One year ago I deleted my Facebook account for many different reasons. In the year since then I have enrolled in college, done several colporteur programs with the school, and generally kept busy with studies.
Many factors led to my decision to leave Facebook after 6 years of digital social life on the network. Although I have maintained a Public Facebook page (LifeInMission) that I almost never check, the results I have experienced this year from deleting my Facebook account have left me feeling free, free to do things that I haven’t done before, free from digital life, free from the clutter of always seeing where other people are and what they are doing, and free from the never ending notifications and emails.
Here are some results of my decision:
- I have more time to spend with God.
- I have more time to do the things I really want to do (instead of scrolling through endless digital posts from my wide network of friends)
- When I meet friends we actually have something to talk about!
- I have a new sense of freedom from always wondering what people are doing on Facebook.
- Friends don’t see my relationship status anymore. (Oh! Did I really say this?)
These are just a few of the many results of my decision. I just realized this summer when I met an old acquaintance that we actually had a lot to talk about. Then I realized that if I was on Facebook, I would already know most of what we were talking about. For me knowing the information is not where the value lies, but rather in the actual social interaction that we call communication. It is this interaction that builds friendships as we traditionally know them, and these friendships are almost impossible to develop through only digital means. There has to be some element of personal contact, whether it’s face to face, or talking on the phone. I think digital only communication with a friend will soon leave both parties feeling a bit out of touch. This is what we miss in our social networks many-times. We consider that we are being social while sitting at home by ourselves on the couch surfing Facebook, liking and commenting on people’s statuses. No wonder we are left feeling empty and lonely!
I had tried to bring the endless notifications from the network under control by disabling notifications on my devices and turning off the emails that I seemed to always get. However it was impossible for me to miss the red notifications badge and the number count every time you sign in. Always curious I would soon be consuming everyone else’s posts and reposts. I’ve just recently realized the freedom that I have in not even worrying about what people are posting on Facebook, and whether they are talking about me or not. It makes no difference to me.
As much a freeing experience leaving Facebook has been for me, I’m not advocating a boycott of the network. It has it’s place and it serves a purpose. But we need to come to grips with the fact that it has changed the way we view socialization and it’s not a change for the better. We need to realize that socializing through technology, short of actually calling, whether Facebook or any other network, is artificial at best. I include other social networks here because Facebook is not the only place we see this problem. Google Plus, Linked In, and all the other networks have the same issues although they may appear in different garb. We can utilize these technologies, but we can’t let them take over our social lives or we are doomed to their digital social monopolization.
The one thing that I think I like the most about leaving Facebook is that I have more time to spend with God in prayer and reading the Bible and other books. I never want to get back on Facebook.