On June 4, 2020 I committed Facebook suicide for two main reasons. Reason one: I don’t agree with how Facebook does business. I choose not to allow this particular corporate structure to continue to acquire and sell my data. Reason two: I was very weary of the anxiety, the social justice warriors, the cancel culture, the virtue signaling, and narcissism that runs rampant.
I freely admit that I made some excellent friends through Facebook in my 13 years there. I found a voice teacher through a FB connection. I met some people in person who I might not have met otherwise (or would I have found another way?). I had some great conversations and learned many things. But most days, I had a small uneasy observation running through my mind “You sure did spend a lot of time on FB today.” Like hours daily. It was my go-to time filler whenever real life or work bored me. It is designed to addict you to it, and I came to feel like my involvement there was a problem. I started to notice how I felt when I first logged into it each day – preparing to be annoyed – and how I felt when I took a break from it or signed off for the day – slightly anxious. It generally felt like wasted time, time that gets more precious the longer you live. In 13 years, I spent thousands of hours on there. Too much.
Around June 2 I announced briefly on my feed that I was going to quit. Several people said they had been considering it, but I’m sure they are as addicted or compulsive as I was, and they don’t seem to have reached a breaking point yet. One person begged me to stay, saying something idealistic like “We can make it better.” No. The pine tree cannot make the lumber industry better. The inmates can’t improve the prisons. I have no interest in helping Facebook to improve. They are a huge company with huge money flowing in and out, and its users are the raw materials that become its product. The users of such a vast “free” product will never have any power.
So, six weeks after, I am happy to say I don’t miss it. Not reading other people’s pain and posturing for hours a day is obviously a benefit. But the best thing of all is much more TIME. Time to think, create, sing, practice, exercise, and just be. I’m talking with the important people in my life more. I’m less stressed than I was with the constant fear and ego-based arguments and discussions that I endured for “professional” reasons.
In the week leading up to quitting FB, I thought about whether and how to enjoy some of my FB activities in other places. I decided that if I’d like to continue endless discussions I could use Reddit. If I want to share pictures, there are a bunch of better ways to do that, like Instagram. When I want to broadcast a timely message to the world, I could use Twitter. I have done some Youtube streams, which result in a much better product than most “Facebook Lives”. I have a few friends on Slack and Google Hangouts if I want texty chitchat.
My brain is calmer. I’m much less annoyed, I am getting more done. I have several hours of time back every week. Life improved significantly when I quit Facebook. I recommend it.