Three weeks ago I left Facebook.
It feels weird.
I’ve been on Facebook ever since my sophomore year of college. Back then it was for college students only. Facebook slowly added one college at a time to access the network. I mean, the social network lollll. We celebrated the day Facebook finally added our college.
We excitedly added the high school people we hadn’t thought about for three whole years and our new college friends.
Before all of the privacy settings you could totally stalk your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend or you could poke people. Statuses were limited to “[Insert name] name is ________.” We also wore ties as belts, bra straps as head bands, and blazers over graphic tees. It was a strange time.
Facebook evolved from friends chatting with friends to everyone and literally their moms and grandmas joining. Businesses joined Facebook and then they added pages and events, sponsoring posts that popped up in your timeline whether you wanted them to or not.
Bloggers began to push their blog posts (hi, totally guilty) and multilevel marketers pushed their products.
And then there’s the whole algorithm thing. You used to see posts from your friends in the order in which they posted them. Now you see a random mish mash of updates mixed with sponsored posts, half of which you don’t want to see.
People overshare photos of their injuries and toilet training adventures, recruit, flaunt, rant, and ask you to share memes to prove that you love Jesus or America. As someone struggling with infertility, pregnancy announcements and daily updates jab at my heart (though I am very happy for them) and parental humblebragging frays my nerves. I found myself getting annoyed at people who I do actually care about very much.
It’s just a lot.
I’d toyed with the idea of deactivating my Facebook account for a while but these things held me back: The fear of missing out, Facebook groups I liked participating in, and my blog page of which I’d gained 1400+ followers.
For a “blogger” leaving Facebook is pretty much unheard of. If you de-activate your account you lose your page.
On our recent trip to San Francisco, I remained mostly unplugged. We walked miles and miles eating and drinking things while the sea breeze hit our faces. This moment of bliss found me at the pier where I decided to let it go. When I returned I did.
I had no idea how much time I’ve been spending on Facebook. My phone’s screen time reports indicate an average weekly decrease of 35-40%. What’s it like to have 40% of your screen time released? Again, totally weird.
There’s less to check on my phone. I find myself thinking about other things. I feel an urge to learn how to play a stringed instrument and take cooking classes again. I’m consuming more media like movies and Youtube but am also reading more books. I feel less exposure to negativity and ads.
In contrast, I feel more socially isolated. Facebook groups and event invites played a significant role in my life. While I may reactivate my Facebook account someday (with different boundaries), I’m giving this a chance. Missing convenient event invitations does suck. Not being on Facebook is pushing me to reach out to people directly to get together and look for other meet-up opportunities. This feels scary but I’m trying.
My whole life for the past few years has revolved around blogging, trying to gain followers, and hanging around people who are really into blogging. Now that I’m not blogging for monetary gain or sponsored opportunities (but for self-expression & fun), I feel like I’m out on a limb trying on this different hat.
One of the best things about being an adult is getting to try on different hats. We’re allowed to go through “phases” even as adults. It’s all part of our growth and self-actualization process. Whether you feel like quitting your corporate job to pursue your more creative passions, or pursue a corporate job and save your creative passions for your passion project, you get to change gears. You can try different diets, hobbies, self-care rituals, spiritual expressions, make-up looks, and fashion statements. Life is too short not to try new things.
Being an adult can really suck, but being able to try new things without asking permission is great. So is eating dessert for breakfast. That’s pretty great too.
Some Things I’ve done since leaving Facebook:
- Watching a bunch of movies including A Star Is Born, Halloween, the newer It re-make, Hocus Pocus, and Practical Magic which I had never seen before and love love loved (Alanna Bennet recently wrote this fantastic piece on the film’s relevancy 20 years later). The Haunting of Hill House is next. Tis the season.
- Cleaned and organized my toiletries drawers. Why this took me two years I have no idea.
- Helping Jake with some home improvement projects before the winter.
- Taking the dog on long glorious walks on the boulevard through the crunchy fall leaves.
- Baking cookies.
- Getting into making Overnight Oats.
- Experimenting with cooking vegan meats from the The Herbiverous Butcher
- Chatting more with coworkers after work.
- Reading books. By the end of this month, I will have read these three:
- Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston: This book chronicles people’s’ searches for an ancient La Ciudad Blanca in the rainforest of Honduras. Then it follows the author as he travels to the Mosquitia Honduras with a group of other archaeologists and scientists to find the city they mapped out with special aerial technology that revealed the topography of the ground. What they found and learned about the civilization is fascinating. Also fascinating is the section detailing the pathology of the tropical parasite many of them contracted from sand flies that eventually erode people’s faces. People in other countries since the ancient times have been afflicted with this parasite. One of the manifestations of the illness that the group caught has no cure yet but can be forced into remission (though this is often times not successful). Most poeple don’t have access to treatment. This group had to seek special care at the NIH. The book goes on to share how a few cases of this disease were found in Texas thanks to global warming.
- The Mother of All Questions by Rebecca Solnit: October’s book club pick
- Grand Forks by Marilyn Hagerty: A complication of her restaurant reviews from her newspaper column. Bourdain wrote the forward and had helped her get this published.
- Addition I forgot to add! I listened to the Escaping NXIVM podcast about the weird cult that Allison Mack helped command. What a wild ride.
Feel free to share any thoughts on Facebook and social media below in the comments!