“Man, you did it,” My friend Casey said. “I applaud you.”
•. •. •
He was referencing my leaving Facebook a month ago. He’s heard me mention wanting to leave many times over the past five years that we’ve known each other, with increasing frequency coming into the end of 2016. But he never thought I’d actually do it. Hell, I never thought I’d actually do it, to be honest. It took a long time, even after deciding I’d leave, to actually click the “Deactivate account” link. I’d hovered over it a dozen times or more in the week leading up to finally doing it, but I just couldn’t make myself.
I left Twitter quite a while ago. Twitter has become nothing more than a place where you willingly put yourself in front of trolls, bots and celebrities who use you for their own means while pretending you matter. Nothing that has happened on Twitter since the Arab Spring has mattered in any meaningful, positive way. It’s a cesspool where turds float to the top and stink up the place with their offal, and some even become President of the United States as a result.
Twitter wasn’t hard. Before that, MySpace, Orkut, Google Plus, Friendster… None of them were all that hard to depart. But Facebook… That proved to be a lot harder to leave than any other Social Network I’d belong to in the past.
I bargained: I would take the app off my phone. That’d help. Except it didn’t, because I’d done that a bunch of times in the past, only to load up the mobile browser version to check on how a piece I’d posted was going, or how many likes my most recent witty observation was accumulating. You know, just a hit to tide me over. I’d quit after this one, I promised.
More bargaining: I would only use it nights and weekends. I set up productivity apps that block certain websites during certain hours of the day on my laptop. I would inevitably disable them as I was on the toilet or on a boring call. I even went so far as to eventually sign up for a proxy service that tunneled all of my internet traffic and promised to blacklist sites for productivity enhancement. That too crumbled, as I’d leave my WiFi to get on a cellular connection on my iPad and check, just this once, how something was going on Facebook. Each and every measure I put in place to limit my Facebook activity crumbled, slowly at first but eventually I’d just give up and dive right back in.
It turns out, when you want to quit a drug you’re addicted to, there’s a huge difference between putting your pipe in a drawer and promising you’ll never use it again, and smashing it with a hammer. So after 10 years of using Facebook to communicate with thousands of readers, fans and friends, I finally deactivated my account.
“I have wanted to leave so many times,” Casey continued, “but I keep going back to The Misery Machine.” The second he said that, it hit me. That’s precisely what Facebook has become: a machine that creates, runs on and produces 100% Pure Grade A Misery. And for a month and a day, I’ve been free from its grip.
…It feels so damn silly to talk about a freaking website in terms of complete and total addiction. You may even laugh at me. I’m fine with that. I only ask that, if you think it’s that easy, why don’t you give it a try and see how it feels?
No? That’s what I thought. And I’m not even judging you, because I know exactly how hard it is to leave something that has not only been part of your life for years (in my case, ten of them), but is the de facto method of communication for hundreds of millions of people. It’s the pulse of your social network. It’s your go-to for news, entertainment, updates on family and friends, and if you’re being 100% honest with yourself, a quick hit of validation when you need to know you matter to someone — anyone — in this world.
That’s the truth of it. It’s not just a website. It’s always-on, always-there, always-updated, living and breathing, and thoroughly integrated into your life. More than a dozen people I asked told me, after chuckling a bit, that yes — they’ll have typed “F-A-C-E” into the address bar of a web browser the second they open it before they even realized they had. Even more admitted to checking Facebook for updates within a minute of having checked Facebook, closing it to read something else, and getting bored.
It’s especially hard for middle-aged folks to look at a website — a simple piece of technology that used to be the last place anyone would trust for information, relationships or news — as something they can’t live without. And it’s not like everyone is in that particular bucket. There are millions of people for whom Facebook is just a novelty, who have less than 100 friends, or never bother to check it because it’s just not a part of their lives.
But for over a billion people, Facebook is a daily — sometimes hourly, and sometimes even minute-to-minute — part of their lives. And leaving it means turning their back on friends, family, news, entertainment, current events, and most importantly, constant stimulation combined with validation. I know I was in that camp.
