|I salute the red, white, and blue.|
I offed myself in the social networking world. I justified spending hours on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. by insisting I needed to do it for my public relations work. But, one day, I noticed that the vast majority of my time was spent browsing inane minutiae. Half my interactions on Facebook were uncomfortable at best and paralyzingly depressing at worst. I also caught myself getting discouraged when various posts weren’t being viewed as much as I wanted. Who cares?
I decided to be done with the whole thing. And, life has been great ever since.
It took a little weaning. To me, all social media pales in comparison to Facebook, where I was most active. So, I was able to dump everything but Facebook cold turkey. With Facebook, for the first week, I vowed not to post anything at all. I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone. Each morning, I would browse my notifications on my laptop then no more Facebook for the rest of the day. If I got messages, I’d try to move the conversation to email. If I didn’t have the person’s email address, I asked for it. I didn’t make a big fuss about quitting Facebook because I didn’t know if I could quit.
After making it a week, I knew I was in the clear. Using dry erase marker, I wrote “For a good time email jamesbrains55@gmail” on my bathroom wall. I took a picture of it and made it my Facebook profile picture hoping people would get the hint that email was the best was to contact me. I then privately bid adieu to Facebook.
After about a month away and many awkward conversations where people asked me about things they posted on my wall, I decided to officially announce my canning of Facebook.
“It's been about three weeks since I last used Facebook, and I think I'm going to continue to avoid it for many reasons. So, if you tried to contact me via Facebook or plan to do so in the future, you will not hear back from me. Instead, shoot me an email at email@example.com.”
|I don't often let people use my bathroom, but when I do, I get emails about it.|
People are very understanding. I think it may be because they secretly hope to do the same. It is a parasitic relationship Facebook has with us. It can’t live without sucking the life out of us.
I did not completely delete my Facebook account. I don’t believe in burning bridges. And, I’m lucky enough to have other people doing the social media work my public relations job requires. It’s nice.
Why My Life is Better
So, now that I’ve given you the how, let me tell you the why:
1. Face-to-Face Interaction is More Rewarding
When I communicate with people, I don’t have some Facebook status update in the back of my mind telling me what to talk to them about. I don’t have to feel like I’m making some faux pas for not having checked their Facebook profile before talking to them. The conversation can progress in a natural way with both parties communicating topics of interest. In essence, I’m getting my information in a much more interactive way.
2. Less Drama
The time between someone thinking something and then posting it on Facebook for the world to see is excruciatingly small for many people. Few people have a filter. Even fewer take the time to consider the consequences of posting various things. This leads to drama. I’m not into drama. It’s why I avoid “reality” television.
3. No Longer Bombarded with Stupidity
My wife is still on Facebook. She will be forever. And, she likes to show me various things she finds on Facebook. And, my reaction is always a sarcastic, “Wow, I really miss Facebook.” It just reinforces my reasons for leaving. I just can’t help but wonder about all of the awesome words on a picture I’m missing.
4. More Time to Do Things That Matter
I love writing, and I run two tiny blogs (Urinal Gum and Eating with Jerome and James). I have so much more time to generate content. I have more time to read books and news articles. I have more time to spend with my family. You may wonder how promoting my blogs works without social media. It’s a little bit harder. I promote subscribing to my blogs. And, if an article is truly good and worth sharing, then subscribers will share it. I’m really not too concerned about this.
5. Less Rubbing on Your Phone
On the hit comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Dennis is messing with his new smart phone when the technologically clueless Frank snatches it from him saying, “What are you rubbing on your phone? Let me rub on it!” I bring this up because we all spend waaay too much time rubbing on our phones. “I need my happy buttons!” as Tom Green calls the phenomenon. Without the social media, it will be a lot easier for you to respect your time and others by putting the damn phone down.
6. You’ll Be Considered More Mysterious
It’s pretty rare these days, but we all know people who don’t use Facebook. They are intriguing in a way. It’s kind of like traveling to a remote jungle and discovering a new tribe. It’s much harder for people to learn about you without actually interacting with you.
7. Friends Will Be More Apt to Include You in Discrete Adventures
This one surprised me. These days, if you do anything noteworthy, it is photographed or videotaped and posted on social media within seconds. So, if you want to do more risqué, legally-questionable things, you don’t want people around who will be blabbing about it on the internet. You’d be surprised how many homeless people I’ve seen murdered in the last month.
8. One Can Live in the Moment (Instead of Living in the How the Facebook Crowd Will React to My Hilarious Update in the Future)
For a week or two after dropping Facebook, I had to deal with an odd reflex that tried to drive me to share particularly noteworthy events or thoughts on Facebook. “Oh man, that fat Hispanic woman licking ice cream off the pavement needs to be brought to the attention of Facebook!” Now, I just enjoy moments for what they are, and if I happen to remember it, I have an interesting anecdote to share with whomever I interact with thus making me a more rewarding person to talk to face-to-face.
9. Less Unpleasant Interactions
People can be real jerks over the computer. This isn’t a license for everyone to be mean. I’m just pointing out a psychological theory that the further away people are from each other, the easier it is to be a total ninny to them. I had a good friend say some rather hurtful things to me in a public arena. This could be avoided with face-to-face interaction.
10. Ability to Be a Self-Righteous Prick
Now that I don’t use Facebook, I can look down on people who do. As groups of people rub on their phones, I sit there enjoying a book or the pleasant coo of a pigeon. I smile at a baby. I can enjoy life without the parasitic social media sucking me dry. I am a better person for it.
11. Get News Delivered From Unbiased Sources
Based on some fact pulled directly from my butt, most Americans get their news from links posted on social media. These links typically come from very biased news sources and are accompanied by the sharer’s views on the topic. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your news without the bias? You can. I visit a variety of good news sites for this purpose: NPR, BBC, Salon, Fark, Slate, etc.
12. Less Incriminating/Embarrassing Things for Others to Dig Up
People have lost jobs because of things posted on social media. Your Facebook profile is even more likely to prevent you from landing a job. Why not keep your job while still living the life of a crazy son of a gun?
These are just a few of the positive ways in which my life has improved since leaving Facebook. Go ahead and share this article on Facebook and enjoy the civil, well-thought-out arguments your friends provide for why I’m wrong.