I have been Facebook clean for a little over six months. (Remember when I quit? It was great. You can read about it here: In which I have an awesome coffee date and quit Facebook.)
I love it.
These are some of the things I have learned:
- It is so much easier to get a hold of people, and organize social events, via Facebook. Almost no one regularly checks their non-FB email anymore.
- I breathe easier without a Facebook account. I don’t have comparison anxiety, I don’t roll my eyes at bullshit drama, I don’t hate-stalk people who make me feel shitty about myself (because of what I think and allow, not because they are actively trying to make me unhappy).
- I think Facebook is a brilliant, and fun, marketing tool and would very much like to be involved in that world, but on a personal level, I really don’t like it.
- I miss seeing pictures of everyone, tiny people in particular.
- Sometimes I feel like I’ve alienated myself from people. That, because I have made this decision for me (and my family), they feel I am judging their Facebook usage. (I am absolutely not. It was toxic to me and I needed to quit. If you’re happy using social media, more power to you! If you can separate yourself from The Bullshit, I am thrilled for you. I tried and could not, so I let it go.)
- I enjoy (the shit) out of meeting up with people in person (or having regular telephone dates with long-distance folks) to chat about their lives.
- I control my relationships, and I have learned a lot about these relationships (good and really, terribly awful).
- I feel much better about my interactions when I don’t feel obligated to respond to something as soon as I’ve read it. (The notification that you’ve read a note in Facebook makes me crazy. I feel stress and anxiety when I feel I have to respond before I’m ready, just to save face.)
- My world is not instant. I need time to think and plan.
- I am private. Very, very private.
- I neither need nor want public accolades. I feel very uncomfortable when a spotlight is shone on me and my life.
- I don’t have to be friends with people I don’t actually like based on bizarre social protocol.
- My family is not for your consumption.
Here’s the thing, I deactivated my account, I didn’t have it deleted. Like my WoW ‘toons, it’s still floating in the ether somewhere, waiting for me to come back. And, like WoW, I might come back. I might decide that I am tired of missing out on pictures of babies, new houses, pub nights, pregnancy bumps and weddings. I might give in to my frustration at having lost contact with a few folks I really do miss. I might want to interact with my favourite local businesses, especially those who do not use, or regularly use, Twitter.
I might go back to Facebook. But if I do, I’m doing it on my terms. I know who I want in my life and I know who is virulent*. I know (better) who I am and what I want, and I’m not willing to compromise that.
Quitting Facebook has helped me get to know myself better. I have been face-to-face with some serious animosity because of it. (Seriously. I still can’t quite figure that. It absolutely does not matter to your life that I don’t have a Facebook account. It just really doesn’t.) Like a few other things I’ve done in my life, this further proves that it was a necessary step. I tend to grow a lot more, and a lot faster, when I’m up against an ugly situation. Fast-tracked. It’s not easy, but it looks pretty good in retrospect.
How are you folks with Facebook, and other social networking websites? Do you find you strike an even balance? How do you do it? Have you ever quit, or taken a break?
*BTW, how is this not one of the best words? Ever. I’m in love.