Last weekend I did something I should have done a long time ago. I pulled the plug on my personal Facebook account. For all the convenience the website brings when it comes to sharing photos and information with the ones I love, I also found that it was becoming more and more of a hindrance. It was always open in one of my web browser tabs; and if I was out and about, I had the app on my smartphone so I would always be in the loop. I was quite literally connected 24/7 to that website.
As someone who is trying to make a career out of writing, I had a bitter-sweet relationship with Facebook. On one hand, it was great being able to share my stories and get feedback from people, but on the other hand that feedback never turned into comments on posts — something that would go a long way to turning Mama Needs Mana into a community of like-minded parents rather than just me babbling into cyberspace! I cringed when I saw how much of a hit traffic took when I deactivated, but it did improve slowly as the week went by.
It was also a great source of inspiration. Posts like, “Shared Facebook Profiles: Sickly or Sweet” would possibly never have happened if it wasn’t for yet another annoying status update from a shared profile popping up in my feed. However, it was more often than not just a time-sink, and that’s something I cannot afford with my limited time to write. I already have Twitter, housework, email, Youtube videos and games vying for my attention, so I don’t need pointless updates about cats or what people had for dinner last night to distract me further!
On a more personal note, I have finally realised that a combination of caring too much and not being afraid to speak my mind is a recipe for disaster on social media like Facebook. I have lost count of how many times I have blocked or deleted someone because of their truly vile opinions on particular issues that I am passionate about, and yet I have judged people — people I supposedly care enough about to share my personal information with — on a vast variety of things from hairstyles to weight, to political views and lifestyle choices of which I have no business judging them for. I’ve seen countless threads where people air their dirty laundry or worse still, spend all their time creating the facade of how they are living the Best Life Ever™ and I cringe every time it happens. I don’t like being a source of turmoil, but I also can’t keep my big mouth shut!
In the end, I realised that none of what was in my feed was worth being constantly online 24/7 for. Friends and family have other ways of contacting me and it has had zero effect on how much most of us talk. It was interesting to hear how some people took it personally and thought that I had blocked them when in reality I had simply deactivated. It was more interesting still to see how many people actually bothered to contact me directly and find out what was going on. It’s like the human race has forgotten how email, Skype and phones actually work when you remove Facebook (My battery life has improved dramatically after ditching the app) from the picture. It’s sad to see how communication seems to now revolve around one website.
In the end, the only regret that I have about deactivating is that I lost my Spotify and Fitocacy accounts in the process, since I was lazy and signed up using my Facebook details. It was also a pain having to create a fake profile in order to keep my fan pages active. To a lesser extent, I wish I had have perhaps taken the time to say, “Hey, I’m deactivating Facebook. Wanna chat? Add my on Skype!” or even just culled my list down to a handful of people, but that just felt like I was simply adding more drama to what is already the cyber version of Days of Our Lives.
I may be an internet hipster who is too cool for Facebook, but I definitely feel happier without it!
Are you still in love with the Social Media giant? Never fear, Mama Needs Mana is still on Facebook. Be sure to check out the page and give it a Like!