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Why I Quit Facebook

I officially quit Facebook today.

It had been a year of back and forth on what to do.  When I first started in 2007, it was fun, reconnecting with old friends, making new ones, looking at people’s baby pictures–for a minute.  It was nice reading the updates and responding to what you had for dinner, a new job, or your latest trip.  It was nice.

But then I realized, WTF? I was collecting friends and receiving like 25-50 requests a day.  Because I am an author and have received some notoriety I thought it was polite to accept.  Maybe they would become friends or supporters.  But they retreated into  a dark space where they watched me but never interacted with me. Spooky.

I didn’t know half of these people and I was still caring what happened.  It all began to feel like clutter.  Just stuff.  I really began to care less.  It got to a point within the last year that I stopped using it.  Here are my reasons in a more orderly fashion:

–MIXED MESSAGES:

It didn’t allow me to be my complete self.  I would go in and post a few things, and leave.  You just got a snippet.  I had two fan pages, and a personal profile, and it became splintered and too “salesy” feeling.

— VOYEURISM

It just opens a whole can of kick ass on some relationships and I want no part of it.  Why do people care where I am, what I did last night, and I haven’t ever spoken to them or picked up a phone to call them?  There could be a crazie looking at my photos at 3am in the dark.  Yes, even that “normal” friend.  You never know.  Seen Forensic Files lately?  The idea of being watched and I don’t know who is really watching or what crazies out there are keeping tabs is troublesome.   I don’t think it’s right to give any stranger or even “friend” that kind of access.  There is energy in everything we do and see, and this breeds negative energy.

–PRIVACY:

I learned that some people need to be kept in your past.  That person from HS that never spoke to you but now reaches out because you were in the same class?  Uhm, no.  That ex you’ve moved on from wants to come back.  Really?  [Insert laughter] There is a quote I love from Shinn, “flee from things that flee from thee”.   Never chase the past.  FB makes it too easy to find people.  I don’t like that.

–STRUCTURE

I learned that in order to live a healthy life–spiritually, financially, sexually and professionally–you need to monitor what you see, hear, and read.   Leaving FB is part of an essential lifestyle makeover.

–FREEDOM

I learned that I still want to engage with people who really want to know me and admire my work in more positive and constructive ways.  I did this via my FB pages.  Sure, pages are more of a marketing tool, but they also give me a platform to stay true to what I do, and help others, and be helped.

–FAKERY

I got tired of the armchair philosophers with their misspelled quotes about life, relationships, Amy Winehouse.  Everyone is so deep and meaningful online but hell on wheels in their real lives.   People also lead these second lives online to take them away from improving their real lives.  They go from empty to empty.

–MINIMALISM

I want just a simple, less cluttered existence.  The amount of FB junk mail was ridiculous.  I had no use for its inbox or instant messaging services or keeping in touch with people I don’t know, or don’t know anymore.  Everybody can’t be a friend.

If you want to keep in touch with me please send me a personal email, call me, or check me on Twitter.  My blog is my primary online space and quitting Facebook frees up my time to devote to it.  Not saying I will never return to FB, but for now, I’m out.

Read my first post about this

11 COMMENTS

  • Maryann

    @Sarystal Yes I know we have went back and forth! And it was people like you who made me stay as long as I did. Making new friends happened with a few and it was worth it. I am glad we can stay in touch here. It’s more freedom for me here. And this is really my world. Thank you Sarystal!

  • Sarystal

    Well i for one miss your FB prescence MaryAnn! We’ve corresponded over our “FB friendship” throughout the years…through comments on one another’s posts or pics. You’re definitely missed.

    But i do agree it is an addiction of mine…partially because its a source of entertainment for me since i’m not as social as i used to be since becoming a mom and going back to school. I don’t know if it would deactivate my account but i definitely “trim” my friends list from time to time and change my privacy settings so that EVERYone isn’t privy to my personal life.

    I’m just glad that i can at least still interact with you SOMEwhere…i’ve been a fan of your work for years! Smooches!

  • Tacicia

    I totally understand your reasons for leaving. I just cut out half of my contacts, and sent all of my e-mail notifications to my spam inbox. The only reason I don’t want to let go is that many of the peers I still interact with don’t use e-mail, and some pictures I love are only on Facebook -as my camera recently broke. I may try to delete it soon though. We’ll see.

