My friend Sarah quit Facebook.
Just quit it – not even an announcement or proclamation – she just quit.
She was craving the freedom that comes with just not knowing so much. Not having too much information. Reclaiming her life.
Facebook has brought some amazing things into my life. I’ve reconnected with friends that I had lost touch with after moving from Saskatchewan to Toronto. I have shared mothering advice with my former party friends and virtually prayed with a friend facing an uphill battle. I have been offered jobs, “virtually” attended weddings and births (seeing pictures makes it seem like you were there, right?) and had the chance to right some wrongs with people that I never would have connected with without Facebook. Facebook has been the catalyst for a growing business that I love (my blog, right here!) and provides me with a platform to learn, share & grow.
Yes, in many ways Facebook has been great and enriched my life.
But, sometimes it has been awful.
I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say that I detest knowing every.single.time. I am left out of something, because I have had friends tell me stories about:
- Finding out that the two couples you were once closest to still hang out all time…but never ask you to join in (you’re always busy with your kids).
- Knowing that a friend had time to visit someone 20 minutes from your house but never even bothered to contact you.
- Consoling a friend who realizes her best friend has a fiancee that she didn’t even know about.
- Seeing people repost and support virtual stranger’s artistic endeavours when they couldn’t even tell you the title of one your published stories. (ok, that’s about me…lol)
- Reading ‘super mom’ posts about amazing and enriching days with a houseful of kids, while your kids are sitting, unwashed, on the couch eating soda crackers and watching hours of Toopy and Binoo just so you can guzzle a coffee and sneak in a shower. (guilty here too)
- Finding out your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend is pregnant (you know, the one he “totally wasn’t seeing” when you broke up with him) and looks freaking amazing.
So here I sit on the fence about quitting Facebook altogether.
Sure, you take the good/you take the bad. Sure, you would have found out anyway that certain new friendships were blossoming while old friendships are fading. Sure, you can’t always be important to everyone. Yet, we all are relegated, at one time or another, to feeling like complete and utter crap because of Facebook.
And so I’m left to wonder, is maintaining a few ‘virtual’ friendships and connections worth it all?
Is Facebook really that central to my life that the thought of deactivating my profile for even a month causes me panic?Are selfies and potty training woes more important to me than my peace of mind?
If Facebook is making all of us feel like complete and utter crap, why are we all so focused on it?
I’m not entirely sure of the answer if I am being completely honest.
There is a huge part of me that loves living online and being part of the lives of others in a virtual way. But there is another part of me that cries daily to just know less (and probably share less about my own life too), just the way my friend Sarah felt. There is truly a part of me that would like to quit Facebook altogether.
Sometimes knowing it all, seeing it all, being part of it all can feel overwhelming and down right intrusive. Sometimes being in the thick of it all can be maddening and frustrating. But sometimes being present online and in the lives of those who live halfway across the world is the best thing about my day.
My friend Sarah has now quit Facebook for two months. If she is honest (because I made her promise to tell the truth), she misses it. She doesn’t miss the religious and political posts [raise your hand if you’re right there with her!] but she does miss the interaction with people she just can’t possibly see in real life. She misses the relationships she gained through Facebook and (because she’s being totally honest) she is probably going to go back online.
So maybe that answers my question: Facebook doesn’t need to be the centre of my life, but it is part of my life as I live them right now. The key might be to not getting caught up in what you’re missing thanks to the plethora of knowledge that Facebook now gives us, but rather the joy it truly can give us by helping us foster new relationships and grow current (or past) ones.
Maybe choosing to quit Facebook isn’t the answer after all. Maybe choosing to embrace the good and ignore the bad is how we have to approach social media in this day and age.
But if we are being truthful, can we really and truly live without having at least the OPTION of knowing it all…
I've been considering the same thing myself lately. But the one thing I get from FB (which I'm sure I could get elsewhere if I had the time to look) is inspiration. Inspiration to not be connected 24/7. Inspiration to teach my children the responsible way to use social media. Inspiration to pick up the phone and call or take out paper and pen and write a letter rather than post on a friend's wall. So, for now, I'm sticking with FB.
Sarah Newcomb says
Very good points! There are lots of good reasons to stay on FB…I think I may need to find better ways to cope with the 'bad'
I stayed on facebook for as long as I did for all the reasons you stated. I wasn't ready to leave. A week ago, I hadn't even considered the possibility. Something in me just clicked.
Sarah Newcomb says
I think that moment is on the horizon for me.
The beauty of Facebook is that you can archive everything you've posted and download it to your computer. You can also reactivate if you miss it.
Sarah Newcomb says
That's good to know…maybe a test run is in my future…
What about just tuning in less? You could do something like removing the application from your phone so you have to check using a computer. The same sort of issues with friends bothered me until I took a lesson from my husband (something men are actually better at). If it bothers you – let them know – with some sort of filter of course. Chances are they'll feel worse about the situation then you do and you won't have to keep harbouring negative feelings. Bonus – it is easier to be confrontational behind a computer screen 😉
Sarah Newcomb says
All excellent points- I am trying to back away. I'm on a computer all day for work, though, which makes a quick peek onto FB so tempting! It is true that I should confront when something bothers me…I'm brutal at that. I let everything fester. But, truthfully, a lot of the stuff that bothers me (or others) on FB is so silly- and I know it is against my logic to be annoyed that so and so had dinner without me…and yet…
I love that you can "unfollow" people, so they no longer show up in your timeline, but you are still friends. You can go to their page and look at pictures and comment on what you want, but you aren't getting hit with all their drama every day 🙂
Sarah Newcomb says
Yes, I have taken advantage of that fab feature from time to time:) I think it's the overall- pictures popping up, hearing other people complain about what they saw, the constant info overload…
Facebook must be stopped!
Facebook is a waste of time. An awful lot of people spend too much time on facebook. It becomes an obsession. I have seen people post continuously… having conversations with nobody. No comments, no likes. But the posts keep coming and the story develops into something that is… well, just a load of rubbish really. Perhaps these are people who don't have anything better to be doing with their time in the first place. However, they could be using the time to better their lives. After moving to a city where I knew nobody (apart those I started to work with) I deleted my facebook account completely and I don't miss it at all. I had found myself "unfollowing" so many people who had nothing useful or important to say, or even worse posting smart arse comments on their attention seeking posts. Out of the several hundred people on my friends list who I actually wanted to stay in contact with there was only 20 instances where I didn't have their phone number/email address. So I jotted them down in a .txt file which was saved on my laptop… the laptop I then dropped and damaged the hard drive of. Oh well… if they need me they can use the six degrees of separation theory to find me and vice versa 🙂
People are talking like leaving Facebook is some kind of bereavement. Just deactivate and you'll be suprised how liberating that is. You can always go back to it if you really want. DO NOT WORRY.
Facebook started out as a way to connect friends but now that's finished it's being used as a way to connect everyone to Starbucks and Macdonalds!!
At risk of sounding like David Icke..
PEOPLE! WAKE UP AND EMANCIPATE YOURSELVES!!!!
FaceBook is full of sheep with no life!
Facebook isn't even real. It exists on the computer. The world is real. The two are separate entities. I prefer the physical world. I used to have an account. I gave it up over two years ago and i don't miss it a bit. Hardly anybody communicates with me anymore except those really close to me, just the way it was supposed to be.
I agree with previous posters. Facebook is just a cesspool of insecure losers self promoting and pretending they're narcissistic twats. Time to get real, I ditched that site and never intend on going back. I found it draining in every sense of the word. Good riddance