XLV – Quitting Facebook

“Creating a blog is the new Facebook” Catarina Moleiro

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This is not a rant on the evils of Facebook, but rather an outline of my experience with it, my perception of others’ and why I ultimately decided to let go.

It’s irrational how a single website can have such powerful implications on societal behaviours, to the point of snubbing those who don’t participate. I was one such, but I now admire even more those who never had a Facebook account. Kudos to my friend T. and my sister in law C.

Facebook can be a very positive tool for some people. It allows one to “stay in touch”, “keep up to date”, but above all, develop feelings of social connectedness and lower levels of loneliness. Personally though, its disadvantages have expressively outweighed the small value I was taking from it.

As far as my social networking knowledge goes, Facebook is the most popular instrument to create an alternate “online life”. A life that is carefully edited and curated, so it looks exactly as I wish my real, “offline life” to be – a projection. Living one life is already challenging enough, living two without putting a lot of pressure on oneself, is hardly possible… but we still try.

I strongly believe that the main foundation (or even sole) for creating and living an “online life” is ego. I know it to be true for me. And, from all the posts I ever saw, suspect it to be true for a lot more people.

With very few exceptions, all my posts were about feeding my ego. I don’t recall having ever posted a photo of my lunch or a video of the cute tricks my kids do, but I have created and felt the need to show you how awesome my life is and what a great photographer/surfer/philosopher/parent/entertainer I am and whatever else I think I’m awesome at.

Who doesn’t like to be liked? I do. And the more likes I got, the better I felt. At least for a while, until the ego needed feeding again, and so I searched for the next post… the perfect photo, the funny memo, the song I was listening to, the events I attended and all the inspiration I wanted to convey.

Well, no more!! I’m quitting Facebook and here’s why:

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  • It’s the front of a clutter shop – It’s appealing and available everywhere. The exposed items spark curiosity, desire, jealousy and create a need that wasn’t there before. But at the end of the day its contents are nothing more than useless clutter.

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  • It’s addictive – Coffee, cigarettes and alcohol lead the general perception when it comes to objects of addiction, but internet is quickly surpassing all of the above. Facebook has become such a player in this vice that a Facebook Addiction Scale has been created.

There is always a want for more and more. Our own insecurities and covetous jealousy still hold the online life of others as an object of curiosity and scrutiny. Since I fail to find a healthy addiction, Facebook turns out to be unhealthy as well.

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  • It encourages superficial relationships – Friendship requires a dedication of time and self, so it simply isn’t possible for me to be “friends” with 479 people. This necessity to create and maintain an extensive social resume is destroying quality human interaction.

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  • It’s a vanity fair encouraging the promotion of self – a display of superficial worldly ostentation and inconsequentiality, where the insatiable feeding of our ego is measured by the number of likes. It promotes the culture of Me, Myself and I.

It stimulates the continuous search of attention for oneself and the limitless need of recognition that feeds on more, more, more and more. “Look at me and how happy/pretty/funny/accomplished/well fed and awesome I am. Look at me, LOOK AT ME!”

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  • Brings out negativity – Being an outlet to vent personal tragedies and frustrations, world calamities, even the most positive person is bound to absorb some of the negativity. It is also widely used as a bullying and social exclusion tool. I don’t like to think where I would be today if “social networking” was around in my childhood and teen years. The bullying would surely have taken me down a very different road.

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  • Lowers self-esteem by stimulating social comparison – The fabulous “online lives” portrayed by others, make ours feel inadequate and lacking. This triggers envy, unhealthy competition and even depression. Like Roosevelt said “Comparison is the thief of joy”.

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  • Prevents one from enjoying the moment – By trying to photograph the perfect moment of the sunset or keep the camera still during your favourite song at the concert, one is impeding the actual enjoyment of those experiences. It promotes Wandering Minds.  I prefer my memories in lieu of footage.

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  • It’s a huge waste of time – This is by far the strongest reason to leave. The amount of hours I spent scrolling through posted clutter is something I do not want to contemplate. For every hour spent on Facebook I probably got 5m of actual value (on a good hour). For me, getting less than 10% return on my time is a very bad investment.

How much time/week do you spend on social media?

 

In the end though, I guess I’ll keep having a carefully curated “online life” after all. Like Cat says, blogging is the new Facebook, and here we are, you and I, socially networking away.

Though smaller than it was, it’s still a huge hungry ego I have, so please make sure to download this post.

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3 thoughts on “XLV – Quitting Facebook

  1. Facebook could be a better place than it is. All those artificial intelligence algorithms that select the “best content” for you just bring out the worse of people. Lately with a lot of false news making it into the feeds. I think they are programmed like that on purpose, to make it more addictive.
    Also it makes people very lazy. People just share things others wrote, or some tabloid news.

    If someone writes something of his own it deserves my time to read it, like in blog.

    All those “news” and “incredible stories” shared by most people are a complete waste of time.
    Somedays I feel like facebook is turning into a giant “newspaper article comment box”, it brings out the worse of mankind.

    These days I mostly use facebook to share photos and read real posts or toughs written by a few friends.
    This is not the “natural” use of facebook, you have to learn what really matters and that requires having a very inquisitive and critic attitude. If you do that, you’ll find facebook very boring, and 1 minute per day will suffice to check on the people that really matter to you.

    There is a very simple way of telling which “things” on the internet are worse spending time on, just ask yourself:
    – Did I learn something new ?
    – Did I make someone happier ?
    – Did it make me dream about a better world ?

    I’m sure when you write your blog posts you will answer yes to at least one of the previous questions!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your comment, it brought the laziness aspect that I hadn’t considered.

    I read something about the algorithms that also bring another disadvantage – the content selected for you is based only on your view/side of things (political, religious, sports, etc), so you’re never faced with an alternative view of the argument, hence becoming ever more prejudiced and narrow-minded.

    Loved the “newspaper article comment box” definition.

    Thanks again, your comments have always been insightful and very helpful. Cheers!!

    Let’s keep asking good questions!!!

    P.S. any progress with your post? 😉

    Like

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