Recently I deactivated my Facebook Account for about a month and here are the reasons why:
1. BABY PHOTOS
Every time I saw a baby photo or cute kids photo/video it hurt my heart. I found myself involuntarily comparing my life to the person's life - especially the mother - and for a moment I just felt bad about the path my life has taken. I don't feel like this when I see a friend's baby in real life as I can build a relationship with the child which is good and full of love. I feel privileged to have had all my life's experiences and grateful that I have a Faith that sustains me daily, I wrote more about coping with this part of my life in my blog post 'A Child-Full Couple' during my month long break from FB.
2. OVER-SCROLL vs CREATIVITY
I spend waaay too much time scrolling and could be doing something (writing, singing or composing in my case) creative instead. I don't need FB as a distraction on my phone or my computer (which is also my place of work). (Since my break, I am much more detached from scrolling, I have curbed my natural slide into procrastination, feel less distracted and I am being waaaay more creative.
3. JUNK MAIL
If I'm honest, I'm just not interested in people's weight loss, football score opinions, posters telling me I'm eating a burger wrong, videos about animal cruelty, petitions to end this or that war (like they really have an influence??!! It's just another way of gaining email addresses), games to tell me what spirit animal I am or what religion I should be and so on... It's like I am letting a pile of junk mail flow through my brain every time - just to see if there is any nugget of interest hidden in there. Apart from the cat videos of course :)
4. I AM HAPPY BEING ME WITHOUT YOUR APPROVAL
FB can feel like a big bowl of white pasta that has very little nutritional value and can put you into a stupor as you let trivial information flow uncontrolled into your mind. I don't want people to know where I am all the time, what my feelings are or what my opinion is on a Pop Star's love life, what holiday I had or the size of my house. These things do not reflect my reality. I am a spiritual being having a physical experience and my time here is precious, not to be killed off in trivia.
5. THE OVER-POSTERS
People constantly over-post where you get ten posts all about more or less the same thing. We don't hijack conversations in real life so that we can obsess about one subject do we?! And we don't dump a random series of information into people's laps hoping they'll 'like' us - so why do we think this is effective on social media as a way of connecting people?
6. LACK OF TRUE INTERACTION
I have a large number of friends on FB yet keep seeing the same 20 people's posts over and over again. Yes I love these friends but I feel the process of connecting to many people isn't actually what happens. We are promised diversity and interaction yet in reality we are stuck in the same room as the same people every day. Yet the people in my room are different to the people in your room and different again to all the people present - so it's like there are 20 people all on the phone to 20 different people having brief conversations when they could just put down their phones, hop on a bus (or get on Skype) and talk to each other face to face for an hour. Cuppa tea?
I don't like the pull of something when I know it's not good for me - a pattern of behaviour that demands certain responses. I want to have a day much freer to be able to do, say, comment, respond, interact on a deeper level. This is also why I don't drink alcohol, smoke or do drugs. I also can't play video games for long - they suck me in and suck my time away.
8. QUICK JUDGEMENTS
FB has the power to train our brains to make quick comments and thoughts (and judgements - like knee jerk reactions) and I feel this form of social media can trivialise the important stuff. Over a long period of time where connections are always brief and immediate, it could damage human relations to an irreparable extent. Surely we should be promoting self-reflection, deeper interactions as conversations are raised higher than the mundane - reflecting how humanity is a noble creation of God?
9. PSEUDO-SPIRITUAL MEMES
10. CHARITABLE STATUS GAMES
Here's an excellent article which explains why much better than I could: Breast Cancer is not a Facebook Status game.
And the reasons I came back to Facebook are:
1. MY CONTACTS
I now have a large group of friends who mainly communicate via Facebook Messenger, there are also many for whom the only contact details I have for them are on Facebook and if I want to stay in contact with them, then I'll have to stay here.
If I'm really serious about leaving FB forever, then I need to invest the time to transfer all their contact details into my 'phonebook' or email contact list. Also, I do love chatting with friends who live across the pond. Makes the world seem smaller.
Facebook is an amazing way to share information. I was overwhelmed when I saw how many times one of my blog posts had been read, shared and responded to. Many women wrote to me, to tell me their stories and to let me know that the article has helped them. Without Facebook, this wouldn't have been possible.
3. IN THE LOOP
I found out WEEKS later that two lovely young friends of mine are getting married this summer. Yes, maybe I need to be more patient, but this was hard! I didn't like being out of the loop!
4. GOOD NEWS TV
The News on TV mainly reports negativity and in the UK predominantly focuses on the economy (almost every story is driven by the economic benefit or deficit of an event). My friends on FB do a great job of sharing good news, exciting projects, new music and film as well as news of a more personal nature. Yes, I do filter out those who complain, moan and share horrible things - apologies if you are one of them!
5. HUMANS OF NEW YORK
So, now that I am back on the book of faces after my break - I don't scroll as much, click on every survey or quiz and I'm more proactive in chatting with people to make sure our friendships are not trivialised by short bursts. I recommend taking a few weeks out, as it helped me prioritise my creativity, gave me time to reflect on how to use my time effectively, rather than merely moving through habit. Habits can be dangerous when they are unconsciously formed by following the trend. I can see myself coming off completely some time in the future. Or at least having more breaks. Perhaps we all need to communicate more and scroll less. And the baby photos are ok, I guess....but cat videos, oh we need more of those!
Originally posted in wehavems.co.uk