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Quit Facebook? Why?
9 times out of 10 when I tell people I deleted my personal facebook account, this is the reaction I get.
Facebook has become such an integral part of our lives, especially millennials that are pretty much responsible for the rise and popularity of this particular social media platform. Unless you live under a big rock, you know about the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
I think most of us know the impact of using facebook, but we don’t realise how using a social media platform can disclose so many of our personal habits and data that could be used in ways we have not given permission for. That. Makes. Me. Uncomfortable.
Me. A person who blogs about her life online. I’m sure you’re judging me now and thinking of the word ‘hypocrite’.
Let me break it down for you why I needed to quit facebook and why I haven’t looked back since.
I started using Facebook when I was 15, roughly ten years ago. This was a time when internet at home was a luxury in India, crappy social networks such as Orkut existed and mobile phones were still rare. This made me naturally curious, and having always been excited and drawn to new and shiny things, I did exactly what other 15 year olds were doing at the same time. I got a brand new shiny Facebook account. 10 years and a thousand photos later, I finally decided it was time to quit facebook earlier this year.
Why, you ask? And ask, you should.
I wasn’t a 15 year old anymore.
The existence of internet is not exciting in the way it was when I was 15. It just existed and was a part of my life. I didn’t need this excitement in my life anymore. Also, I have a cell-phone as do most of you. I can simply pick it up, text or call anyone I want, anywhere in the world, without needing Facebook as a medium of connection. In short, I grew the hell up.
I wasn’t talking to the majority of my 648 friends. In fact, I spoke realistically to less than 10 online.
Living abroad is not all butterflies and unicorns. (Related: Harsh Truths No One Tells You About living Abroad) In fact, its anything but. It’s stressful, hectic and demanding most days than it’s not. What it also does, is give you exceptional clarity on who your real friends are. The ones who you can call in the middle of the night, irrespective of the time zone, and tell them how the pizza you ate today made you feel fat and ugly.
Those kind of friends. Those kind of friendships.
I had 648 friends, and yet I spoke to less than 10 of them in real life. I’m old enough to understand I do not need 638 virtual friends to make me feel good about how “well-integrated” I am into society. I also started this blog and was present in other social media networks such as LinkedIn and Instagram where I believe, the people who needed to reach me for professional or personal purposes always could. I didn’t need the added pressure of having to maintain 638 virtual friendships.
I started to get annoyed with the amount of ads I would get aimed directly at me. It became seriously creepy.
As a fellow publisher, I get it. You make money via ads. I just didn’t want Facebook to feel like it creeped into my browser history and showed me the exact pair of shoes that was in my wishlist on a completely unrelated online platform.
That. Shit. Got. Creepy. Real. Fast.
I mean, I am a sucker for online shopping. Who isn’t? I already spend more time and money than I should aimlessly browsing online stores. I didn’t need another reminder to do this. My own lack of self-control was enough. Or so, I thought.
I was not comfortable with a lot of pictures I shared and it felt like a monumental task to make them private one by one.
Call me lazy, but like aren’t you embarrassed of the stuff you shared on facebook? I know I was.
I sat down and thought to myself, how long will it take to change the privacy of ALL of these photos that I was tagged in or somehow connected to. I did the rookie mistake of allowing people to tag me, and well I paid for that mistake.
The task seemed too daunting, and yes I took the lazy way out. I just wiped the entire facebook account clean in one smooth go.
I got tired of looking at people’s life updates, that if I ran across one day on the street, I probably wouldn’t even say hi and neither would they.
For people, that love comparing their lives and checking up on others 10 times a day, Facebook fulfils this need perfectly. I have nothing against the platform and I think its definitely a very addictive and brilliant platform in the way it solves this human need.
Except, I didn’t have this need anymore. I did not want to know about my 638 virtual friends running away to Hawai, or adopting a dog or getting exotic pre-wedding pictures. I, honestly couldn’t care less. And if I was going to become a social outcast for the same, so be it.
Then again, I also managed to quit smoking after being a heavy smoker for 5 years. After that feat, quitting facebook seemed easy peesy. Not to mention, I quit my entire life in India and moved abroad for a career break. So quitting and me, we kinda have a good thing going right now. 😉
- Related: How Living in Germany Changed Me
I began to value my time and calculating exactly how much time I spent on facebook made me feel seriously stupid.
Maybe, it’s just me who has reached this enlightenment, but really=> Time is Money. I sometimes wish there were more than 24 hours in a day, and in my otherwise chaotic and extremely packed life, I wanted to spend my time on relationships that mattered the most. I didn’t want to spend it talking to my virtual friends online who I’d probably never see again.
Also, an hour of scrolling on facebook each day, equals 15 full days a year. THAT is the minimum amount of time I could save myself and use for something with a better time ROI than scrolling mindlessly on my facebook feed.
I didn’t need validation from anyone. And I spent more time on other platforms.
I started a blog (not this one) when I was 18 that was probably read by a sum total of ten people and even at that age, I was giving self confidence tips. It’s safe to say, that whether or not I’m present on Facebook, how many friends I have and how many times my picture is liked does make me happy like every other human, but it doesn’t make me THAT much more happy that I forget all the happiness I get from quitting facebook altogether.
I also already have an active presence on Instagram, LinkedIn and my very own website (aka where you’re reading this).
Having to deal with yet another platform is just too much of a commitment I don’t want to make anymore. I love the reach that facebook has and for this very reason my professional/website page is still active, but that’s what it is. A page. No pressure to have friends, and certainly no tags or comments without my moderation.
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The next question you have is, did quitting facebook help? Here’s what it did for me-
- I stopped getting updates from people that didn’t matter. Sounds like a total douchebag statement, but honestly, I value my time and close relationships a LOT. Those are the only people I have the bandwidth to care about and perhaps people who actually need my help such as children starving or dis-empowered women in India.
- I stopped comparing my achievements to others, even if this only happened sub-consciously. It didn’t matter what other people in this circle were doing anymore. Why? Because I had no access to seeing what they were up to.
- I felt like I could browse online again without my every move being tracked. No Check-ins, No Photo Tags, No Shopping Basket Reminders.
- I have no pressure to respond or actively partake in virtual friendships.
- I decided to invest the time that quitting Facebook freed up into my REAL life and that has really paid off.
- I felt like I had more control in my life especially with regards to news opinions and updates. I could independently assess what I wanted to see, read and influence instead of my Facebook feed already making that imprint/decision for me.
The net result is that after I quit facebook, I am a less anxious and more happy person who chooses to invest in my real life and real relationships more than the virtual network of friends. I wouldn’t say this is for everyone, and many people continue to find value in having an active Facebook account. I just got over it.