But since I’ve left, I’ve noticed a few huge changes and a dozen or more small ones in my life. I’ve broken them down into three categories: my mental health, my writing, and my day-to-day activities.
• • •
First and foremost: I feel left out sometimes. I don’t quite know what’s going on when people reference the latest outrage or trend or meme going across Facebook. I don’t know what mutual friends are doing or just did when my friends bring them up in conversation, where I used to know without even having to ask who, what, where, when or why because I already knew.
Somehow, I stay just as up-to-date on current events and news. It’s almost like Facebook isn’t necessarily about what’s going on, so much as it is a running tabulation of everyone’s opinion of what’s going on (and of course, their fabulous lives in spite of it all).
It had become a poison to which I’d become addicted and, worse, acclimated. I was unhappy most of my day and I realized it was because I would hop on Facebook hourly, looking for stuff to be mad at because it just feels like we are supposed to be mad, doesn’t it? With all this insanity in the world and the elections and the hacking of the elections and celebrities dying and injustice all over, we MUST be mad, or we are bad citizens. But I have a happy life. I have a happy girlfriend and happy dogs and happy cats and I’m working a good job and not hurting for shelter, water, food, or air. There’s much to be happy about.
And that makes me feel guilty, like I’m not paying sufficient attention to the plight of my fellow man and woman. And that in turn makes me go dumpster-fire-diving for outrage so I can get back on the clock and turn in a proper outrage report with my timesheet.
And I realized… you can be sufficiently educated and apprised of the worlds events without having to get outraged by each and every iteration on bad things. It’s okay to simply say “yeah, I’m upset by the whole thing” and know inside yourself that you’ve got all the pieces of the story accounted for and organized in your little current events file without having to prove it, IN ALL CAPS over and over again, to people in your Social Network.
Those who agree with you, demand that you be as outraged as they are each and every step of the way or you’re no true believer (and it’s impossible, because every time you ante up they raise the stakes – or worse, you do to satisfy your need to be seen as at the forefront of the whole mess). Those who disagree won’t ever properly hear you or your points – they will simply be holding a stethoscope to your argument, listening for the slightest murmur or weak spot to attack – forcing you to do the same.
The public spectacle of being in the know has grown tiring. I have been through enough real-life shit to fill three lifetimes. I don’t need to spend my hours and days and weeks and months being miserable out of guilt or obligation, for fear of not being a participant in the Outrage Olympics. I’m still reading news, but not all day on constant stream. I’m still socializing, but more directly with those who stuck around after the convenience of reaction by liking and sharing was gone.
In the weeks since I left, I have felt my need to constantly be outraged decline by an order of magnitude, with absolutely NO loss in awareness of current events. It turns out, I don’t need thousands of opinions hurled at me every hour of every day, for me to make or justify my own. In fact, it’s far easier, because the sources I use for news are all legitimate — AP, Reuters, AFP — and I don’t have to deal with debunking fake news, opinionated news or partisan “news” sites all day. By reducing my need to react (and be seen reacting), I’ve earned back some time to reflect and work. This had some really weird consequences on my mental health, which I’ll get into shortly.
The downside, which in time has slowly become an upside: I’m nowhere near as in touch with what’s going on in my friends’ lives. I don’t see the daily posts. I don’t see the latest pics of their kids and what they’re eating and what cool new t-shirt they got from TShirtSiteDuJour.com. I don’t know what everyone got for Christmas, or where they spent New Years’ Eve.
But it hasn’t stemmed the flow of information from my closest friends. I do know where they were and what they were doing and how things are going. I may not know it minute by minute, but those who matter most have made the effort to stay in touch actively instead of passively. My friendships have always been of utmost importance to me, and while the quantity of information and the number of people I have it about has decline by two orders of magnitude, the quality hasn’t suffered one bit for the ones that matter most. And that has left me with literal hours per day to put toward my work, which has taken off in huge ways.
