manage their friendship with me as well, because only a handful of people “saw” my post several years back when I announced my mother passing away or other significant events in my life where I’ve needed support.

I did a search on Google for “I deactivated Facebook” or variations on the theme, and I found many people’s reasoning to ring true for me as well.  Here is one.

There was discomfort with the “friend suggestions”.  There are friend suggestions where there are no mutual friends, and I wonder how many tiers deep of “degrees of separation” Facebook’s coding searches for because there were some names which reminded me of unpleasant situations in the past in the “People you may also know” sidebar.  I found that to be really creepy.

I also found that I had to be an annoying pain in the butt to get friends of mine who wanted to contact me privately to use e-mail or even better, if they also had a cell phone texting plan, to text me, or phone me (talking on the phone is my least preferred way to “chat” but I will do it gladly over using Facebook’s interface.)  I did not want Facebook messenger to host or archive all my private conversations.  My texting plan is unlimited and as it is, I was a late adopter into getting a phone.  If I fill out a contact form, usually my email address, landline, and cell number are the spaces I see.  Facebook is not my phone number. Nor is their chat interface the equivalent of “texting”.

It might seem a little hypocritical that I have a cell phone and like it, and I’m keeping Twitter, and yet want to prune Facebook.  But maybe it’s not. I don’t have to cut off all technology, just the sources that leave me feeling empty inside. But they are not the same thing. On Twitter I am more likely to actually click on the link, and read the news story articles of news sources I follow than to go straight to the comments and read what people say..  I did that all the time on Facebook.  Kind of addicting to read what other people say about the news rather than the news itself.

I used to really enjoy reading, and learning to improve my skills on new hobbies.  I enjoy piano, guitar, clarinet, knitting, and pumping my e-reader full of books.  But 9pm would come and did I do many of those things?  Most of the down time was spent on Facebook, or playing the games, and none of the pages of library books I’d borrowed would be touched.  So for me, it’s really a matter of taking grownup responsibility to facilitate the things I want to do.

There is a passage in the Bible which reads, (paraphrasing) “If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off”.  And it’s true for me.

Again.  This could be a temporary thing, or something I may choose to cut out completely, but this is how I feel at the time of this writing.  It’s important to me to examine my own lifestyle and tweak accordingly to what works for me.  It’s a time declutter.  I’ll have to see for myself how the results are.