What I learned after a Week of Deleting Facebook

So I deleted my Facebook account one week ago. One day I woke up and I didn’t want to deal with the people on there anymore. Not that it was anything personal against those so-called friends who practically only exist in the social media world. No, I enjoyed reading stories on how heartbroken my friend back home was. And her desperate posts on how she could get back with her ex who happened to be far, far away in Timbuktu at that time. Not to mention another friend who was constantly posting picture messages in intervals of 5 minutes to get some sort of attention out of other Facebook nerds. And have you ever noticed how depressing it can be when you update your status or picture and none of your followers actually hits the like button? In your mind you are begging everyone to leave a comment, which in turn provokes another round of forlorn posts, initializing yet another vicious cycle. You don’t care who notices that you went to the beach today. As long as someone does! Yes, even that loser you went to high school with and who is still part of your very intimate online life.

Boy, was I fed up with this online world at that point in time. So one day I decided to put an end to the pathetic existence of sharing my entire private world with 228 others. 228 people who I was seldom in touch with anymore and whose pictures didn’t evoke a feeling of happiness but rather repulse after seeing kitschy dog photos or hideous foodie experiments making out the rest of their days.

While at some point in time I had ferociously sucked up the latest news and was curious to see how other people’s lives had turned out (possibly worse than mine), I got exhausted by being everyone’s nice girl and leaving a comment on things I deeply could care less about. Not that Facebook ever imposed a feeling of peer pressure or loss of identity on me, don’t get me wrong here. But it did somehow compose an overkill for secrets and friendships.

All of a sudden my German buddies did not see it a necessity to write me lengthy e-mails anymore. After all, they’ve seen the picture album of me touring the Grand Canyon with my former roommate and read my status update on how I had moved for the quazillionst amount of time. And as soon as a feeling of sadness overcame me and I was talking about how weak this world can be, people I had not heard of in two years thought it would be a great idea to express their rightful and happy opinions on my own personal wall. Smack, right there, one of the highest intrusions into someone’s life, quite unthinkable.

I know of people who only have this site to be a part of the hype. Who never post a dime except for Christmas and their birthday. Whose 3 annual picture updates compose an uproar among their other 500 friends and an outpouring of “where are yous”. But I am just not that type of person. When I do something, I do it full-heartedly. Same with social media. No update can be left uncommented, no thought unscrutinized – at least when I am around.

So after this animated discussion I had during one of those New York Magazine Launch Parties in the TriBeCa Grand Hotel (hey, we all love to brag, don’t we?), I was inclined to put some reason and thought into this topic. The opponents were talking about how Facebook will soon be gone (soon as in a time frame of 4 years). The younger generation was vehemently shaking their heads and neglecting the fact that other networking sites had slowly departed the picture. True, FB had outlasted the kinky MySpace, which in the end had only been a means of socialization for failing musicians and wanna-be-pornstar teenagers( see half-nude profile pictures all over the Web). And had digressed to a dating site for one-night-stands in the conversational Europe and it’s 30-something-year-old inhabitants. But overall, Facebook has lasted quite a bit, hasn’t it? And it’s come a long way from being the Facemash of Harvard’s finest to the best tool of advertisement for a teenage Japanese singer, no?

The first 24 hours or so were hard. What am I talking about? For two full days my thumb had automatically pressed the Facebook button on my smart phone, just to be re-directed to a de-activated site. And what’s the sense in disturbing the sleeping whale when I am so much better off without? Strangely enough, I adjusted to the circumstances. It didn’t even take me more than half a week. And puff, towards the weekend all my social media anxiety was gone. I had more success in staying in touch with my German friends over Whatsapp and E-mail than I ever had been the previous months over Facebook. And after consulting with the lives of others and sharing some experiences, I wasn’t missing out on too much after all. As it turns out, even my blog stats have not been affected in the least tidbit as far as referrers go.

No, in the end I figured that everyone who wants to stay in touch with me either has my e-mail address or possesses my cell phone number. And it still rings very true that my closest circle of German friends never actually started an account with this Social Media Giant. Since they refuse to read this blog, I guess I really do have to stay in touch with them over the hard-earned way of a personal E-mail.

The only thing I might be missing? These small wisdoms a day my particular friend kept posting every 5 minutes or so… If she had only kept it to once a day, oh boy, maybe I had left the account open!