I will admit, however, that it took almost the entirety of the month I’ve been gone to get over typing “F-A-C-E” into the address bar of every browser I open the moment I open it. That habit is embarrassing. But knowing you have the same problem makes it sting just a bit less. And you do have that problem. You don’t have to admit it. I know you do. It’s okay.
• • •
My Mental Health
Something I didn’t expect or really understand until I was hip-deep in the middle of it is that Facebook hindered my ability to deal with and get over some pretty deep pain from events that happened a few years ago. It’s interesting — you have pain inside you, and like any human, when that stuff starts to rear its ugly head, you don’t really want to feel it. It’s pain. It sucks. It’s like that.
In the old days, I’d run to distractions to stave it off, but eventually I’d run out of them and eventually I’d have to face whatever was messing with my mind. A few hours or days of pain and some awarenesses and awakenings would show up and I’d be over it.
Facebook is a constant morphine drip of distraction. And especially in modern times, with political insanity and outrage happening left and right, there are actual, real, justifiable things to be angry and upset over. So all that pain inside you that begins making itself apparent drives you to distraction, and then BOOM! Trump said something stupid, or Clinton said something stupid, or the Republicans or the Democrats piss all over the Constitution, and all your friends are OUTRAGED!!!! that it happened. And here you are, with pain in need of an outlet.
It results in a constant source of rage, with a constant place to put it that doesn’t actually help or address the source of the rage, so you’re stuck in a cycle of anger, outrage, expression and remission. Before you know it, you start coming down and the pain that’s deep inside you begins to boil again, and it’s right back to Facebook, where there’s a never-ending source of things to vent that pain at. If it’s not politics, it’s religion. If it’s not religion, it’s that friend who peaked in high school that constantly says stupid stuff but you can’t unfriend them because that’s an act of war. If it’s not them, it’s a fake news article. If it’s not any of that… Give it 60 seconds. Something will show up. It’s guaranteed, because Facebook is actually engineered to make sure it does.
So, since leaving, I’ve dealt with more underlying and suppressed pain I really had no idea I was even experiencing. It’s been 4 years since my divorce and losing my house and starting my career completely over. I’ve gotten over the divorce bits, but I had no idea how much I really missed my old house and my old career until new opportunities for buying a house and starting back into writing for television and magazines arose. And I couldn’t appropriately deal with any of it, because I couldn’t ever actually identify any of it for what it was, because I had a never-ending stream of shit to go be mad at and numb me, moment by moment, against the real underlying causes.
To say that I’m happier for leaving Facebook is approximately the same as saying I’m happier for having finally gotten a festering, infected splinter out of my foot which made it impossible to walk without limping, which made me sore all the time, which made me angry at the world.
I also have no reason to pretend to be friends with distasteful and terrible people anymore. That’s definitely been a plus.
• • •
Facebook and Twitter were soaking up all of my output. All these thoughts and feelings, pissed into the Newsstream never to be considered again. It is truly sad to see how, over the past ten years (and especially in the last five years) how most writing on the internet has become tailored for clickbait, short-form reading and nuggets that are custom-tailored for quick digestion and shitting — I mean, sharing (often without even bothering to be read, with the bullshit headline being enough for someone to reactively repost for fear of looking stupid if they’re not one of the first to leap forward with this important piece of crap).
I call them McArticles. Perfect bite-sized junk devoid of nutrition that fills a void in the short term, and does you absolutely no long-term good.
It has always been a joke amongst most of us on the internet that there are click-bait headlines and crap articles filled with listicles and hyperbole, but I didn’t realize just how deep into the majority this kind of content has risen. I read (yet another) “thinkpiece” just yesterday that slapped me in the face. Not the writing in the piece mind you – that was tepid and shallow and on the whole useless. And that’s what woke me up to just how bad it’s all gotten. It wasn’t even about Trump, or politics, or Silicon Valley and how terrible everyone there is, or anything that you’d expect to gobble up clicks and produce #Trending hashtags.
