Monday, September 9, 2013

12 Reasons Why Quitting Facebook Was the Best Decision of My Life

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 jamesbrains55@gmail.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.

                                                                 

5 comments:

  1. I've always been wishy washy with FB. I've deactivated my account 2 previous times for security and privacy reasons. I deactivated my account today because I realized the very things you discussed. I was depressed over every little bad thing in social media. FB had become a rant and rave page only. You're right, what do we talk about when it's already been said on FB? I check it every day, throughout the day and find I'm less productive, duh. I have actually been considering it over the last couple of months and thought this would be a good way to bring in the new year. If it's important, they'll learn to text or call me. I'm mostly just suck ox the stress I feel with it and how much time I spend catching up on posts if I go on hiatus for a week or two. I think all I really want is a very good online photo album I can share with family; comment free, just there for them to get pictures of family. That's originally what I went to FB for because online photo albums were often slow and cumbersome to navigate, but I slowly got sucked into the other garbage. I'm going back to the email thing and if they don't check their emails, then that's their loss. I also need to set an example for my technology addicted son. I give it about a week before someone notices since it's not unusual for me to disappear that long.

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  2. Bravo to the blogger, and to the commenter above. I deleted my FB account just last night, after yet another holiday row among family over who lurks but doesn't ever comment or share; who's got whom blocked; who can be counted on to snarkily stir the pot; etc. (And then today I went looking for blogs and articles like this one, to justify to myself what I'd done). I found that people in their 50s and 60s, still relatively naive to the the Internet generally and to FB especially, get their feelings hurt easily, since they carry their real-world sensibilities onto the site. So I wanted all of this out of my life, for the "Why My Life Is Better" reasons in the blog post above. So I unfriended all my friends and my "friends;" deleted all my posts, likes and comments, including in groups, which I then left; and deleted all my photos and whatever else. It took a mighty long time. Once I had a completely empty profile and no visible presence anymore on FB, I deleted my account, and now I have to make it to 14 days out, after which my profile will be completely gone (so FB claims). I realize FB must store my stuff on their servers forever, but at least I have no reason now to log back in, due to my "scorched earth." Now I will e-mail people in my actual life to explain what I did. I do realize that unless I am willing to work a bit to keep me in their minds, I run the risk of losing touch, but that's OK, for then I will (re)discover who my real friends have been.

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  3. Totally agreed on your reasons why facebook sucks the life out of us. I deactivated my account twice with the second time still ongoing. I feel like I'm losing my humanity. So far I don't feel the urge to go back and come to think of it, this parasitic social media caused me so much of my precious time and kept me away from checking better websites where there's more valuable information, kept me away from reading good books and other worthwhile activities. When I realized that facebook has made me more of a drone instead of a person, the time to pull out just kicked in. Moreover, Facebook has only made me more isolated. Each time I log in and would see twenty people or more who are online, only one or two would care to say hi. I tried to greet some but none of them would even respond. It's like when you're inside, you practically don't exist at all since everyone is just too busy or deliberately ignoring you. Moreover, Facebook is too much drama as people have fought over trivial things being posted that a person going into this social networking site is actually switching on into that reality show mode. The worst part of it, Facebook is nothing but a narcissist's heaven.

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  4. I've come and gone several times now on Facebook. The final argument for me is something you mention in passing which is how Facebook diffuses a common contact point and forces (me at least but it sounds like you too) the "chasing of different inboxes". The web itself is a social network, I don't need the redundant presence, particularly if it means ceding away visitor metrics to boot.

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  5. I just deleted my facebook account. They "generously" gave me 14 days to reconsider. Don't worry, I won't. I did download all of my pictures, etc. via a zip file.

    Some good points in this blog and in others I have read. I am tired of the inane and insane rantings, the forum in-fighting, liking things just because others do, etc. I found it to be too narcissistic and self aggrandizing.

    I also had periods of time that I felt worse about life and got depressed after reading some posts. I think it can be a self esteem killer if you let it and in my case it was may times.

    So goodbye Facebook!

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