Saturday, November 9, 2013

Goodbye Facebook

I made a big decision.  Well, big for me.  Can you guess, can you guess?

Yeah, I deactivated my facebook account.  I guess that doesn't seem like that big of a decision.  It's not like I decided to move out of the country, start a peacock farm, or adopt a Chinese baby.  But it's big for me.  I've been on facebook since 2008; my account was very well-established with five years worth of pictures and memories.  So why would I deactivate it?  Here was the reason I gave facebook when it prompted me to "please explain":

I guess I'm sort of taking an ethical stance.  I hate how social networking has replaced flesh-and-blood interactions.  Moms who used to go on play dates and take their kids to the park now sit on facebook all day posting pics and playing Candy Crush.  Facebook breeds nothing but laziness and pseudo-friendships.
That's my reason in a snapshot, but that's not the entire reason.  I think part of it is feeling perpetually annoyed by all the fakeness on facebook--those who feel compelled to talk up every mundane aspect of their lives--but the other reason is lately I have just wanted to keep a lower profile.  Last year, I had to take one of those personality/learning inventories at a training I attended, and my results came out 100% "intrapersonal" (some other inventories call it "introvert").  I was shocked by this.  The last time I had taken one of these tests was in high school, and at that time I remember I was very much on the "extrovert"-side.  But more than that, I have always considered myself as a social butterfly who thrives on being around people.  I also like to lead, and have almost no reservations speaking to a large audience.  Yet no matter what version of this test I take, I keep getting the same result: introvert.  So I think sometime in the past few years, my personality has changed.  I  still get energized when I'm in social settings, and I love talking to people, but I have a huge introspective component to my personality that wants to do nothing more but sit in a quiet corner of a coffee shop and work on my novel, or curl up in front of my fireplace and read a good sci-fi.  Somewhere in the last few years, regular "alone time" not only became desirable for me, but necessary to my sanity.  On the other end of this, one social gathering can keep me satisfied for months.

That being said, facebook is an extrovert's faux-paradise (faux because, let's face it, interacting on social networking is like skiing on Wii; fun to a degree, but pale in comparison to the "real" experience)  Unfortunately it's draining on introverts.  The average newsfeed is chattery and convoluted and overwhelming in mindless stimulation.  For the last year, this fact was begging the question: Why are you forcing yourself to be a part of something that's such a burden to you? My answers were always the same: 1. My family is on facebook, and it's become our way of sharing our lives with each other, and 2. I hope to be published someday, and I will need my facebook account to glean support and to possibly promote a future novel.

Both of these were valid points--and still are--which is why I chose to deactivate my account, as opposed to deleting it all together.  Deactivating my account gives me the option of returning to facebook in the future and fully restoring my account whenever I'm ready.

Until then, I'm going to enjoy this break.  I've been without facebook for a full 110 minutes, and so far, it feels wonderful. You'll have to excuse me now as I make myself a cup of hot tea and curl up with Cinder, my latest sci-fi read, and NOT check my latest notifications.


  1. Oh Jodi, we're sisters. I opened my facebook too in 2008 and deleted mine back in August (after deactivating it twice and coming back to it).
    I thought about the publishing aspect too, but I figured I'll cross that bridge when I get there. I might only open a facebook page for my book(s) and not for my own self. Don't know yet but we'd see.
    But it was so draining on my emotional health, so full of fakery (maybe my friends weren't faking to be happy but most of the time I was trying to impress, trying to act like I was so happy and at the place I wanted to be). So I decided I was a bad actress and needed to take a breather to work on my dreams so I can become that someone I want to be, and be at that place I want to be.
    So yes.
    And well, the second most important reason I left (and it's related to the first) was because my friends kept wanting to know what's going on with me, when I'll graduate, when I'll start making money and I didn't want to feel pressured. Or jealous of their own progress. So yes, I disappeared.
    And to be honest, I haven't missed it for even one day since day and there was a time I thought I couldn't live without it.
    And good news, this blog post was brought to me courtesy of my inbox so yes! the subscription is finally working. :D
    Hope you get some writing done this week, Jodi. I mean, one of us has to do that on behalf of the non-writing other (me). ;)