This “writer” simply surmised 7 things that Issac Asimov – an actual thinker and creative person – said and did in his life, combined them into a list that promised that the reader could be “As Creative As Issac Asimov In Just 7 Steps” and put it out there as if he — and not Asimov — is the creative one.
That’s when it hit me: I do NOT want to be this guy. I don’t want to be anything like him. I don’t want to be a dish on the Facebook buffet; yet another scoop of moderately priced flotsam on a smorgasbord of jetsam that people coast through on their morning, afternoon, evening and toilet perousal of social media every day. And more and more, over the years, I’ve seen how my writing has transitioned from books and long-form articles on CNN, Huffington Post, AOL News, Slate and other sites to attention-grabbing bon-bons of like-mongering and share-harvesting. And I didn’t even see it coming.
I want what I write to matter to someone. Not everyone, but someone. I don’t care if I’m the metaphorical equivalent of a hot dog stand in a small town in Arizona and only a few locals and the occasional tourist try me – what I want is for them to LOVE the hot dog. I want that hot dog to be the highlight of their day. I want to put so much love into making that dish – even if it’s just a hot dog – that people who try it know it’s unlike any other hot dog they’ll ever eat in their lives.
Not everyone. Not even “lots of people.” But whoever does come by and whoever does have a bite, they know they’ll never get another hot dog like that one.
If you took away articles that consist entirely of fake news, Trump’s latest tweet, numeric lists summarizing how your life or outlook could be improved, or “Disney Princesses Reimagined As X” you’d be left with about 12 actual writers and porn. And that saddens me. What saddens me more is that, without even realizing it, the years have found me drifting to that kind of hyperbolic crap. I traded caring about content for caring about numbers. And not even meaningful ones. I didn’t even care about long-form reads or book sales. I cared more about daily posts on Facebook and Twitter that got lots of shares and likes and retweets than I did about working my ass off on the books that have been on my to-write list for years. My old blog withered and dried up. My journalistic assignments and published pieces have dipped into the single digits per year for the past few years.
It’s not a decision I made. It just happened by being in the environment and operating by the rules it created. I realized months ago how unhealthy my relationship with Social Media had become for my work, but getting some distance from it by leaving it completely showed me, day in and day out, just how little work I was doing on things that actually matter. In the month since I’ve left, I’ve written a volume of my new seralized novel, two ready-to-publish pieces (including this one), and about 40 personal journal entries. And there’s not a single like, share or tweet about any of it.
That was hard at first. The instant validation that Social Media brought certainly made it feel like I was doing far more work per day than I was. But here I am, off Facebook and Twitter, and I look back at the volume of work I’ve produced the last, oh, three years only to find a few published pieces and not a single book.
The currency of validation is a weak one, indeed. Give me a week of Facebook likes and shares and Twitter retweets and five bucks, and I’ll almost be able to afford a coffee at Starbucks.
• • •
My Point In Writing This
It’s been a month without my thumb on the pulse of what’s happening the world of Social Media, and I’m just now beginning to get some real perspective.
I don’t want to say that Facebook is evil. It’s hard not to say it, because there has been story after story after story about Facebook manipulating its users and using them to drive traffic and promote their own agenda, at the users’ expense. But no, I don’t think that Facebook, inherently, is evil. I think that they are opportunistic. I think they are a business who charges you nothing to use them, which means they use you for profit.
I’m personally not okay with this. I am also not okay with just how much time I’ve spent on that platform, doing things that in the end mattered not one bit. I’m not okay with the effect it had on my daily life, my mental health, and my work. And I’m not okay continuing on with it, knowing what I know now.
I’m not telling you to leave Facebook. My hope isn’t to convince the over one billion people on Facebook to just give up on it and go whittle or make Lego sculptures with their free time. My point is simply to share my experience, in the event that maybe you ARE experiencing some nagging feelings that, hey, maybe you ARE being used and manipulated to your detriment. Maybe you COULD be doing work that matters instead of spending an hour on Facebook, leaving for ten minutes, and heading right back.
