Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lessons In Leaving Facebook


Out of all the "crazy" decisions I've made lately (and Lord help me, there have been many), the one that seems to really shock people is when I utter the following words. You ready? Sitting down?

"I deleted my facebook."

While there is a fair amount of shock, the most common reaction I've gotten is intrigue. The person I'm speaking with gets a glimmer of excitement in their eye, moves in a bit closer, and asks me what it's like, why did I do it, and other questions that could easily make a passerby assume we're talking about something truly illicit. 

So what have I learned from this little experiment in the past few weeks? Many things, but here are my top five for your reading pleasure:

1. My confidence level has massively increased. This is the one I really didn't see coming. To be fair, my confidence is increasing from a handful of other tactics, and just, I think, as a result of the place of life I'm in. Facebook allows us to see what everyone else we know, or sort of know, or maybe once met, is up to. Thus allowing us to compare where we're at to where we're inferring they are at. Except, as we all know, everyone puts their best social media foot forward. I'm guilty of this myself. Without the ability to scroll through my newsfeed, obsessing over every career, relationship and life success, I'm able to get back to focusing on what I'm up to and feeling good about it. Thus, confidence.

2. I'm reading books and plays. Last year, I read approximately 1.5 books in total. In the past three weeks, I've read 4 books and 3 plays. As it turns out, I really love reading. I have this vague memory of loving to read for, you know, my entire life but reading my social media somehow started to take the place of reading. Oh and puzzles! You guys, doing puzzles is so fun. I like to call it "puzzling", as in "oh I'm just over here, not on facebook, puzzling away".

3. People are calling and writing to tell me things, to share things that are important to them, or invite me to do something. Without facebook, they can't just write on my wall or send me a message. Having to take actual time out of one's day to spend time communicating with people that matter to you is important. Making an effort in one's relationships matter. Facebook allowed me to be lazy about this, and in turn, made it okay for everyone else to contact me in the same manner. There's a real thrill in hearing someone call to tell me something exciting that's happening in their lives, and one that's missed when it comes via social media.

4. I'm using my computer way less. If you know me in real life, you know I've basically been attached to my laptop for the past full year. Apparently, there's some sort of connection for me with checking facebook and using my computer. Like checking my social media became my version of taking a break, except, as you probably know, that ain't no break. Also, without that pesky comparison, I don't feel a heightened sense of need to go accomplish yet another thing for that day. I can take an actual break, and go sit outside with one of those fancy books I like so much.

5. I'm more relaxed, happier, no longer feel lonely all the time, and am much more engaged in my own life and experiences. When something exciting would happen to me, even just a really cool day, I liked to share it on facebook. In a weird way, it allowed me to affirm that things really are moving forward and happening in my life. If I wrote it down, or other people acknowledged it by reading, liking or commenting on it, then it was real. Now I get to just enjoy the experiences of my life as I'm experiencing them. I decide what they mean and how I feel about them, and I don't necessarily weigh them as meaning something, but just something to enjoy. I take time to just be (again: books! who knew?) and relaxing doesn't mean I'm laying down while still working, it means I'm actually relaxing. I'm not having to see random news stories, political opinions, or scary images that would be all over my newsfeed so my stress level stays lower. I'm happier in general but removing facebook has upped that even more.

To be fair, I did not delete facebook, but deactivated it. This means I can return at any time and it will be as though I never left, all things exactly as they were. FB is straight up creepy when you leave it. First, you have to tell them why, then they send you five photos of friends, noting that "Katie" will really miss you on facebook, and so on. Then they tell you roughly 60 times that you can come back at any time. Then they send emails. I'm like, "facebook, I get it, you don't want me to go, but I really need a little time apart".

Due to work obligations, I needed to be able to access two pages. I created a work account, using a different email and different last name, yet when I logged on to that account, my entire newsfeed was filled with posts from friends on my now deactivated account. People who I was not 'friends' with on this account (I have zero friends on it) and would not know their information was showing up on my newsfeed. CREEPY! Eek.

I will be re-activating my account at some point. I like to have it for industry connections and opportunities, not to mention the fact that I run my own business and social media accounts for other people. In short, I currently do have a need for the networking opportunities, however I do not "need" it. And neither do you. When I return, I plan to keep my work account active and use that during the week, only using my personal account once a week. Will I be able to do it? Who knows, but I hope.

What about you? Would you ever leave The Book? Do you think any of these changes would happen in your life? Share please :)

6 comments:

  1. I've definitely considered it. And there's always that wonder of if I need it for a job. Because I do like social media, and blogging, and instagram and all of that stuff. Isn't industry standard to have it. And what the heck would I be missing out on?! I go back and forth a lot on this. Maybe sub twitter in for Facebook, but then what about long lost friends?! Sigh. My current challenge with FB is to not "like" anything. If I find a post enjoyable I will comment on it now. No liking. I've started to comment more on instagram too because of it. Still double tapping at the instagram, but also attempting to engage more. I'm still trying to figure out where I stand with everything. The benefits you experienced sound awesome though.

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    1. I love that you're actively trying to engage more. If we're going to be sharing, we might as well be connecting, right? Thanks so much for your comment!! xo

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  2. I recently deactivated mine, and I was SO creeped out because Facebook sent me emails telling me about the people who missed me and what I was missing. Like, why is it so important to them that no one ever take a break?! It just reinforced my decision to stop using it because of how intrusive that was. I only deactivated it last week so I haven't noticed anything huge happening, except that I don't really miss it and don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I sometimes catch myself wanting to check it out of nothing more than habit, but it's pretty easy to just do something else instead.

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    1. Those emails!! SO strange. I'd love to hear how it's going in a few weeks if you feel like commenting again to update! The first week I totally forgot I even ever had one, it was so freeing. Now on like week 4, I think I'm nearly ready to hop back on - mainly for work purposes. Thank you for writing!! xo

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  3. I deleted (deactivated?) mine a few years ago and never looked back. I made a secret one because I had to keep up my blog page as well but I don't have any friends or anything else on that profile. I really don't miss it at all, and when I peer over Brandon's shoulder while he's checking his, I'm reminded of why I stopped (clashing egos causing debates, stupid statuses about stuff no one cares about, albums of pictures of the same people doing the same shit). I figure there are enough ways for people to contact me and if something's important enough we can talk about it through e-mail, on the phone, in person, etc.

    If you wanna be REALLY creeped out, watch the documentary "Terms and Conditions Apply". The NSA has complete access to everything posted on Facebook, even private profiles, messages that have been deleted, etc. Not that I'm doing anything they'd care about, but I'd rather be off the radar. People could easily find my blog by googling my name, but I'm pretty restrictive as to what I post there.

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    1. I love that you don't have one because it totally fits you, girl. You're out there doing big things and don't have time for trivial facebook reading!! Love it :) I don't know if I'll ever watch that doc but holymoly that is freaky they do that. xoxo

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