Recently, I’ve been pondering the idea of giving up most, if not all, of my social media accounts. There are a few that enjoy like Snapchat with my friends and kids but it has no real value in my life, and Instagram for inspiration for my weight loss and artistic endeavors although I do find that time passes rather quickly once absorbed into the abyss of photos and stories. And the one that we all love to hate but hang on to with the commitment of Gollem’s “my precious” is the evil, but addicting Facebook. In this post, I’d like to discuss the arguments for keeping Facebook and see if they really relate to me and my life.
According to an article by Mashable.com, the top reason we still use Facebook is to stay in touch with current friends and family members. Given the fact that I do not use Facebook for this reason, my decision should be easy. Current friends are a text away and my two closest friends and I have a group chat that we use on a regular basis. If one of them has something exciting to share I get a text, not a Facebook notification. The last person I messaged on Facebook was a client and that could just as easily been a text or an email. So the “staying in touch” argument is not valid for me.
Another article from copyblogger.com aimed the arguments from a business standpoint. Since the whole reason I got back on Facebook in 2018 was to make my Celebrant business visible, I wanted to hear what the article said. The author of the article stated that “visibility” was the #4 reason to use Facebook. Okay, but after a year and a half of being on Facebook promoting my Celebrant business I’ve only gotten three clients and guess where they came from? No, not Facebook. From word of mouth recommendations from previous clients which is (in my opinion) the greatest form of visibility one can have as a business. So, did Facebook help me become “seen” and “heard of”? Nope. Not at all. Easier to access me? Not really. Again, I’m a phone call or text away.
There was an obscure post I read a while back that stated Facebook is great for meeting like-minded individuals or groups. Yes, I’ve joined a few “like-minded” groups in the hope of connecting with others who share my ideals and passions. What I found instead was a group of people posting regurgitated memes about the group subject. Want to start a book club reading subjects on our particular world view? Oh no! We can’t actually connect! What’s wrong with you? We just want to share memes or articles we’ve found so you can “like” them and then we’ll feel good about ourselves. I left groups feeling as isolated as I did before their group popped up in my feed. That small glimmer of hope that I could have a conversation with someone who was open-minded and had a secular world view was shattered by the robot drones I found once I was “approved” to join said group. Disappointing, but it shouldn’t have been. I should have known better.
When someone asks if I have Facebook and I confirm that I do, it is hilarious to see their haughty announcement of “I don’t have Facebook, it’s so lame” yet twenty minutes (give or take) later they’ll make some random comment about seeing someone’s post on Facebook and once called out on this, will confess that they do have a “secret” Facebook profile but “I don’t post anything” by which they mean they use it to stalk people they don’t like. As if it’s okay to utilize Facebook for the condemnation of others, but outright lie when asked if they are on Facebook. Some will go as far to use their family members Facebook account to see someone’s profile post. Admit it, you’ve done it. Especially if someone has blocked you.
For a period of time from 2016 to 2018 I left Facebook and I was fine. Once I hit that “Delete Account” button a wave of relief washed over me and I felt great. That carried on through until I got my Humanist Celebrant endorsement and it was recommended that I join social media outlets to make myself visible to other Humanists. I readily agreed and at first it wasn’t bad. A few hiccups with people who were easily blocked, but after a while the overwhelming content was too much. Frankly, I’ve learned more than I care to know about people I used to have respect for.
With recent data and security breaches, Facebook has been losing members. My affiliation with Facebook has been public, nothing was made private because I felt that kept me in check. If I wouldn’t want anyone to know, then it shouldn’t go on Facebook. I can’t tell you the amount of people who told me that I was crazy to have a public profile, and it makes sense. The less people know about you, the better. (See previous paragraph)
Despite all the arguments to keep Facebook, I must admit that my final decision is that I want to get rid of it. I want to read more books, spend more time doing artistic things, and connect with people in actual human groups doing actual human things. Can a person do those things and have Facebook? Absolutely. Can I? Nope. I’m not afraid to admit that Facebook consumes far more of life than I want it to and that my efforts to limit it have proved unsuccessful. It is time to delete it and move on with my life.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be contacting clients to give them my email and phone number so they can contact me outside of Facebook. And I’m guessing by Thanksgiving my Facebook journey will be over.
Until next time,