Facebook, It's Not You - It's Everyone Else
Facebook is a great way to keep in touch and it’s really accessible, so people don’t hesitate to share where they are, who they’re with and what they’re doing. That made it really easy to interact with friends after I moved to Connecticut, I couldn’t meet up on a whim anymore, so I found some comfort in my newsfeed.
I saw value in using Facebook because it allowed me to maintain friendships with people I use to see on a daily basis. The problem was, I used Facebook, a lot - like every time I was waiting in a line, walking to work, or trying to fall asleep. It became my default state. When I had nothing to do, I was just a person who checked their Facebook. I realized that I stopped doing things I loved in favor of interacting with people I never really connected with in real life. It’s easy to misunderstand likes and comments for more than they really are, but knowing what goes on in someone’s life doesn’t equate to friendship, it just feels like it.
I posted updates here and there and I loved the high I would get from the interactions. I always thought Facebook was like having a cool email account that automatically updated my friends and family for me but it’s not. Emails are direct, personal and intentional while Facebook posts are just a broadcast to anyone who will listen.
As time went on, I became a bit of a news junkie and would try to encourage other people to educate themselves too. So naturally, I thought being able to subscribe to The New York Times, NPR and the BBC was one of the best features of Facebook. It was pretty darn convenient to have articles pop up in my feed all day, I always knew what was going on …until Trump entered the primaries. Even though I carefully selected reputable news sources, headlines suddenly seemed misleading and my news feed began to look more like gossip. I started to feel clueless even though I was consuming more news than ever.
Arguments were breaking out on every post, including those from my friends and I noticed people being disrespectful to each other. I tried unfollowing people who irritated me but no matter how well I curated my feed, there was still too much negativity. I thought I could rid my picture-perfect feed of the over-sharing, the ranting, and the complaining without hurting anyone’s feelings, but it wasn’t enough. I started to notice that I was unhappy after checking my Facebook and the feeling lingered. Once that happened for too many days in a row, that’s when I knew I needed to make a change.
This may sound random, but there’s a Red Bull ad that I saw every day for a semester at college. The ad said, “Nobody ever wishes they’d slept more during college”, it seemed pretty smart and it made me think that I should apply this concept more. So every once in a while, I substitute the sleep part with something else and ask it to myself as a question. “Will I ever wish I spent more time on Facebook?” The answer was no, and it didn’t take long for me to delete my account after that, there weren’t enough reasons to keep at it.
It’s been 7 months since I had a Facebook and I’m happier without it. I still keep in touch with my friends from New York. People who love you will find a way to stay in touch even when you aren’t in their newsfeed.