This is going to be a departure from most of my posts and may be a little text [and emotion] heavy. Just a warning!
I was on Facebook from the time I started college. This was back when you had to have a college email address to even sign up – the glory days of Facebook. It was seriously the greatest thing to ever happen to college kids. When I was assigned my dorm at ASU [Arizona State University], I was able be a part of a girl lunch organized on Facebook before the school year started. I met my roommates through Facebook and was able to visit – and party with them – before we met on move-in day. In my 4 years of undergrad I collected over 700 Facebook “friends” and 2000 pictures. My college years were completely documented on Facebook and for that I am forever grateful!
Now to today – 8 years after my first day as a Freshman in college. I hate Facebook. It has become something I just don’t want to be a part of anymore. I am about 1 year sober from Facebook and I feel like I have my life back.
There are numerous reasons why I feel like Facebook had a very negative impact on my life. For one, I feel people use Facebook as a platform to be just fucking hateful. One of the main reasons I got of Facebook was because of an anti-gay post one of my friend’s husbands posted. In the end, I learned it wasn’t meant to be so hurtful and hateful but the damage was done. I realized that he would have not said something anti-gay in person, but on Facebook there are different rules and a lack of awareness about how people will perceive what you write. I quit Facebook the day of the infamous post. I am not innocent in this either, after I read the post I immaturely posted on my wall, “When did Facebook become a platform for hate?” I wanted a reaction from my friend. And who liked this post? Random ass people from high school I never think of or talk to. I didn’t like who Facebook was making me and I didn’t like how it made me see other people. Luckily for me, I quit Facebook before the 2012 election and I was able to avoid a ton of annoying Facebook posts. I was just over reading my News Feed and being pissed and irritated for hours after.
I also had a very shitty relationship with my self-esteem and Facebook. For many years I have allowed Facebook to make me feel insecure about my life and envious of others. I think at times it can feed on the bad sides of your personality. I have a friend who use to look at people from the past and fawn in their weight gain, life choices, etc. For me, I used it to feel bad about myself [and admittedly at times enjoy seeing an old frienemy look increasingly chubbier]. But mostly, I would look at people’s Facebook personas – those having babies, getting married, traveling the world – and feel very jealous and lacking in my own life.
“Should I be getting married? Those people haven’t even been dating a year! I want to be pregnant. Should I start having babies? Everyone else is. Or maybe I need to travel more and party more. She/He has such a cool life while I am here on a Friday night looking at Facebook while my boyfriend is working. When did I become such a loser?”
And talk about feeling shitty about yourself! I once posted a picture of a concert I was going to and no one liked it. I felt like such a loser and alone. Why? Because no one liked a picture? That is just fucking insane! I had a great time at the concert and I don’t need validation from Facebook. BUT I DID. When I posted anything on Facebook I wanted it to represent me at the moment. Do I look pretty? Skinny? In love? Popular? Fun? I think everyone has some persona they want to display on Facebook, whether it be best mom, best wife, party animal, adventurous traveler, whatever. But since I left Facebook those moments are now MINE and mine alone. When we bought our first house, I didn’t have to worry about the post that announced we were home buyers. I was able to take a really dorky picture and send it to my best friends and family. I had a choice who I included in my life and now have to go the extra mile to reach out to them. On their part, they send me pictures they post on Facebook and I no longer find out about vacations because their Facebook has some added photos.
To sum up this ranty post: I love being off Facebook. I have a life that is all mine and I no longer need to worry about how I am perceived by people from high school and how I want to be perceived. My moments are my own and I feel more myself than I ever did on Facebook. If anyone is considering deactivating their Facebook: DO IT! You will feel free from judgement and free of the pressure to judge. The day I hit “deactivate” was one of the most freeing decisions of my life. I still need to officially delete my profile, but I plan on downloading my data because those precious college years are still very important to me.
Have any of you thought about quitting Facebook? What pushed you to quit and what held you back?