If you are surprised that I still exist because you haven’t seen my social fingerprint on Facebook lately – fear not! I still have a wife, friends, and a career. In fact, my career and work ethic have increased tremendously since I deleted my Facebook.
Over a year ago (April 18, 2012) I broke up with Facebook. But Facebook had a hard time letting go:
I received this email from Facebook and many more begging me to come back, pleading, “Eli, aren’t you missing your friends?” Come on, Facebook Direct Marketing team, don’t you think I have friends?
Yes, Facebook, but I have more friends in real life than you think.
You see, when I severed ties with Facebook, I had my reasons, and very specific ones at that: Facebook had become a way to create a different reality or version of yourself, to post drama and certain overly personal issues for the world to see, and a very tempting way to waste time, at work and at home.
3 Reasons Why I left Facebook
Facebook allows us to live in a Fake Reality
In fact, you might as well call it Fakebook, or “Saving Face – Book” because that is all Facebook was and is. My friends (both my actual friends and my “Facebook friends” – we all know there’s a difference) and I used Facebook to create the life we wanted, or wanted others to believe that we were living. A life with more “friends” than days in the year. A life with no bad days (or at least no photos to prove that those bad days ever existed.) A life with constant affirmation, expressed through a little navy blue thumbs-up. Yes, the reality we can create in Facebook is far tidier than our real lives.
Initially, Facebook was created to communicate with friends, but as the software grew, it developed into an online presence of yourself, a persona that you could create and control at your whim.
And that doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
You post only the beautiful; you post pictures of exotic trips and fancy restaurants (only after you have edited and enhanced them, of course); you post status updates about your daily Starbucks run and your Pumpkin Spice Latte. You secretly hope your friends envy you.
So what’s negative about that?
When we attempt to distort reality, when we try to create a more “appealing” version of ourselves, we may actually lose ourselves. We think, “we are what we post,” and the real life that takes place between Facebook postings does not “count.” It is irrelevant. Because it is much easier to be the people we want to be on Facebook than it is in real life. Making relationships work is difficult – conflict and compromise and pain and forgiveness are difficult – and it’s much nicer just to post a picture of ourselves smiling with our friends than to go through the messy business of trying to make relationships work.
Facebook is a hub for Drama
I’m not sure if it was the political drama, the invasion of privacy, or all the pregnant moms posting their pregnancy-test-pee-stick on Facebook, but whatever the reason, I called it quits with Facebook due to the drama.
During political elections, my Republican friends would bash my Democrat friends, and vice versa. During Valentines, I watched as everyone “changed their relationship status,” and every day, I had to write happy birthday on a friend’s wall (a friend that I didn’t really know, might I add).
And of course, there was that crazy, angry person, who would say crazy, angry things, just to make people crazy (and angry.) And we all have one of those friends.
And if you can’t figure out who that is in your friend group, it’s YOU.
Lastly, Facebook is a waste of time
Each day, I could spend anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour on Facebook. What was I doing? I was coveting my neighbor. I was not keeping in touch, I was not writing on walls, and I was not responding to messages.. Shoot, I wasn’t even playing Farmville; I was looking at my friends’ photos, photos of their fake lives, and wishing I was where they were – in Fakeville.
I wasn’t Facebooking. I was losing myself in someone else’s fake reality. And my reality – my relationships, my career, my passions – is far greater than whatever reality anyone else could create on Facebook.
But before I left, I had to defeat the common objections.
Objections to Leaving Facebook
How Will You Get a Job?
I work in marketing. In fact, I am the Director of Marketing for a great, growing company (Boston Based Mental Healthcare Company). Before I left Facebook, many of my friends, professors, and co-workers objected.
How will you be able to keep a job in marketing if you don’t have Facebook?
- Not having Facebook has made me a more focused worker. My work ethic has improved because I do not check Facebook while at work. Let’s just be honest – you check your Facebook while at work, either on your iPhone or on the computer, and that is stealing time from your employer. That thought alone, “Facebooking at work steals time from my employer,” keeps my job. My CEO knows I am dedicated to work, but he also sees it.
- Since I have left Facebook, I have gotten job offers – in fact, one was for a social media strategist. Ironic?
- I don’t have to worry about what my employer might find on my Facebook profile.
How Will You Keep In Touch With Friends?
Next Objection: “How will you keep in touch with all of your friends? Won’t you miss out on a lot of events?
It’s called a phone (it’s not a new Apple invention either). I actually call people I care about. In fact, my relationship with those I actually call “friends” has improved because I am in connection with them personally.
I don’t miss out on events. And let’s just be clear – I have a Blackberry with NO DATA. My friends make sure to call and invite me. Even better, now I don’t have to awkwardly decline so many events I didn’t want to go to in the first place – or get suckered into one.
I keep in touch. If my friend gets married, and I actually care about them, I assume they will let me know (a nice wedding invitation begging for money will do). Otherwise, I don’t care anyway. And I’m not being narcissistic. No one has the capacity to care about 998 friends.
3 Reasons Why I’ll Never Return
I have stopped constantly comparing myself to someone else.
I realize that perfection is not reality, and I don’t have to pretend. People’s lives look great through Facebook; who wouldn’t long to be like them? But without Facebook, there is no impulse to log in and compare myself. My life is pretty great. I don’t need to post it on Facebook to prove it.
One of my friends’ used to post photos of all their adventures: trips, cruises, food, the “Good Life”. But when someone commented on a photo, “I wish I had your life” – the friend responded, “The pictures make my life look much better than it actually is.” Exactly.
Plus, I can say stupid stuff and no one has it documented. If you say something stupid, and there is no documentation, did you actually say something stupid? Exactly. Let’s just admit it: We all say things we regret. Facebook is a constant reminder of how immature you were 3 years ago, let alone 3 days ago.
I have better relationships with those around me.
I’m not on my phone constantly checking what others said about my last status update. I’m not concerned about what others are posting. Rather, I am concerned with those right next to me – those in real life.
Lastly, my career is Thriving.
The time I have gained from not checking that stupid red notification has allowed me to teach myself extra skills, such as: SEO, HTML, CSS, PHP, WordPress, PPC, Inbound Marketing, and Content Marketing. So not only did getting rid of Facebook help me keep my job, but the free time has allowed me to teach myself new skills.
One year without Facebook – let’s make it forever. Find someone else to make you millions, Zuckerberg. If you think about it, Facebook doesn’t care about you. You are just eyeballs for them (and if you doubt that, read this websites’ take on advertising *I don’t endorse her choice of language, but sadly said, CNN).
Letting go of Facebook helps you finds those that actually care – and the quality of life increases.