J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

I Quit Facebook and I Don’t Miss It

Facebook-meh_article_image
Approximately two weeks ago I deleted my Facebook account. It wasn’t something I thought about a great deal. I suddenly realized “I’m done with Facebook,” and a day later I deleted my account.

I’ve been concerned about Facebook’s data-mining and privacy policies since I learned about early links to the CIA and DARPA. But this isn’t why I deleted my account. I don’t know if I even fully understand why I wanted to stop using Facebook, but here are some of the reasons I’ve considered:

  • despite having 300+ “friends,” my feed was usually full of comments and posts from people I didn’t even know
  • I got tired of reading other people’s political opinions or hearing about their outrage
  • annoying animated gifs and autoplay videos
  • I rarely felt compelled to share or post anything … mostly because I no longer had a clear sense of who was reading/seeing it

Facebook was starting to feel like a low-quality tabloid newspaper instead of a way to connect with family and friends.

One reason I stayed on Facebook for so long was that I felt it helped me keep up with acquaintances. I recently had an experience that made me rethink this supposition. I ran into someone from the dance music scene that I hadn’t seen in years. I’d seen that person’s posts on Facebook so I had a vague idea that I knew what was going on with him. But after a brief conversation on BART (our local transit system) I realized that I’d had no idea what was really going on in his life. I had been reading his posts without context, and didn’t understand that his life had been turned upside-down by a series of events, and that he was having to rebuild his life essentially from scratch. I learned more in a five minute conversation than I would have from reading a thousand of his Facebook posts.

Events and Invitations

A few friends would use Facebook to invite me to events. It was often difficult to find these real invites among the dozens of spam-invites to paid events that would also show up in my Facebook events list. I suppose some friends will have to switch to email (or snail mail) to invite me to things, but I actually check those formats on a regular basis. It’s nice to have one fewer inbox.

Focus, Active Curation

Since quitting both Facebook and Reddit, it’s much harder to waste time on my computer. I check my email, the New York Times headlines, and that’s about it. Sometimes I’ll look at my Twitter feed and click on a few interesting links. But I no longer fall into a black hole of distraction where I lose an hour or more of my day. I feel more focused.

In the evening, if I’m actively looking for entertainment, I now have to be more active in my search (instead of passively browsing an algorithm-generated feed, or pages of “top voted” content). This is a good thing. I’m reading more fiction (in book format, not on my computer), and finding very narrow content related to my hobbies (like the TerranScapes youtube channel). This is a return to how I sought entertainment during the first thirty-five years of my life, and it’s a more gratifying system. I’m engaging with material that actively interests me in very specific ways, instead of finding the occasional gem amidst a sea of broad content.

Out of the Loop?

I did have some mild anxiety about becoming more socially isolated or being “out of the loop” if I quit Facebook. I quickly identified this as a false fear. My real friends weren’t going to forget about me, and though I might learn things about people’s lives (who got married, who had a kid, etc.) later than most, I might enjoy the information more receiving it in person.

Quitting Facebook did inspire me to be more active in regards to social planning. Life is finite and you don’t have time to do everything with everyone. I’ll save the details for a later post, but I’ve made a few changes to my system for tracking what I/we want to do with our friends and family, and taking the necessary steps to schedule and plan those social engagements.

I actually feel more socially connected since I quit Facebook. I’m no longer looking at events I wasn’t invited to, parties I didn’t attend, and trips I didn’t take. Instead I’m looking at my own calendar to see what I have planned for the week, and with whom. If the calendar is looking empty then I take steps to fill it up.

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17 Comments

  1. K.B.

    Hi D.J. Moyer…I do not have a facebook account..do u believe this……and for the same reasons u mentioned( or little bit different)…..most of my friends do not believe it and cannot understand me( they actually do like this bit about me)…..but I like it!!!

