“Think back to the last time you spent the day doing better things than checking your notifications. Didn’t it feel like a great weight lifting from not only your thumb and index finger, but also your soul?
That feeling is no coincidence. Spending less time on Facebook might be just as important for your health aseating right. Social media’s got its place for staying in touch, but it’s become so much more — and so much less — thanks to ad saturation, oversharers, and idiots in their natural habitat.
Over the years, many studies have shown that Facebook is running you down mentally, and this past year saw a boom in “Facebook is bad for you” research. Now if only you could just… deactivate… that account…”
I am approximately two months free of Facebook. You could call it a
social experiment, or a life change. Either way, if you have ever
entertained the idea of breaking away from Facebook’s seductive
clutches, you may be interested in my musings on the big F.
To me, Facebook is like a toxic friend. It builds you up and tears
you down. It gives its approval and then withdraws it, leaving you
uneasy and desperately seeing to regain its affections. One day, there
are lots of likes and comments on your pictures, and the next barely an
acknowledgement, leaving you feeling unloved and alone – your
self-esteem hanging in the balance.
Most of us enjoy the voyeuristic element of Facebook. We peer at
photos of our friends, family and acquaintances. Then there are the
ex-partners. It if was an amicable split, you don’t want to delete them.
This is all fine and dandy until the photos of the new girlfriend
appear; then it’s like an ice pick through your heart. Before Facebook,
you may have remained blissfully ignorant. Now, at the click of a
button, you know her name, age, job, what she “likes” etc. Doesn’t it
all seem creepy? Is this really necessary or healthy?
For me, deactivating my Facebook account felt liberating. I felt a
sense of freedom and that my life was my own again. If you worrying
about being seen in the same outfit twice on Facebook; if you are
spending lots of time thinking up intelligent, witty Facebook updates,
so that others will perceive you in a certain way; if you are concerned
with endlessly posing for photos to get the best, impossibly sexy shots
for Facebook; if you are comparing yourself to others in your news feed
and, as a consequence, feeling dissatisfied with your life, then perhaps
Facebook is not enhancing, but detracting, from your enjoyment of life.
At least, that’s how it felt for me.
My main argument in favour of staying on Facebook was that I needed
it to stay in touch with friends. What I’ve learned since is that my
true friends don’t want to lose me just because I’m not on Facebook
anymore. They viber me, they text me and they email me.
What about friends overseas? Well, once again, you can give them your
email address, and if they’re a close friend, Skype them. I think
Facebook does keep old friendships alive, but it also keeps them
artificially alive, long past when they would ordinarily have run their
natural course. If you’re lonely, wouldn’t you be better off getting
out there and making new friends that you can connect with face-to-face?
Is Facebook distracting you from pursuing real, human interaction? Is
it not just a poor substitute for the real thing?
Since I’ve gone off Facebook, I have more time to read books, to
research and learn online. I would waste so much time on Facebook,
mindlessly scrolling through my newsfeed. And what did I learn?
Pointless trivia and gossip that, for the most part, is obsolete within a
day. The danger is that while you get caught up devouring someone’s
holiday snaps and fretting that your ex’s new girlfriend is skinnier
than you, you’re distracted from the issues that really matter. You have
less time and space in your brain to think about global warming, wars
and inequality. You’re also distracted from living in the moment and
being fully present while you’re scrolling through your newsfeed.
If you want to join me, to separate from your ego and not be caught
up in crafting a perfect image of yourself, removing yourself from
Facebook is the way to go. Nobody is the character they portray on
Facebook. It’s in your hands. Stop being a narcissist and let Facebook
go! I thoroughly recommend it.