Despite dire warnings of my demise if I did so, I deleted Facebook

When I Googled how to delete my personal Facebook account permanently, many sites warned me how much I would regret it, but this weekend I finally pulled the plug on Facebook. In other words, I deleted my entire account (gasp!) and plummeted myself back into the dark ages. If you’re reading this on Facebook, it’s because I set up an account in another name and also added my husband as an administrator of my page so I can still share my blog posts but not operate a personal Facebook page.

Here is what one site said when I looked up the directions to delete my account: “Deleting your Facebook account is a serious decision, so make sure it’s something you really want to do. Whether you like it or not, social media is ingrained in society, and your Facebook profile can affect friendships, job prospects, and social opportunities. Remember that there are also ways to secure your Facebook privacy settings., if that’s your particular concern.”

The site really sounded like a Facebook propaganda site. They certainly wanted to be sure you knew how much your life is going to suck without Facebook. Still, there were other sites that encouraged me to pull the plug. One of them featured an article by a working professional photographer who deleted all his social media accounts to increase his creativity. He had been warned the move would sink his business financially but instead his business increased because he was actually networking the old fashioned way – in person and by handing out business cards.

One of the only things I will miss about Facebook is being able to harass my dad online and share photos with friends, but, to be honest, most of those friends stopped talking to me a long time ago, and maybe because social media has made us much less interested in actually interacting with people. Or maybe my friends stopped talking to me simply because I’m annoying. Whatever the reason, I don’t actually have any friends I talk to regularly anymore. I noticed a couple of them also started talking to me less when I wasn’t on social media as much as I used to be. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess?

The thing is, the idea behind Facebook is to keep people in touch with each other. Instead, I now have less friends than I did when I hopped on the site ten years ago. I have also lost friends because of Facebook. Those friends either didn’t appreciate my political or religious beliefs and told me so (in comments or messenger because, hello! No one actually talks on the phone or in-person anymore), got annoyed at something I said or did online (who knows, they just stopped talking to me), or I suppose thought anything they needed to know about me they could read in my wall and didn’t need to actually talk to me.

One relationship ended because of this blog after someone in my life actually read one of my posts (very rare), took offense to it and told everyone else about it and completely misrepresented what the post was about. And where did they see about the blog post? You know where. Otherwise, they never would have bothered to read my blog.

Only a couple of my friends from college speak to me. I can’t even recall the last time one of them spoke to me without me making contact first. Only one friend from high school now speaks to me, once in a while, and she doesn’t as often because she and her husband recently started their own business (and they’re really good at it and busy, which is awesome!).

I realize the two above paragraphs sound like whining and I don’t mean it to be. If you could hear my tone, you could hear that I am more of the mindset of “it’s simply the way it is”, instead of a lament. These are simply the realizations I came to while trying to argue with God that I still need Facebook. When these thoughts came to mind I felt almost as if I was being reminded that communication by writing really hasn’t strengthened any of the relationships I have had. If anything it has destroyed almost all of them.

All this is to say this: leaving Facebook really won’t affect me that much. While it did help me to pretend that I’m not as alone in life as I really am, the family and friends I once talked to on there no longer speak to me. What’s left are fear-mongering articles about a variety of issues and twenty thousand screaming political rants. My nerves need the break and I’m looking forward to it – even if it does mean feeling the crush of loneliness even more.

I read a recent article by someone who quit Facebook because it was making him feel lonely. He said his friends felt they were being real friends by liking and commenting but that they rarely saw him in person.

“They (my friends) had stopped doing these things because they truly believed they were playing their part in maintaining our friendship by “liking” a post, commenting on a post, tagging me in a post or worst of all just lurking around my posts knowing what I was doing but not even interacting with the posts. My “friends” believed they were still being good friends. That made me feel lonely. I longed for true human connection with these friends. I wanted authenticity. I wanted honesty. I wanted true friends, warts and all, bricks and mortar.”

His last paragraph is what I’ll leave you with because it is along the same lines of what I’ve been thinking and feeling. And it’s why I’m hoping I can find some real, lasting friendships in the future.

Nat Duncan writes:

“It may be morbid, but lately I’ve been imagining my funeral. A simple coffin (empty because I’ve left my body to science) with my friends all gathered around it, dressed in black, all holding a single red rose, and tearfully saying “I only just yesterday liked one of her posts” “oh I haven’t seen her in two years but I loved her Facebook rants” “I will miss commenting on her posts” “I met another Facebook friend through her” “I didn’t even know she was sick, I just saw she was still on Facebook” The curtain closes – and they all update their Facebook status (not to the intensity of Bowie’s passing but with some poignancy) to ensure their “friends” know that they are here, with me, being real friends.” – source: The Sydney Morning Herald.

Logged back on Facebook. Experienced full body shudder. Logged back off.

After 30-days of Facebook detox I logged back on this past week and almost immediately regretted it.

From someone calling someone else they disagreed with a Nazi to fear-mongering posts about health issues my heart was pounding within a few minutes and I logged back off again and reached for my Teddy Bear.

Facebook has become a landmine of stress for this anxiety-ridden soul, which may be something I need to seek out a therapist for, or it may be simply a sign I need to stay off Facebook as much as possible.

The odd thing is that I don’t even follow any controversial people or news pages so the fact every day people are now flipping out on each other over the simplest of things seems to be a sign that we’ve lost respect and decorum. Obviously this has been happening for a long time but nowhere is it more evident than in social media where people forget there are real people behind the computer or smartphone.

This latest incident involved a thyroid expert I follow who had been featured on a show people didn’t appreciate. She wasn’t exactly called a Nazi but she was told the views of the people were Nazi views, which makes me realize that this far out from World War II some people need to read some history and remind themselves what a Nazi actually is.

Since I haven’t yet seen this particular organization call for the extermination of all Jews, but in fact supports them in many ways, I don’t see how they received the Nazi label, other than this is what certain groups seem to call people now when they don’t agree with them.

Well, anyhoo, based on of the idiocy that is modern discourse and the tendency for everyone to be offended by everything, I’ve decided Facebook may be a once a month thing where I check in on some friends and family but then log back off. My blog posts and photos on Instagram are automatically shared to the platform and luckily don’t require me to log into my timeline.

If you’re going to stay on Facebook and want to avoid stress, I highly recommend avoiding scrolling your timeline and instead visit the individual pages of friends or family members. That way you can avoid being slapped in the face by bizarre articles about girls who think they are boys because a therapist told them they were, people who think anyone who wears black shoes are racist, and politicians calling each other Nazis and immoral while they all conducting themselves in immoral ways.

You can also avoid headlines like “three foods to avoid in 2019” and “What you’re eating/wearing/drinking/thinking may give you cancer” and “New test will determine what day you’ll die” and the ever popular “The end of the world is near. Read here for the signs of the end times” (save yourself some trouble with that one and see the headlines and article topics above for those signs).

Bottom line? If you don’t have to use Facebook, avoid it. Go out and experience life. Take a walk, read a book, study God’s word, watch a comedy, write a silly blog post or two about Facebook or notice you have children and play a game or two with them.

You’ll be better off for it.

I know I have been.