“Adults who quit Facebook are like children who say they are running away from home. We all know you’ll be back.” -Unknown
I got that quote off a meme I saw on Pinterest. (Quick, think about how that sentence would have made no sense to anyone just 15 years ago.) I thought it was a funny quote, I still do in fact. That being said, I quit Facebook last month. Yep. And maybe I will go back one day. “BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!” Thanks Aragorn!
Lots of people have lots of reasons for leaving Facebook. The short story on my reason (short story meaning the story without my rage rants) is I left Facebook because I hate them as a company, I don’t like how their system works anymore and when a social media platform becomes more of a headache than a help or joy it’s time to leave.
Facebook has become so much a part of the average American’s daily life it’s shocking. Don’t get me wrong I’m not here to shame anyone into quitting Facebook. Heck I would probably still be on it too, if the stinking thing would stop showing me that my friend’s, sister’s, boyfriend’s, cousin happened to like some BS YouTube video from Collegehumor or whatever. (Breathe in, breathe out. I said no ranting.)
Basically, if you don’t know this about me, I get a little fed up with technology. I’m 98% sure the feeling is mutual. I know how ironic that is, coming from someone that is a proclaimed science fiction lover, but I’m an enigma, deal with it.
It seemed to me that in the recent years Facebook had become less of a way to keep in touch with friends and more of a way to make sure I have seen all the same stupid internet stuff as them. So that feeling coupled with what I like to call my Techno Rage had me wanting to flee the monster we all call Facebook. It hasn’t been too long, only around three weeks but I have already noticed changes that I wanted to talk about.
So here are My Five Stages of Quitting Facebook
1. The Decision.
Whether it be rage against technology, fleeing from drama, running from comparisons, or wanting to hide from how awful our world can be; there are many reasons people might want to quit. Once you decide to quit, it feels like a way bigger deal than it really is. Really, it took me a week to “Make the decision.” It was silly. Even once you “Delete” your account it’s still there. Facebook even tells you, your profile can be reactivated with all your history just by coming back and logging in. When I read that, I imagined a short hunched over old man wringing his hands saying, “You’ll come back, they ALL come back!” So really, it’s not a “big deal” to close your Facebook account.
2. Missing Out?
So, after maybe a week of clean livin’, off the old Facebook bottle, I started to feel a few things. The first was a sense that I was missing out on something. Kinda like being invited to a party but then not going and the next day you find out the party favors where ring pops and now everyone has a ring pop but you.
Even with the feelings of missing out I resisted the tug toward logging on. I’m glad I did too. Because in time you find out there were no ring pops, it was just a bunch of bottle caps, which are gross. No one really wants them or eats them but they take them because it’s free candy.
The other feeling was loneliness. For so long the idea that Facebook kept me connected was in my head, so not being on Facebook must mean that I was disconnected, right? Wrong!
This is my favorite step. So that loneliness I was feeling drove me to this step in which you remember what it was like in the “Olden Days”. When you wanted to talk to a friend or see what they were up to you would contact them directly. Not just by passively liking the same whatever post that they liked but by calling them. I’ll admit that sometimes it’s a text but that still leads to more genuine conversation than over Facebook for all to see.
Not having Facebook to passively manage my relationships meant I needed to really care about and foster them myself. That’s made me feel more like an adult, and it helps show my friends that I genuinely care about them and their lives.
I also remembered other things I like to do with my time. For me it’s been reading. I read 8 books last month. The month before I only read 2. So not having Facebook as a giant time suck has been great for my reading list.
Things I have just come to accept while living Facebook free… Ya, I will miss some things. Out of every 100 posts (I’m counting “Shares” in that) there is maybe 1 good or important post. So, living without those 99 time killers means I might miss something. I have to just accept that and hope that my friend will just call me when she has her baby. Hope that my family will tell me when there’s a gathering because I am not part of the Facebook “group”. Hope that people will call a wish me and happy birthday because they remembered. Not because they logged on and saw that thirty other people had already been told by their Facebooks to tell me happy birthday.
Accept that if I want to be free of the headaches of some social media platforms it might mean making some small sacrifices.
5. Moving On
You would think that Acceptance would have been the last step but no. Acceptance was last week and this week I experienced one more step. Yes, just like it says, “Moving On.” Forgetting about it. Time passes and your brain is slowly leached of its Facebook addiction. Till there’s nothing left nagging you to pick up your phone, to check your “news feed”, to see if you have any “notifications”. (I use both the terms lightly.) This is my other favorite step. It’s freeing to not feel so… shackled mentally. Facebook hadn’t even crossed my mind in a week. I only remembered I wanted to write this post because I found a reminding me.
I’m not saying I’ll never go back to Facebook. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. Only time will tell. What I am saying is that being on Facebook or NOT being on Facebook is not as big a deal as a lot of people make it out to be. There are benefits and drawbacks to both, it’s just a matter of which ones are most important to you.
Oh ya, and it’s not like I am a luddite. You can catch me on Instagram @scifiohmy_ for lots of bookish, nerdy, geeky, writerly, and science fiction loving posts.