Maybe you don’t need to excommunicate Facebook from your life completely. Maybe you have a hold on it and can manage it such that it’s just a thing you do that enhances your life. And to that end, I applaud you. I’m not like that, and I know literally dozens of people in my life who are also not like that. Of course, I only hear from like five of them these days, but that’s okay.
My only point: If you do feel like Facebook has a control over you, give it a week of sabbatical. And I don’t mean just reduced use. I’ve done that I don’t know how many times, only to come back hot and heavy eventually. Take a solid, no-contact, completely cut off break. See how you feel at the end of it.
“I just can’t leave the Misery Machine,” Casey told me again on New Years Day. “And I don’t even really know why.”
I am willing to bet that there are millions of people who can relate.
Well done Joe! I took two years off, mostly just to annoy my friends, but I definitely was an addict. It didn’t do me any harm, I still went to parties, wished people happy birthday and saw my friends. But importantly it was just my friends (and family) that I kept in touch with. I didn’t need to know what my ex’s best pal was getting up to, or some colleague from 10 years ago who was having another baby. Those things weren’t important in my life. The important stuff stayed, the static disappeared. I mean, I did spend more time on buzzfeed and medium… but I also spent more time talking to people and being in the real world. And I liked it. I am back on just for my travelling, but I don’t think it’s something I’ll need when I’m back.
I have enjoyed following your travel blog a lot! I agree that the real friendships and connections persist (and even more strongly) away from Facebook.
Your assessment of fb is right on. Sometimes I try to go just hours without checking in. I’ve recently come to the same conclusion that fb, as well as cable news, is a distraction that is keeping me from doing other things I want to do – and an excuse for not doing them. Treadmill? Ok, but let me just check fb for a minute, which, btw, is not a real measure of time when it comes to being online, whether it’s fb or other time and consciousness-eating online activities. Do I feel better after I’ve been on? No, I usually feel depressed. One thing I have used it for is voicing my view(s) that I’m sure are opposite of my friends – good practice for real life, for me. My friend is adamant about his view? Okay, that’s him, and it doesn’t make me wrong, an idiot, uninformed. We are just of different minds because we have different, separate minds. Geez, I’m rambling, and I just wanted to say thanks for your thoughts!
Thank you for reading them!! And I agree completely.
Lots of good stuff to think about. I know my productivity and mood have both tanked in the last couple of years due to a Facebook addiction. I’m gonna sound a little “git offa mah lawn, ya damn kids” for a second, but I much preferred the messageboard format, where there were forums on focused websites — like the colorists’ forum, or a forum for people who follow “The New Rules of Lifting” series of books. Focus, direction, discussion, support, and camaraderie over a single similar job or interest. Trolls were trounced. By comparison, social media is Trolltopia. FB Groups try to be that forum-like focus, but one still has to slog through FB Central and all of its flashing signs and hookers and crazy street preachers and drug pushers on one’s way to the exclusive side rooms. Can I leave FB? Not yet. Can I make a personal account, and make the existing one my pro account, only for work-related stuff? Yeah, but I don’t want to maintain two pages. I’m not sure what to do. Like you, I deleted the app or hid it on the last page of apps on my iPad. I deleted the link on my browser, but it’s so easy to go to the “Most Visited” folder and grab it there. It really is insidious, a cheap, quick high (or low), with no nutritional value and lasting damage.
Understood on all counts. What I would say is:
1) separation from personal and pro would probably help a lot,
2) I’m a far more extreme person in terms of yes and no — If I give myself a cookie, I’ll have a glass of milk and eventually the whole rest of the cow, too. So I have to be all-or-nothing. I don’t thing everyone’s like that tho,
3) I am setting up that exact culture (forums, message boards, chat rooms) for my new book. I miss it and it was very good to me back in the day, so I’m going back to it, and
4) you’re one of the people I miss most!
