On Tuesday 1st of December 2015, I quit Facebook. I deactivated my account, with no intention of going back.
I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with Facebook, or social media in general, per se, but I do strongly believe in the need to keep our lives as simple and as uncluttered as possible.
While my physical life is quite spartan and clutter-free, my digital existence is anything but. I have so many logins for various emails, social media networks, websites, and apps, that it actually becomes an issue to manage my identity across all these platforms and networks. That’s also why this website doesn’t run on a content management system that requires upkeep and a login. I’ve just kept it as simple as can be.
Additionally, I’ve been reviewing everything in my life to see where I actually draw value from. Facebook didn’t make the cut. I didn’t get the feeling that Facebook was adding anything to my life, but rather it was detracting. It was detracting my attention span and my time. Memes and videos and funny quotes filled up my timeline, but perhaps that is a reflection on my general poor choice of Facebook friends, than an issue with Facebook itself.
However, attention and time are some of the most precious commodities we have, and I feel it’s a shame to throw them away on something that’s actually quite meaningless.
I also noticed that the more time I spent on Facebook, the worse I felt about my life, when I am normally quite pleased with it. This is undoubtably part of the “Grass is Greener on the Other Side” Syndrome that I discussed a while back. Most people curate their social media profile, so that it becomes an artificial curated garden, and not an actual representations of their real life. This is bad news because as we browse other people’s profiles, we start to get a feeling that our life doesn’t measure up, even if it does.
While I will obviously miss out on some things, I think the trade off will be worth it in the long run. I’m sure that I will cut more than 50% of the notifications that come from my phone, and that I’ll be able to appreciate the real world even more. I’d noticed that I started to just browse Facebook on my phone during any downtime I had, while waiting for someone at a coffee shop, or just travelling to somewhere in the city.
I think I’ve lost the ability to just be, without needing to do something. This is the starting point to being able to appreciate everyday life that much more, and I’m glad I’ve taken the first step.
This is going to be an interesting few months ahead as I get used to this new life (this may seem overdramatic, but I’m sure it will feel this way).
I’ll write a follow up essay on my post-Facebook life in a few months.