  • DLR

    Wow, this is me. I just can’t put my whole life on Facebook. Recently I got in touch with one of my cousins – that was nice – but all these random friend requests drive me nuts! I don’t want everybody to know everything about me. I like my privacy, and FB is just way too open. My FB will stay up for now, but only for family and a few select others.

  • Kwajalyn

    I can’t tell you how much this article describes me right now. I’ve been wanting to shut down for quite a while now, but keep feeling that I “need” to be on there in order to network. Now that I’m thinking about it, though, I’ve accomplished more in the real world than I ever did on FB. I may be leaving myself in a short while.

  • Maryann

    Renee, what a great observation you made about habit. And you have really found some wonderful substitutes. I too turn on the tv less and less. Especially in the mornings, I just can’t deal with the morning shows and raucous. I have been listening to lots of audiobooks lately on my MP3 player. I’ll try to upload some to the Alphanista store. Audiobooks and Joel Osteen. Anything to tame the mind and bring more structure.

    And thanks for the kind words!

  • Renee

    I missed your tone of writing, Maryann. 🙂

    I too gave up Facebook, probably a year ago and have since given up gossip blogs and television/radio news. (I now read the cover of the New York Times in the mornings and filter through the rest of the newspaper that I find interesting.) I realized that the information that was brought into my life through gossip, the news and the radio was formed from an act of habit, not of enjoyment. Falling asleep after watching the 10 o’clock news would leave me with sadness. Watching people live on FB just seemed like a clouded follower’s mentality. It all became too exhausting. Paired with the fact that I am living a beautiful life of my own and have no need for old high school associates to keep tabs on me.

    Glad you made the switch! Keep up the great work here.
    🙂

  • Brian

    Like all things in life FB (Twitter, LinkedIn, weed, etc) need to be done in moderation to be enjoyed properly. If you loath FB and what it stands for or allows you to do – or if it feels like it wastes your time – then by all means you should quit using it.

    However, I think that you give the clues on to properly use facebook (for you) in your complaints about it.

    If you are friends with “fakers” – un-friend them. If you don’t like the what someone is saying in their updates – ignore them. Why would you friend an ex? There is a reason they are an ex. You can ingnore their request or leave them in limbo.

    I think the idea when we all first joined FB was to let all of our connections in just “because.” But, like many things – FB requires pruning every so often. I’ve even pruned family memebers becuase their updates were either all about promotion, corny or vulgar.

    I find a lot of value in FB. If you don’t then nothing I say will change your mind. Just remember that you are in control – albiet not as much as with Google+ but you can manage who you see and who sees you – even more than back in the MySpace days.

  • Zabeth

    This post really has me thinking.

    I did give up FB and Twitter for Lent this past year. I was surprised by how much more I got done and how I was able to focus my attention on other things. I also didn’t feel cut off from the world like I was afraid I would. I did miss the social aspect of it though.

    You are right about the types of energy we expose ourselves to. That Easter Sunday I saw something one of my friends had posted to FB that made me terribly upset. Since then I’ve been much more circumspect about what I choose to pay attention to not just on FB but in general. The jury is still out on whether or not I’m ready to give up FB completely though.

  • Maryann

    @Natasha I think the last line you said about making people lazy is something that needs to be stressed. Anything you do online for long periods of time especially if you watch tv, movies or people online, it does deplete your energy–mostly psychic energy and physical. Thank you for your input!

  • Natasha

    Believe it or not, I left FB temporarily in January, then came back in April, and then left it for good in May, with no intentions of coming back. Out of all the reasons you stated, 5 of the 7 reasons matched why I left, but the three biggest ones were: privacy, fakery, and minimalism. It doesn’t help that I’m an introvert, did not have an affinity for a third of the people that were my “friends,” and that in the end, I wanted a more simple life/peace of mind. There were other forces at work that made me reevaluate that choice, and remember hearing on the news about people getting depressed while on FB? I was one of them.

    I do feel freer now to do what I wish (and not have to update! update! update!), and I do meet up with a few of my friends, despite our differing circumstances, but it’s all good. I swear FB made me lazy, and glad to realize that now.

    I promise not to write a book next time!

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