The irony was not lost on me when I realized that I was reading this piece on Huffington Post–the ultimate aggregator of click-bait and unoriginal crap content.
Stay strong, Joe, and good for you for not falling prey to the thirst for ‘likes’. I’ve been clean 4 years this April and I honestly feel my life is better for it. Facebook is like meth–it’s a quick hit that anyone can afford but all it does is make you claw at your skin and fuck up your teeth. Or something like that.
I’m going to try not to take that as a critique that my writing is click-bait and unoriginal and crap 😛
Kidding. I appreciate your reading it and commenting. You’re not missing much, the last 4 years has seen Facebook doubling and redoubling its negativity.
Man, my comment came out the wrong way, didn’t it? That was meant to be solely a slap to HuffPo, who occasional runs some good original content, such as yours. I’ve been in need of a major HuffPo detox as well since I find myself as addicted to it as I once was to Facebook.
I was just kidding! I promise, I took it the right way 🙂
Thanks for giving me some insight into my hubby’s addiction to FB. I have never been on and don’t even know the slightest thing about FB. I don’t give a crap what other people ate for dinner, what their cousins friends dog walkers said about their bestie. I am not a hermit, as was yelled at me the other day, when the notification ‘ding’ woke me up at 5:30 a. m. and I had the nerve to complain. My hubby is 57, I am 52, we have been married for 28 years. It’s not like we haven’t been through a lot of stuff together. This, this FB issue is driving a wedge where there never has been one. I know I’m not the only one out there that feels this way.
I like to read interesting articles on line, I look up recipes, check the weather forecast, etc. The hubster used this argument against me when I was attempting to talk to him the other day about the inordinate amount of time he has been spending on FB. I’m really beginning to understand that it IS an addiction and a major time suck. I will adjust my tactics in dealing with this. Hopefully I won’t have to stage an intervention!
Thanks for writing this, keep it up!
I guess this means I win the poke war.
However, good for you. I’ve considered it as well, but I mainly just use it now for Messenger and family. I’ve unfollowed anyone who is a negative influence – people who post inane garbage and political propaganda for the purpose of starting an argument, people who post about how awful everything in their life is, etc. It can be a useful tool for keeping in touch with people if you can manipulate it to your liking. I totally get not using it anymore, in fact I’m mad at myself that I didn’t deactivate before the election like I did last time. I feel like I lost a lot of friends in my head because of the vitriol spewed from their fingertips.
Glad to see you’re still alive. 🙂
I’ve missed you, Joe. *This* you especially. The writer who writes for himself and entertains the rest of us along the way. I never drank the Facebook Kool-Aid so I don’t know the difficulties of leaving it, but I did pretty much give up on Twitter a long while ago and only glance at it once or twice a month at most. I didn’t follow a ton of people, but the volume of posting got to be like trying to drink out of a firehose that had half-polluted water coming out. I walked away from the need to see what was going on every minute of the day and it made me happier in the long run.
I have to get around to reading your new novel soon. I’m just an old-fashioned paper book snob, so sitting down to read something on screen is hard for me. But for you, I’ll do it…eventually. 😉
I’ll echo the comments of someone above who prefers the old targeted messageboard days. It’s nice to be able to focus on a given interest without all the bullshit of politics/religion/etc. getting thrown into the mix at all times.