    1. Oops! Just realized my comment is almost as long as your blog post.

    2. Ify, I'm not even a BIT surprised to learn that you deleted your account! I think it's awesome how you owned up to the fact that you were trying to be someone/something that you weren't. It reminds me of that quote by Benjamin Franklin, "What you seem to be, be really." You basically decided that until you became the person you were pretending to be, you needed to eliminate facebook from your life. Which is very mature, actually. I haven't missed facebook yet either, but I've gone only one day without now, so cross your fingers for me that I stay strong!

      Yeah for subscription feeds that actually work!

      Not sure if I'll get any writing done this weekend. Hubby's home for two days, and this will be his last weekend home with us until Christmas break.

      I tried to make my responding comment long-ish too so you didn't feel left out (haha).

  2. Jo, I think it was such a good decision for you! I love so much how you explained this.
    I've been contemplating deactivating mine for the last year, but haven't quite been able to take the actual step yet...

    1. I think it's a little different for you Shan because you're fostering some newer work relationships on facebook. For me, I've been at RMS for eight years...I don't need to foster stuff anymore. :) But I need you to stay on anyway so you can fill me in on anything I've missed (is that cheating? LOL).

  3. You ladies are braver than me. I don't think I could delete/deactivate mine, especially with my family in California (it really does make it possible for me to keep up with what they're doing and what's going on since I can't just drop by for a visit). But, it does eat up a huge portion of my time that I don't think I can part with. It's become a little bit obsessive, I think (eek!). I don't much play games anymore, I pretty much gave that one up when my cellphone bill was $50 more than usual thanks to the ease of buying credits (ridiculous!). I just use it to keep up with the outside world, especially since I don't much go anywhere as I'm not working right now (yay, agoraphobia!).

    Unlike you, though, I've always been an introvert. Watch this crazy memory: one day when we were in HS the bell rang at the end of lunch and you got up to go to class, you walked past me, stopped and said, "Kristyn! I didn't see you. Have you been there the whole time?!" lol. I've never been a particularly social person, is my point. That said, I think it's possible that Facebook is having the same sort of negative effect on me that it is on you. It's not changing my personality, but it certainly has a way of amplifying it. Not to mention, I really think technology (social media, online shopping, etc.) makes agoraphobia and social anxiety worse. It allows me to sort of live without ever leaving the house. Definitely not a good thing, but again something I can't see myself giving up.

    The one saving grace is that a lot of times I learn news type things from Facebook. I guess I should try to seek that stuff out independently, but Facebook can be a good source of information, if you can weed out all of the opinions (most of them wrong) and find the stuff that's factual. Anyway, my two cents. As long as you keep blogging, I'm fine with it. ;)

  4. I definitely can see how social networking might feed into agoraphobia. I think because back in the day certain situations would encourage or compel agoraphobes to leave their homes, like wanting to visit a family member. Or sheer boredom (there's only so many repeats of Jerry Springer a person can put up with). But with social media, you can interact with friends and family members anytime you want, not to mention stave off boredom with unlimited stories, articles, games, pictures, apps, jokes, and so on. This can be pretty enabling for a person who already doesn't care for leaving her home. On the other hand, I think social networking can be a sort of blessing for agoraphobes. That is, those with serious cases of this disorder in the past would have zero connection with the society beyond their walls, but now, social media offers a way for agoraphobes to be a part of the outside world. It would make for an interesting research paper--how social networking impacts agoraphobia and subsequent levels of happiness (or lack thereof).

    Okay, I'm rambling. What I was GOING to say is I don't blame you at all for not wanting to delete your facebook. If my family lived out of state, I would most certainly keep mine. There are certain things you can share through facebook that simply don't translate through a text (an entire photo album, for example). But for me, it's no longer worth all of that "weeding" when I can go see the garden in person (okay, I think I butchered your analogy, but you get the point).

    Thanks for weighing in Kristyn!

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