About eight weeks ago I had one of the roughest breakups I thought I would ever have to go through. Tears were shed, memories felt lost, and I felt so lonely. The worst part?
You definitely thought I was going somewhere else with this; sorry to get your hopes up but this isn't a sappy brokenhearted post.
Facebook and I are no longer official. I realized when graduating school that I spent a copious amount of time on Facebook creeping out people's lives. Probably 80 percent of those people, I don't actually care what they are doing in their day to day lives (sorry).
Even though forcing myself to click deactivate was hard, it felt liberating.
My Dad was actually the one who pointed this out to me years ago. "Lizzie, if you're so interested in what they are doing why don't you just meet up with them and talk... you know ... face to face? How normal people socialize." With no witty response, I probably just gave him dead eyes. (Ah, the finicky teen years).
I was spending so much time procrastinating what I actually should have been doing, with Facebook. It's so easy to just seamlessly go from page to page looking into people who you haven't seen in forever.
Yeah it might be cool to know what is going on in some of my past friends lives, but if I was that concerned about it, why don't I just call and have lunch with them? Ah, you think you're answering this one for me: you're not that close with them. That's fine, sometimes people grow apart... but then why are you we so interested in what people that we don't really know are doing?
That was the first point that pushed me toward the edge of deactivation.
Then there was a point in school where we were second semester seniors and all of my peers wanted to tag everything... because you know they are memories (and funny drunk ones at that). So if we went to Dunkin' Donuts three times in a night, everyone got tagged.
Tagging gives off a very strange sense of satisfaction, because at the moment it happens you feel popular. That inner-goddess that is worried about people liking you shines for a moment because only a select few people "made the cut."
But after the false satisfaction wears off... you're like "CRAP, people know I was at Dunkin' Donuts three times tonight?" I mean, let's get real, if you're making that a real habit people are going to be able to tell you were at Dunkin' Donuts that many times and not from Facebook... if you know what I mean.
But it's just the idea that you're posting things and people constantly know what you're doing and where you're going. It made me really uneasy that I knew I was being tagged in posts and that I don't really care to have everyone knowing about. It eventually got to a point that every time I was tagged in a photo or a post, my iPhone would ping, and I would wince wondering, "What now?"
That is not healthy.
So I started to consider the options. Well, I could just deactivate my wall or I could just really up the privacy settings. Then it dawned on me that Facebook really shouldn't be this much work... at all. I was feeling all of this anxiety for what? Basically, just another way to stay in constant communication with the outside world at all times.
So that was when I made the big jump off the cliff and broke off my official relationship with Facebook (broken heart icon).
I have to admit last week I almost cracked, and wanted to type in my email password and hole myself up in my room and cruise the pages of Facebook that I haven't seen in weeks, laugh at the people who look ridiculous, and be jealous of everyone drinking tequila sunrises on the beach (while I'm at work). Then by the graces of technology gods, Mashable posted an article about how social media fuels low self-esteem and anxiety.
Essentially in the article they state that social media users feel like their accomplishments, travels and posts don't live up to that of their friends and followers. They also stated that not only do they have self-confidence issues, but they can't sleep or fully relax if they spend time on social media sites right before trying to sleep. Here is the most whopping finding: "... and more than half say they feel 'worried or uncomfortable' at times they are unable to access their Facebook or email accounts."
After reading this article, I remembered the liberated feeling that I had when I had clicked deactivate for the first time eight weeks ago. I have enough contact with the outside world through my phone, Twitter, and Instagram that my craving for social media platforms is satisfied.
I never thought I'd be able to survive as long as I have without checking in and creeping out, but I've survived and I have to say it feels relaxing.
If you've been thinking about jumping off the Facebook bandwagon I'd suggest to go for it. I've made more of an effort to keep in contact with people who I am interested in talking to and meeting up with.
The satisfaction that your inner-popularity goddess (or god) feels when you walk away from lunch, is far better than the small satisfaction you feel after being tagged in a photo on Facebook.
Click "deactivate" and it'll feel good, I swear... and if it doesn't you have two weeks reactivate, and that's not too much creeping to catch up on.