I’ve missed you and have to grudgingly thank FB memories for reminding me about you. There was a post pointed to that no longer existed. The breadcrumbs have lead me to this one – the one I really needed. Each point got that ole Law & Order “Plunk Plunk” . My brain has been picked. I may not be able to go cold turkey, but I want to. Thanks,
I was searching for something to help me make a decision about Facebook and other social media avenues, but most especially about FB. I haven’t been a long term FB user. I really don’t have the time to wade through a lot of weirdness that does nothing for my daily life or all the extreme vitriol that seems to sum up most of the posts I have been seeing each week. I searched to see if anyone else was just tired of the angry words and Us against Them posts. I am weary of it all and to read your article helped me feel less alone in this situation. I am tired of everyone hating everyone else for their beliefs, religion, lifestyles, what they eat or don’t eat, likes and distastes,and other ways of living their lives. Your article is so succinct I showed it to a friend with whom I was discussing whether to stick with FB or give it up. I find most of it not nourishing to my soul. I am in the creative field too and I find I just don’t want to lose my happy energy to people calling other people evil. I fear that if we cannot come together at least in the U.S. without so much violent anger, then we may be headed for something none of us want. Maybe I am a dreamer wishing we could get along but I think I have decided to find those that support and espouse positive words and thoughts and make it about Love. Thanks for helping me to figure out that I need to let many people I thought I knew as long time “friends” and acquaintances go out of my life quietly. I have had my eyes open and heart pained. I won’t play the Us vs. Them game. I would rather be a light than dark entity. I prefer to see the good in all as hard as that can seem at times. And I refuse to shove people I know into “groups” so I can better berate or accept them. It’s not productive to do so. I would rather be a world traveler and see the other side of life wherever I find it. We are, after all, one humanity with many colours and lives. Thanks for this post.
Hey Joe! It’s your Art of Akira otaku pal from Pittsburgh.
Today I was scrolling facebook and thought to myself “Where the fuck is Joe?” and so, I went to check my friends list and didn’t see you there, and I was like “Oh shit, was it me?” (which is like my automatic response 90% of the time when I can’t find someone on social media, which probably says a lot about my neuroses) and then I remembered back in November or so you mentioned quitting Social Media and focusing on your blog. So… here I am! To find out where Joe has been (late to the party, I know!)
I’m sad to see you go from Facebook (mostly because it’s such an easy way to keep in touch with people for me, especially people I don’t have the opportunity to see on any sort of regular basis) but I’m happy to see that it’s working out for you. 🙂
I’m looking forward to more of your long form posts. I’m looking forward to just hearing about how you’re doing. I’m also kind of excited to get newsletter notifications via e-mail (assuming I don’t overlook them because I’m awful at checking my e-mail on a daily basis.)
Thought dump for conversation:
I think this is an accurate depiction of Facebook, I left facebook for about two years and went back for another year and a half. I just deactivated a week ago after not having facebook on my phone.
It’s a waste of time. You’ll never achieve anything in life if you spend your life watching life unfold on a screen instead of participating in it. I have nothing to prove being off facebook, so any sort of pressure is gone. Just peace.
When did the idea of vanity and vogue become something so positive, it made sense to call your magazine company that? It’s not a virtue.
This! All of this. I recently pulled the plug on facebook as well, along with deleting quite a few games from my phone. I have never been happier! I have always used screens as a distraction way back to atari (age showing??). I had a less than perfect childhood and would escape to video games to distract as opposed to actually dealing with my life. It continued into my 20’s and 30’s with Playstation, PC’s, and eventually the good old smart phone that let me be distracted from everything ALL the time! My best friend of over 20 years passed away last year after a battle with lukemia which was shown extensively on facebook. After she passed I was constantly going to her fb to watch videos, see pics, and relive every painful moment. I had physical photos of all of our important life moments from childhood birthday parties, high school partying to weddings and children. I didn’t need fb to remind me of her. Plus like you said it’s an excuse to be mad. I have mom friends who screenshot what someone posted just so we can all be mad together. I was literally hidi ng and not dealing with real life or buried emotions. I was mad alot and was always comparing everything I had to others fb personas. Why??? While my husband was away on a business trip I finally hit that deactivate button and a few minutes later deleted every time suck game from my phone. A funny thing happened that I didn’t think anyone else would understand. I cried. Alot. Not right after deleting everything but over the course of the days that followed. I took out the physical photos of me and my bestie and I cried over them. I dealt with alot. I thought I was depressed. Then I started watching some tv. Shows that I’ve avoided because they were sad or made me really deal with emotions. I cried over them too. And I’m not a crier I’m a dealer. Tough faced who laughed at those who were “emotional”. I actually put my phone down now and unless it rings or I get a text I’m not staring at it. I’ve been calmer. I don’t get all ragey over tiny things. I never saw any of that coming. In all honesty I can’t truly explain it, but it feels great. And the best thing of all? My kids have noticed. They have tablets and one has a phone. They have noticed me spending less time on mine and suddenly they are not on theirs as much either and I never said a word to them about it. I feel like I am getting back to who I’m supposed to be without being so distracted all the time. It is truly awesome.
