Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Life without Facebook: an update.

Three months ago, I deleted my Facebook. Not just deactivated, or took a break--completely erased it. I wrote briefly about what it was like in the days leading up to the deletion, and now, a few months on, I thought I'd write an update on life without "The Book."

Things I Miss:
  • The funnies: Facebook is a great place to share memes and funny videos. That being said, I don't miss them that much. Not enough to deal with the garbage I was so happy to leave behind. Besides, people have ways of sharing things with me. I'm not completely off the grid (far from it).
  • Certain people: Everyone had plenty of notice that I was leaving, and some even reached out to get my phone number so we could stay in touch (NOVEL CONCEPT). Other people I thought I was closer to, but it's been 3 months and I haven't heard from them once. That kind of bums me out on an emotional level, even though intellectually I knew that I wasn't as close to them as Facebook made me think I was. I wonder if other people have had this reaction? Social media, in general, tricks us into a false sense of intimacy when really, we're just sharing inconsequential things like memes, likes, and highly filtered photos of the life we want to present. 

Things I Don't Miss:
  • Being angry. Maybe I have a higher temper than I should, but I used to get so upset over stupid stuff on Facebook. An old acquaintance would say this, a family member would make an ignorant comment on something, a former co-worker would share this offensive image...and it would literally make my blood pressure rise. I strategically began unfollowing and blocking certain people and content (I even downloaded Facebook Purity in an attempt to filter out the filth I didn't like). What it came down to was me following Star Wars meme pages, Doug the Pug, and a handful of other internet famous animals. And my brother, who posts things like, twice a year. I love knowing I don't have to weed through the muck anymore. I text or call the people I miss, look at memes elsewhere, and honestly...Doug the Pug is everywhere. Life is better this way. 
  • FOMO: At first, there was a little FOMO. This lasted maybe 10-14 days. After that, it was gone. Now I have JOMO. When it comes to social media, ignorance is definitely bliss.
  • Getting news from unreliable sources. As someone who's in the business of information, seeing how much skewed, biased, false, photoshopped information is being bandied about always got me seething. I know it's still happening, but I also know there are measure being taken to prevent it or, at the very least, make consumers aware of it. The people in my own profession are passionately, creatively trying to combat "fake news" in all its forms. All the news I need to know I get from a daily news email. If I want to know more, I take it upon myself to research the facts. 
  • Being spied on and sold out. Enough said, I really don't need to elaborate on this.

Sometimes, when we're having our morning coffee together, my mom will read her Facebook feed out loud to me. I'm not even sure she's aware she's doing it. And I sit there and see stupid photoshopped political images, hear what ignorant garbage people post, see the highly edited pictures people choose to share, and all I can think is, "I'm so glad I'm out of that world." 

So do I miss it? No. Sometimes I miss aspects of it, or the people I used to feel connected to. But overall, my life is far more positive and intentional without it. 

Further reading:
  • Folk Rebellion
  • The Minimalists (I don't consider myself a minimalist, but Josh and Ryan have awakened me to being more deliberate and intentional in what I consume--including online)
  • Guide to real news from Fordham University (aka: a reliable source)
  • A good breakdown of all the scandal Facebook has faced this year
  • Mindful Technology 

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