Over the past few months, I have been struggling with what to do about Facebook. As I work to remove distractions from my life, I have learned very quickly just how heavy a distraction Facebook is. So, I’ve been slowly weeding it out of my life.
About a year ago, I experienced a personal hurt. I re-experienced this personal hurt on an almost daily basis by way of Facebook updates. I really struggled with the bitterness and anger I felt over the situation. I resented everyone involved – even those not directly involved. After doing some deep soul searching, I learned these people weren’t worth the anger and hurt feelings, and I wanted to cull them from my life. Unfortunately, that would come with confrontation, so I opted to “unfollow” them instead. That unfollow button was the best feature Facebook has ever offered. Unfollowing these people was liberating! I was free from my anger almost immediately. It felt so good I continued to unfollow anyone who ever posted anything that caused me even a moment of irritation, anger, frustration, annoyance or sadness (personal sadness, not sadness over their own situation).
Then I started getting braver. If I just didn’t care what someone had to post, I made the decision to delete them from my friends list. This occurred as part of my Konmari Journey. I think I deleted close to 100 people. I also went through and removed groups and pages I no longer wished to follow. Facebook felt lighter and my newsfeed felt cleaner.
Suddenly, my news feed wasn’t so annoying. But I still had this problem.
I didn’t really give a hoot what was posted on Facebook. None of it was exciting. None of it made me feel happy. But yet I was spending hours reading the newsfeed. Anytime I had a spare second, I’d browse through the newsfeed. Literally, for hours. When I’d get to stuff I’d already read, I’d refresh and start over. What a waste of time!
It was at that point that I decided to remove the app from my phone and only visit Facebook with intent via the computer. This resulted in me cutting down my usage a lot and prevented me from sharing a bunch of mundane who cares stuff. That thing that happened that annoyed me for 5 minutes at some point last week that has since been forgotten did not receive any Facebook fanfare. The stalkers who just troll to see what everyone is up to had no idea I went camping last weekend. You know, because who cares? However, on the flip side, that super cute picture I took of my kid walking with her daddy did not receive any Facebook fanfare, either. Nor did the interception my son got during his flag football game. And did it matter? Not one bit. We still celebrated my son’s interception and I still smile when I see the picture of my daughter and her dad. The lack of Facebook fanfare did not take away from those two moments.
However, Facebook is still a distraction. I currently have a direct sell business (more on that here) that I run through a Facebook group. I also like to keep up with the Konmari communities and minimalism communities on Facebook. So I downloaded the Facebook Groups app thinking that would help me ditch Facebook without actually ditching it. But, I was still viewing too much Facebook from the little glowing rectangle in my hand thanks to the groups app. And I was still viewing hours of Facebook content on the computer.
I don’t enjoy it, so why do I keep going back?
I may have found my reason. Fear of Missing Out. FOMO. Emily Torres, author of Minimal Millennial speaks about this syndrome (is it really a syndrome?) here. It finally made sense. It’s the reason I kept Facebook Groups. It’s the reason I kept Facebook Messenger. It’s the reason I was still viewing Facebook from a computer. I was scared of missing something.
My sister-in-law and I are both working on weeding Facebook out of our lives and she has also indicated that the fear of missing something keeps her from giving it up completely. But what are we really going to miss? Someone’s gripe? Someone’s brag post? The opportunity to compare our wonderful life to someone else’s wonderful life that we view as being slightly more wonderful than our own?
If anything, Facebook is reducing the awesomeness of our own lives every time we browse the newsfeed. My life is awesome. I have a great job. I have an amazing husband and wonderful children. I have a suitable house, a suitable car, and make a suitable living. I don’t need to validate any of that by making a braggy post on Facebook. And I most certainly don’t want to cheapen it by comparing it to the life of some “almost friend” on Facebook that might appear to be better than my own life. That’s not fair to me or my family.
So, I’m working a bit harder to ditch Facebook. I removed Facebook Groups from my phone. I deactivated my business persona account (the one where I made some selly posts and tried – and failed – to keep up with my customers) and I deleted my business “like” page. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be deleting my business group as well. I’ve already announced to my “clients” that I’m closing my doors to pursue the things that make me happy, so keeping the group open is a moot point. I may post my direct sell inventory on a garage sale page to get rid of it or I may just have a garage sale – I haven’t decided how I want to tackle that yet. I’ll send a message to those I wish to remain in close contact with and exchange phone numbers. Once that’s done, I’ll have little to no reason to ever frequent Facebook again. And why have an account if you aren’t going to use it?
So, I will begin the process of downloading the joy sparking images from my Facebook account very soon. I should have most of them saved already. Then it’ll be “adios Facebook”.
Have you deactivated or deleted your Facebook account? How has your life changed as a result? What additional advice might you have for me?