Why did I leave Facebook? Who cares. I know. But I thought I would try and write this out more as a self-help therapy than anything else. The idea of leaving Facebook has been percolating in my brain for well over a year. The seed of this thought came to me when watching the TEDx talk by Dr. Cal Newport, but it has taken me a while to follow through with the idea and even longer to formulate my thoughts on WHY I left.
When social media constructs like MySpace and Facebook first came on the scene, it was novel, new, and exciting to connect and reconnect with friends old and new from around the world.
“Not only am I ok without social media, but I think that I’m actually better off.” – Dr. Cal Newport
However, as time went on, what *I* saw social media turn into was a number of things that just didn’t add to my human experience. I have run across a lot of the following people in my 10 years+ on Facebook:
- The bitch and moan megaphone people
I get it. We have all had that bad customer service experience or been irked by a co-worker or someone in traffic. But it gets old. Quick.
- The “dear diary, here are my inner most opinions on…” people
I don’t think my thoughts on race, religion, or anything else so personal should be broadcast to the world. It’s often taken out of context and it may show some ugly part of your or my personality. I want to save that kind of conversation for my closest friends to talk about over a nice glass of wine or a cup of coffee or write it down in my journal and reflect on the thoughts and ideas.
- The thought police. A.K.A. “The Brown Shirts”
This is the person that lurks, never offering ANY positive thoughts or contribution to your feed, but damn if they don’t watch your feed closely looking for an opportunity to shame you on an out-of-context thought or opinion or just an opportunity to tear you down. This is my least favorite Facebook-er. It’s caused me to really start disliking people in real life and it’s just plain ugly.
- The Vauge-Bookers and attention seekers
“OMG, I can’t believe that just happened. My life is over.” – No other context and no updates. These Facebookers play on the emotions of their friends and delight in the “what’s wrong?” responses and attention that they so desperately seek.
- The “This headline agrees with my world view, so I will share this article without reading it” people
I will self incriminate that I have been guilty of this. This is the enemy of critical thinking. Often the articles are from incredibly untrustworthy sources and organizations that I would never want to have my name associated with, let alone to have the world think that I agree with them.
Point #5 was actually the breaking point for me. Our democratic process, no matter how flawed or perfect, was intentionally interfered with by foreign actors who do not have our best interests at heart. I lay the blame solely at the feet social media. Their platforms made it possible for someone with a little cash and an agenda to influence the election through the creation of click-bait-y, propaganda articles that appealed to the masses that the bad actors wished to influence. And we fell for it; hook, line, and sinker.
“Just unfollow these people and set your profile security to control what they can see.”
Just unfollow these people…
Look, it’s just too much work to be constantly curating your friends and followers lists. While, the idea of Facebook and social media in general is a fantastic idea, I’m afraid, at least for me, Facebook is a failed experiment. And don’t forget. Facebook is NOT free. Your data, thoughts, opinions, photos, relationships, purchases, clicks, likes, groups memberships… EVERYTHING you do on social media and Facebook, is being monetized in the form of advertising and in the form of your data being sold off to the highest bidder.
It’s been a few weeks now and you know what? I still have friends. I still get invited to things, and I still have entertainment options. What I do also have is more free time and more thought cycles to spend on more creative and other pursuits. What I *don’t* have is regrets!