In any event, I deactivated my Facebook account a little over a month ago. I’m not sure of the exact date. But it was early May 2018. Irony: Few people will read this post because it will not be cross-posted to Facebook. Hmmm.
Maybe, I’ll reactivate my Facebook account, post the blog entry, then deactivate it after a couple of days.
The whole point of this post is that I am not on Facebook anymore and to discourse on what that’s been like, and why I did it. Going back on to talk about how great it’s been not being on Facebook seems counterintuitive at best, hypocritical at worst.
And it HAS been great.
I’m less stressed out. Truly, Facebook wasn’t all bad, but I felt pressure. I felt pressure to check it, to "keep up." I felt pressure to click "like", lest I offend someone by causing them to think (maybe), "Why didn’t The Working Mom like this post?" I felt pressure when I read and saw some of your posts and they made me feel not great about myself . . . or not great about you. I felt pressure to hold the "right" opinions. If I was too conservative for some or too liberal for others, I came under fire, which was not fun. (Although in truth, y’all, the liberals were far more likely to attack than the conservatives, at least in my feed. I’m a flaming liberal -- for Texas -- but maybe we do need to think about our approach to topics we disagree on, lest we alienate our allies. But I digress, Mr. DeNiro. Maybe Facebook is not the right arena for these kinds of discussions -- political, social, religious.)
Increasingly, I found I did not like being on display. Increasingly, I felt like I had to moderate myself in ways that seemed unnatural. (Unnatural for Facebook, yeah, which is inherently unnatural.) Increasingly, I wished for fewer likes and opinions. Increasingly, I didn’t want everyone to know what I was doing or what I just did or what I was wearing or the conversation I just had or the show I just watched. Increasingly, I wished for a smaller friend list, a much smaller one. Increasingly, I saw how shallow the interactions were, how one resurrection of a years-old photo of my then-sick/now-dead cat produced present-day wishes for his speedy recovery. (An experience that was, at once, painful, annoying, and infuriating.) Increasingly, I wished for freedom from the immediacy of the information cycle. I wished NOT to learn about "it" on Facebook. (This goes for Twitter too, but I don’t follow many news sources -- or people even -- on Twitter, so it’s not as bad there. Basically, my Twitter feed is 90% Star Wars.) Increasingly, I wanted to pull back.
And then there’s the privacy issue. Facebook has surreptitiously taken and disclosed so much of our information to political think tanks, foreign powers, and marketers. It bothers you too, right?, when you see items advertised in your Facebook feed that you have just googled or searched for on Amazon.com. It’s unsettling. And how do they know? How, indeed? And if they can manipulate our shopping that way, what about the rest of our behaviors? I didn’t want to continue to feed the beast. They had what I’d given them. I didn’t have to continue to give them more.
I’ve stayed on some social media. I’m on Twitter (@Mom2IPK). I’m on Instagram (@merdypurdy). So my info is still out there in ways. Facebook owns Instagram, so I’m not completely out of its clutches. But Instagram doesn’t have a hold on me like Facebook did. Neither does Twitter. They just don’t invade your mind (or my mind, anyway) the way that Facebook did.
I’ve thought about whether I might come back to Facebook one day. How would that look? Would I sneak back on and make my profile private while I curated my privacy settings and deleted "friends"? Maybe. That seems like a lot of work. And would it really be worth it? I don’t know. It should not take that much time and mental energy to participate in something like Facebook. It seems like it should be easier than it is. It should not take this much thought and constant curating to ensure one’s sanity and privacy. So maybe I don’t want to be there after all. Maybe I don’t really want to come back.
I do miss out on things: community event notifications, Facebook groups I might find useful, seeing pictures of my friends’ kids and family.
I don’t miss the pressure, though, nor the aggravation and the vulnerable feeling of being too exposed.
So I’m staying off Facebook, at least for now. The good thing about deactivating is that you can always reactivate when you want to, when you’re ready. Right now, I don’t. I’m not. I’m happy here on my little-read blog and my tightly held Twitter and Instagram accounts. The broad boulevard of Facebook is still too much for me right now.