I love that your kiddos notice your decreased phone time and have followed your example.
the new normal, well done
Have been on FB,about 8 months, been sent to FB jail,3 times. I think it was calling some fucking asshole a MORON, who contacted some asswipe from FB, who placed me in jail,again 🙂 BUT, soon as I figure out how to TOTALLY delete my account,as the saying goes,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,”I’m outta there ” 🙂 Too many idiots and liberals who cant think for themselves !!!
I survived 67 years without Fuckbook,guess I can survive a couple more 🙂
Kudos to you.
After all the Facebook data breaches, and now the Cambridge Analytics scandal, I have quit cold turkey. Facebook simply uses you to generate advertising dollars for Zuckerberg. I refuse to be his pawn. He’s a POS.
[…] to fight it, at various points in the past few years. In fact, going on two years ago, I deleted my Facebook account permanently in part because the days’ events had driven me to form an anti-facist group as a joke, and […]
Very measured and well thought out, thank you for your input.
Never liked fazebuck. at best it’s 98% gibberish. can’t stand it actually.
In a moment of sobriety, after a particularly dark binge on the misery machine, I googled FUCK FACEBOOK, and the universe gifted me your article. I needed this. Thank you.
Glad I could help!
Welcome back, Joe.
Main reason I never got on FB was to avoid getting noticed by a troublesome ex who lives in the same town I do. Otherwise, I am sure I would have joined.
I also avoided social media because I spent a lot of time online doing volunteer moderating and was sick and tired of staring at screens. In the many years I have been online, I stopped keeping a diary, stopped doing drawing and sculpting, both of which I enjoyed doing for years.
In the meantime, I gave up reading comments sections on most news venues because I got angry and depressed. Worst of all, when I contributed items, I’d get crabb if no one responded. I noticed most news discussions quickly went off topic and filled up with potty mouthed people.
Too many comment sections devolved into the equivalent of an abused bathroom at a Greyhound depot.
I was just about to join FB to read specific discussion groups when the privacy scandals broke.
What finally convinced me never to subscribe was reading Sean Parker’s interview on Axios where he admitted they designed FB to be addictive as possible.
The misery machine, indeed!
I still use Google News but added a Chrome extension called Good News, which is free and enabled me to block items and words I did not want to read.
No more news titles with inflammatory language such as shocking, obsessed, freak out, baby bump, baby daddy, baby mommy.
Keep writing, for your loyalists, Joe.
Thank you. Deactivated my FB. For all of the reasons above.
HI! I relate to enjoy your article immensely! thank you for sharing your personal experience and reflections on how fb keeps humans from processing emotions and events that are painful, yet necessary for person growth/the growth of the collective. great insights.
Great read! It appears I’m a few years behind the curve of the article. How have you held up after 2 years?
I have a public facebook page for my writing, and a “private” account that i use to manage it. I typically keep every post about what i’m writing or doing, but sometimes get sucked into a rant, and it NEVER EVER GOES WELL. It sucks so much. And it reminds me why I don’t use Facebook for anything besides marketing.
I only got on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter to see what the fuss was about, exiting each quickly; i’m not on any other such personality pages. Improvements in technology and communication are not inherently bad; the problem is misuse by humans, a great many of whom are self-important, narcissist assholes, including, in some cases, the site administrators.