Why I quit Facebook

super-hero-facebook-likes1I quit Facebook yesterday. I came home from work and deleted my account. Someone posted something stupid and it made me mad. It made me mad all day. It made me mad all day until I realized I had a choice. I’d let someone who I hardly know infuriate me. I gave someone who isn’t a part of my life, power in my life. No more. I’ve been threatening to do it for a while now, but I just couldn’t commit. I had justification – My blog is connected to Facebook. Being a writer was a great excuse for “needing” a Facebook account. It is easy, free and convenient. But that is just an excuse. This blog has a few hundred followers outside of Facebook. If someone misses me, they know where to find me.

My FB lifestyle was not jiving with my personal beliefs, and who I am in “real life”. I am tired of holding my tongue and I am tired of getting upset. I shouldn’t have to delete “friends” because they use sexist language, are idiots, or I haven’t seen/spoken to them in years. What a pain in the ass. I realized that it is far easier to just remove myself from the equation all together. I am tired of being attached to Facebook and I am tired of looking at pictures of your dog, your kids, your lunch and your neighbors pet chicken. I don’t care what you are listening to. I have no need or desire to play Farmville with you, nor do I give any shits at all about where you have checked in. Your score on Bedazzled doesn’t interest anyone and thank you so much for posting the score of Jimmy’s soccer game. I was totally losing sleep over it.

Two days in and I must say, I feel lighter. I have so many better things to do with my time. I thought I would feel uneasy or nervous, but I don’t. I feel relief. And I don’t suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) so I should be alright. FOMO is the #1 reason people keep their FB accounts while posting about how much they hate Facebook. How often do you check your FB? I bet it is at least in the double digits. Every single glance at all the badass things your friends (and enemies, let’s be honest) are doing just fuels the fire. You start wondering why you aren’t doing badass stuff like climbing mountains, getting married, or getting wasted with a group of Russian tourists.

Start playing the comparison game and you’ll lose every time. That’s how the game works. It starts innocently enough… maybe just a little filter on that picture of your hamburger to make it look brighter. Then, maybe  a second filter to show each and every seed on the bun. By the time you are finished, your photo looks nothing like that thing you ate which gave you indigestion. The only way to win is not to play at all. It’s a losing game. Everybody will always be thinner than you on Facebook. They will be smarter than you. Their Angry Bird score will be better than yours. Their friends will always be hipper than your friends. Their Instagram account will have cooler shots than yours. They will get married before you. Their kids will have cooler names than yours. Their dog will be cuter than your dog. Their cat will be more popular on Youtube than your cat.

You will always lose at Facebook.

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Crawdads (Austin, TX) Alicia Brooks photo

But it doesn’t matter because it’s all a lie. All of it. Take my profile for example. Just recently I posted this picture. Looks incredible, right? Well, here is what I didn’t tell you. That picture was taken at the world’s most boring party. The food you see was not seasoned – at all – until it was thrown in the bowl. Then about six different people took turns salting it. The conversation  was about as exciting as the food. The highlight of the party seemed to be when the host dared a guest to let a crawdad latch onto his nipple… for $5. I kid you not. But, I knew that I could take a very cool picture of the food and nobody needed to know the rest. Facebook is a facilitator of lies.

Everyday we are presented with an endless montage of small excitements disguised as every day activities. We judge ourselves against the carefully cultivated and created profiles that people present as truth. That is absurd behavior. Facebook is the ghost in the machine. It works on your behalf when you are not there. It actively distorts us to our friends, and worse yet to users whom we have never met. Facebook is exploitive and unnecessary. It makes us yearn for approval in the form of “likes”, the more the better. As a writer I began to see my worth in the amount of likes or views a piece got. How backwards is that?

So, I guess I quit in pursuit of happiness. Facebook was affecting my moods and my life so I am taking a sabbatical. How can I attempt to live a minimalist life with the clutter of Facebook in my… face? It might be a week, it might be a month, it might be longer. I don’t know. All I know is that when and if I decide to go back, it will be with a new outlook on the tool. And it is a tool. Just more for the folks at Facebook than for you. I’m not here preaching for you to quit social media sites. Do what you will. I’m here saying take a look at what you post, how often, and how often you are posting. Be aware and maybe take a day off and see how you feel. I feel like I just sprouted wings.

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5 thoughts on “Why I quit Facebook

  1. Sorry to see you leave FB, I’ve got to admit that I don’t always agree with all of my friends beliefs (political or otherwise) and that’s okay, it makes for good conversation… without a little spice in life, it would otherwise be boring, but if you’re literally losing sleep over it, then I totally agree that you made the right decision. If/when you decide to come back to FB, maybe you can consider using the “Ignore” feature? I can honestly say that I’ve never blocked a friend, however I have used the ignore feature on rare occasion. The ignore feature on game requests is a VERY powerful tool 😀

    I have to admit, I may go days or even weeks without reading FB, even though I may make a post here and there. Probably the single best benefit I see with FB is getting PSA’s that I wouldn’t necessarily pick up in the media. I realize some of them are bunk, but I find pleasure in checking things out on Snopes before reposting if I feel it’s worth the effort.

    In contrast, I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to, I want to see interesting pics of places they’ve been, it usually gives me ideas to help plan for my next vacation 😉 I have been secretly admiring your planned journey across the states to visit all the monuments and national parks, patiently waiting to hear your words of criticism.

    I was gonna say something about your picture of the crawfish looking a little light on the spices, but didn’t want to offend you, ha! All joking aside, let me know if you are serious about attending a true Southern Fish Boil before you leave Texas and I’ll try to hook you up! Most of the best events have already passed from the Spring season, but I’ll check the calendar if you’re interested?

  2. Well, this may be enough incentive for me to set up an account at Google+. Not leaving facebook, though.
    Someone posted one of those little quote thingies on my page recently (i hate those little quote thingies most of all, but this one really WAS a life-changer) something like “The reason we always feel inadequate is because we are comparing our behind-the-scenes with everybody else’s highlight reel.”

    • exactly. 🙂 I will probably keep the account for blog purposes. I was right about FB being tied to my blog. But, that will be fine. And google+ is way different than it used to be. Kind of having fun trying it.

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