Sunday, September 23, 2012

Why I gave up Facebook

Could the fact that I don't want to look like this when I communicate with people be a good enough reason in and of itself?
"Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day." ~Kip

I've have had this like/hate relationship with Facebook and have gone back and forth with activating and deactivating my account for a while, but I needed some good reasons to permanently delete my Facebook account,  so I started doing some research, and what I found convinced me 100% that this was the right decision.  Some of these things I already knew, but some of them were new to me.   I really don't care what you personally choose to do, but since I have been asked why I made this decision a few times now I thought I would post this.

Here they are in no particular order, 9 reasons why I gave up Facebook.

1.  Facebook debates.
This is a big one. You have to know what I'm talking about.  I really do love a good debate.  I think healthy debate is a good way to test out our ideas and help us become more firm in our convictions when we are challenged.  Unfortunately other people don't always look at it like that and many of us get highly offended when we see someone posting something that we disagree with.  You see, Facebook is not really the right platform for a debate.  Without body language, tone and an actual physical person in front of us we tend to say things we never would in person.  The debates go on and on ad nauseum until everyone ends up mad at each other, yet in real life we pretend that nothing ever happened.  It's odd, it's not normal, and it can't be healthy.  As much as we want to say we are going to stay out of it, I dare say that most of us have succumbed to the temptation to just "just say this one thing".  I really think that if we can't say whatever we are saying on Facebook in person, then we shouldn't be saying it at all.

2.  False sense of reality
Do I really want to be defined by what I put on my Facebook profile?  Do I really want to define others by their Facebook profiles?  We can spend a lot of time grooming our Facebook profiles to make ourselves look cool and likeable, smart and witty, fun and sociable.  Is what we write a true representation of who we are?  I suppose some of it is, but I personally am tired of the "performance" mentality.   I'm tired of having to "feed and water" my Facebook account so I look just right.   

3.  Time waster.
Did you know the average user spends at least an hour a day on the site?  48% of 18-34 year olds check Facebook when they wake up, with 28% doing so before even getting out of bed!  I don't know about you, but to me that is just slightly disturbing.  We all could use some extra time in our day and here is an easy way to get some.

4.  It makes you feel worse about yourself
 Most women already struggle with feelings of inadequacy in "real life" situations.  So how can I possibly compare myself to everyone's happy snappy instagram life?

Researcher  Cecilie Shous Andreassen states, "We have also found that people who are anxious and socially insecure use Facebook more than those with lower scores on those traits, probably because those who are anxious find it easier to communicate via social media than face-to-face."   Anxious and insecure?  Facebook isn't going to help.

In one interesting Stanford study, researchers found that their test subjects repeatedly underestimated how many "negative experiences" their peers were having and overestimated "how much fun" their peers were having.  While it looks like everyone is having more fun than you it just isn't true.

5.  Fosters loneliness
The more time we spend online the less time to develop real in person relationships on the phone or in person.  While making us think we are "connected" to up to hundreds of friends at the click of a mouse, the research shows that the more time spent online the lonelier a person feels. 

6. Prevents or hinders true friendships
We are human and humans need physical touch, human voice and presence.  When we spend much of our time connecting online we don't feel the need to pick up the phone or get together with people in real life.  Maybe others don't see the problem with this, but I do.  My sister was at a baseball game recently and said she was sickened by the number of people on their smartphones.  Most people were looking at their phones rather than watching the game, taking pictures and sending them to their Facebook accounts, tweeting about it, and responding to those comments and updates.  You want to scream, "Snap out of it people!  Enjoy where you are for what it is and not for the cool status or pictures it gives you!  Stop living in cyberland and be in the moment!"

7.  Narcissism and other psychological problems
Narcissism is a preoccupation with oneself that often leads us to relate to others as objects instead of as equals.
A study showed that:
 • Teens who use Facebook more often show more narcissistic tendencies, while young adults who have a strong Facebook presence show more signs of other psychological disorders, including antisocial behaviors, mania and aggressive tendencies.
• Daily overuse of media and technology has a negative effect on the health of all children, preteens and teenagers by making them more prone to anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders, as well as by making them more susceptible to future health problems.
Another article stated that people with high levels of narcissism and low levels of self-esteem spend more than an hour a day on Facebook.

8. It's addictive
This was a hard one to admit but now that I am on the other side I would have to say that yes, I was addicted.  It took about two weeks to stop thinking random daily happenings would make good status updates and just enjoy said happening for what it was.
Want to know if you are addicted?  Check out the The Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale

9.  My kids
My kids need my full presence as much as I can give without my tendency to be distracted by what my "friends" are doing.  Do I really want their memories of me to be of me sitting in front of the computer scrolling my Facebook news feed looking at what everyone else is doing?  What about me mom?  What about what I am doing?  Isn't it important to you?
20-30 years ago it was soap operas for stay at home moms.  10 years ago it was Oprah.  Today it's Facebook and social networking, but it's all the same thing.  I recently read my friend's blog in which she lamented the hours wasted on Facebook now that she lost her daughter to cancer.  Thankfully she chose to stay off of it for the last year of her daughter's life, but she can never get back those wasted days.

Do I think that the blog can cause the same problems since it is still a technological way of communicating?  Yes, I suppose it can in some ways and maybe someday this too will have to go as well.  It can create a false sense of reality if we only post about all the wonderful parts of our lives and are not honest.  However, I also feel that in many ways it's a lot different.   It takes a whole lot more thought to put together a blog post than it does to blurt out a Facebook status.  For instance, it took me over a month to finish writing this post whereas I could have taken two seconds to post "Facebook is a waste of time" as a status update.  I also hope to post things here that are helpful in some way to other people while using it as a journal of sorts that will be fun to look back on.  Also, if you don't like what I post, you don't have to read it!  With Facebook you are "forced" to look at a lot of stuff that you really wouldn't have if your "friend" hadn't put it on there.

Join me if you wish.  Feel the freedom!

Further Reading:


  1. you will never regret...
    real communication
    real friendship...
    real tears...
    the feel of a hug when you are having a bad day...
    the way your child's warm plushy lips feel when they smooch yours...
    the way the sound of our child's laughter soothes your soul better than any facebook link...
    the smell of coffee being shared with a friend as she sits on your couch...
    the time...
    the time you got to spend on your children, your husband, chasing fireflies or raking leaves, reading books, or walking a trail....

  2. Well said, my friend (and by friend, I mean my real-life friend :)

  3. So you're not my virtual daughter any more?

  4. I'm sorry mom, but no. Can you ever forgive me?

  5. I deleted FB two weeks ago and am really happy I did. I don't regret it or miss it AT ALL, for many of the reasons you listed. I miss and long for life back when I only checked email once every two or three weeks, it was quieter, slower, it was great. Blogging, for me, will have to go soon, too I think - I look forward to it. The kids are growing up and there is so much more I want to do now that my life is half over (if I'm lucky!).

    I'm having trouble commenting on your blog, so here's my comment from Morris Arboretum: Claire is so cute! I've been missing your posts lately b/c apparently I didn't subscribe, duh. That play area up in the trees with the nets is so cool. No wonder my kids miss the States - it looks so First World to me whenever I look at all the pictures. LOL


  6. Oh no Chris! I really don't think you need to give up the blog. Not yet anyway. Good for you for deleting your account! Feels great, doesn't it?

    We were just away for two days with no internet and I can't believe I survived not checking my email for two whole days. I should try that here. I really didn't miss anything either.

    Sorry you are having trouble commenting. I guess blogger doesn't like you. :( I hear WordPress is better and I would switch, but I hate change.


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