I just deleted Facebook.
It feels good to say that.
It's an idea I've been flirting with over the last twelve months as I've taken steps towards creating a more intentional lifestyle. Before I get into that though, let me explain when the idea of deleting my page came to mind.
It was almost a year ago and I had arrived home from work and sat down on the couch to rest for a moment. Before I knew it, I had opened my laptop and somehow found myself scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. It was a strange moment as I caught myself scrolling, without any idea of what I was actually looking for.
I started to wonder how long had I been making this mindless journey to the unreal world of the Facebook newsfeed. In the ten years since creating my page I had amassed close to 2,500 friends, which seemed to guarantee there was always something to keep me entertained, distracted, connected, motivated or whatever it was I was trying to find there.
But I started to wonder how much I did this.
I decided to take note of how often my first reaction to a moment of quiet would lead me to make the same blind decision to see what everyone else was up to. The truth was, it happened a lot. Whenever I sat down at a computer, I'd already started making my way to Facebook before I had time tho think about what I was doing.
It was a bad habit.
I wasn't sure.
I needed a break. Well, I knew I should take a break, but just as nicotine drives smokers back to cigarettes, my need for the newsfeed drove me back to Facebook.
It didn't seem healthy and I wasn't happy with this behaviour, so I deactivated my page for a while. It was interesting. After a month of catching myself on the homepage of Facebook's login screen, this pattern of behaviour started to slow down, until eventually, it stopped. After a while of not using my page, I decided that if I was to start it again, I'd use it differently. I wanted to use it as a place to connect with my friends, not just be entertained.
I wanted to start with a clean slate so I cleared absolutely everybody other than my immediately family from my friends list. Not because I didn’t like them, but because it was symbolic of a fresh start to me. It felt more real. From there, I spent the next few visits adding my closest friends.
But here’s the thing. Since reactivating my page, I barely use it and don't miss it.
The fact is, there are more methods of communicating with those you love than there has ever been in history, and despite getting rid of Facebook, I have more than enough ways to stay connected. More intentionally so.
Because I no longer use it, I no longer need it. Instead, I've found the decision to slow down on how much I use it has helped me in the following two areas;
- Intentional contact Facebook was a space I went to simply be entertained by those I knew, not to stay in touch with them. Now, I am going to try and improve the contact I make with my closest friends. I'll do this through phone calls or email.
- One less thing I don't necessarily find all the options we have helpful. To be honest, I find the infinite amount of ways we can stay connected a little overwhelming. Deleting Facebook takes away one extra decision I need to make when it comes to staying connected.
It's my hope that this decision is one step in a series of steps that will make me become a better family member and friend. I also operate better when my attention is focussed more clearly on fewer things. I hope that removing this, allows me to gather just a little more headspace for the things I really care about.
- Video: The Innovation of Loneliness