  2. bobprichard

    Thank you for this email. I find all my social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube) a complete waste of time. I keep in touch with real friends by phone, email and in person. Since you have an interest in health, I thought you might be interested in measuring your breathing ranges (see attached). Bob Prichard Somax Performance Institute 44 Gold Medals and 11 World Records Author of The Efficient Golfer and Are You Flexible Enough for Golf? Hip Strength Test Power Hip Trainer Flexibility Beyond Stretching YouTube Videos– 4 Million Views

  3. Totally agree where you are coming from. I pulled the plug a few years ago after being one of the first to get onto FB in my area. Recently I have rejoined – but this time with a purpose and that is to join up with a cycling group I belong to and for fund raising. Being very well known locally I have quickly amassed over 600 “friends” (admittedly some of them genuine). One trick I find very useful is not to click on the daily feed – because that is exactly everything you say and more but in a nutshell an utter waste of time. So I make FB work for me rather than the other way around. Mind you if the CIA are looking in they can quite happily click on my link and sponsor my fundraising effort! LOL – as they say!

    • That’s the other option — take the time to configure your settings so you are getting what you need out of the service, or use it in very specific ways.

  4. Marty McCubbins

    That’s great I want to get off facebook Can you tell me how?

    • Click on the “Meh” image above. There are instructions there to either deactivate your account, or permanently delete it (you have to contact Facebook for the latter and confirm your identity).

  5. Kuze

    I’m ready to do it again! Life is good without DickBook 😉

    Kuze

  6. janet

    “Please be excellent to each other.” Love this!!!
    A social media cleanse is something I have entertained. Did you cancel personal FB page? Do you have a FB page to promote your blogging? I have a personal page and a page for my pet sitting business. I want to keep that. What are your feelings about business promotion FB pages? Thank you for always having posts that feel like “gems” in my in-box.

    • Yes — cancelled my personal page but my music/record label pages still exist … those didn’t go away because there are other administrators. Overall I’ve been unhappy with FB business pages because you have to pay to reach your own fans/customers.

  7. sharon

    I cancelled my fb about a year ago. There were two reasons – one I found that real friends and family were using it as a way to share things they should be sharing through a call (ie. I am in the hospital) And so now if they want me to know something important they must at minimum send a personal email. Also I found that fb is a way to brag – I did it myself when I posted beautiful vacation pics – and I realized I was wasting my time feeling envious over things that only gave me a piece of the real story. Sometimes I do miss the mindless chats .. but for now I remain off and continue to look for other mindless opportunities 🙂

  8. Love your paragraph especially.

  9. I am with you in a different way. I turned off notifications and choose when i go on. I also put less likes and make sure i comment. this helps with whose feed you see. I can control how long i go on for and as you say. I am with meet up or calls first, although of course fb, email all has its use in order of communication.

  10. Facebook is not as fun as it once was. I feel as if I’m hacking through a political and religious jungle every time I get on to check in with about 3 friends. Crazy, right? Usually those are the friends that will use Messenger to contact me anyway. 🙂

    • That’s what I used to love about Facebook: The ability to connect with people from all over the world to debate issues that were of vital importance to me. Not into that as much any more ad I feel I have the answers I was looking for and now it’s just repetition.

      I know I upset some of my friends with my sometimes over-heated discussions but others seemed to enjoy following along without getting involved.

      But my views changed on a number of issues and this upset some old friends. I’ve recently changed my views again (as new information was presented I found it convincing enough to adapt to it rather than solidify on a particular issue just because I’m comfortable there) on a couple of issues and just decided to delete 95% of my friends. I really needed to be able to flesh out my thoughts and question things without the people who are closest to me constantly asking why I was doing this. Why was I challenging the status quo.

  11. Anonymous

    Mostly sounds to me like you don’t know how to use Facebook properly in the first place

    • Feel free to share your thoughts on proper Facebook use. Maybe some people who are still interested in using Facebook might benefit.

  12. Good for you, JD.

    I stopped using Facebook TWICE. I just got off for a second time, for similar reasons to what you have. Despite being a “social” site, I feel more isolated than ever. I really feel like no one reads my posts anyways, and like someone else here mentioned, sometimes I share things and even the people I thought I was closest to go off the rails and get upset at me. I posted something harmless that involved my belief and got completely attacked (in my linguistic club no less) and it was just a mess. Everyone was like “Welcome back!” but no one really responded or had anything to do with me on there. I began to think back to when I got off the first time and how good I felt. I felt more productive and focused. So, I am off for good and I feel pretty good about it.

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