Not that I am not nourishing the idea of opening up a different Facebook… Perhaps one only dedicated to my musings and photography. But in this case it would be less personal and more public. Oh, and what about twitter? Is anyone an avid tweeter among you?

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12 thoughts on “What I learned after a Week of Deleting Facebook

  1. I have been on FB pretty much since it started. Back then, you had to have a college email address to even sign up, and in ways that was nice because you didn’t have too many people trying to look in on what you were doing. Now people have to worry about employers (or potential employers) checking up, who sees certain statuses, etc. It’s pretty often that I contemplate deleting someone or at least hiding their updates because they only post negative things or annoying links or excessive pictures on one topic or another that I get sick of seeing.

    On the other hand, it’s kind of nice because I do keep in touch with a few friends through FB that I might not otherwise. I can talk to my parents via FB chat/video chat without having to pay for a phone call or explain Skype to them. And I met my husband through FB and am not sure our paths would have crossed otherwise (or maybe they would have). It would be a little hard to delete for those reasons. But if it went away, I could live without it.

    • I do remember that back in 2007 they also required me to have a college e-mail and since I was at UWF I had one. But in 2008 they must have gotten rid of it already, so what was the point?!

      You are so right, it was less blown up, but even 3 years after they started it seemed that already a ton of people were on their (maybe not the 13-year-olds, though). You see, whenever I had someone annoying like that (posting stupid stuff), I made a point to just delete them rightaway. But over time these people have become so many in my facebook life, I became very discouraged.

      For some reason my computer hated the chat option and decided to crash when I opened it up. So I was offline. I have skype and whatsapp to keep in touch with friends from overseas (meaning Germany in my case) and that seems to work ok.

  2. i think it is really cool that you deleted your Facebook. i have pondered doing it, but i feel like i will lose some connections with people in the states, who won’t keep up with me any other way (email, etc.). that makes me question, what kind of friends are then, then? still, i am so sick of Facebook. there is so much crap, so many people doing random or negative posts, that i just scroll past everything. i think i use fb to send messages to a certain few people and to post my blog updates… so many people head to my blog from Facebook – people who want to keep up with my life. oh, i’m torn. i don’t spend any time on there, so i guess it’s not taking up much of my time. but, it feels like it’s taking up brain capacity.

    i’ve got lots to think about. hehe. good for you for moving on and letting go!

    • Well, technically, you can only delete Facebook entirely if you write them en e-mail stating the explicit reasons. As of now, the setting on their page allows you to “deactivate” you account, which means you can activate it again whenever you feel like it. That is what most people (including me) do. They mysteriously disappear and months later they show up in your (facebook) life again… unannounced.

      I think it’s a nice option to have but right now I am nowhere close to taking it. I am pretty happy not having to deal with all the stupid/ time-consuming stuff people post and a break really does wonders. I can only encourage you to stay away from it for a few weeks (as a test phase so to speak) and then decide whether or not it did damage to your life.

      I like your comment that it is taking brain capacity! That is true in some ways. My friends rarely clicked on my blog whenever I posted a new update, so I have zero marketing reason to keep it open… 😉

      Yes, friendships break up either way, facebook is not going to mend that, as I myself have seen also.

  3. Lol, I second that. Do not forget about those thousand meme shares,blah blah material going viral round and square. They are disgusting! Keeping friends in touch can be done in other ways like you said. I de-activated my account plenty of times and I do it quite often. 😉 And, the only reason I use facebook is for the sake of my photography page and some learning part. That is it. Else, it’s a waste of time for sure.
    Your posts do make a hell lot of sense. Keep em coming!

  4. I just coupled my reading of this blog post with an eight hour old falafel sandwich my boss bought me earlier today, and I must say that I enjoyed them equally.

    I’ve always wanted (obviously not enough) to delete that godforsaken creation that I avoided joining during my final years of university, and having eventually succumbed to peer pressure I really wish I did what I did with smoking and never got involved. It really is an awful invention and has seriously damaged societies ability to… well… socialize. All power to ya! I need to grow a pair and do the same, although my problem at the moment is being away, and thus having so many people elsewhere. Perhaps I should leave my email address for people who care and leave!

    • well, just do it! Right now! 🙂
      Glad you liked it. I hope you will have a nice time in Persia… I too want to once explore more of the Middle-East but my priorities are set differently as of now. I’m more drawn to Asia, so I believe I might end up there next…

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