Starting Wednesday, I’m shutting down my connection to Facebook for the next few months and drastically cutting back on my usage of other social networks (especially Reddit). I’m looking forward to digitally “detoxing” and strengthening the connections I have with friends and family, and maybe even making some new ones. I’m looking forward to using my time more wisely and investing in new skills and habits. I want to stay connected, but I want to do it personally and intimately. If you would like to stay in touch, please feel free to WhatsApp or iMessage me, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re in London, let’s grab a pint!
Some reasons I’m doing this:
- Facebook has breached our trust over and over again. Data leaks, security breaches, selling our personal data to the highest bidder; the list goes on and on. Instead of making drastic changes to make sure it never happens again, the team at Facebook has doubled down on apologies. I don’t want to be a victim of that anymore.
- Social media is extremely unhealthy from a mental health perspective. There’s been a lot of recent press about this, and I can definitely see the consequences in my personal life. Everyone’s putting on a show for everyone else (when they share anything personal anyway). We see the best bits of peoples’ lives, with the worst bits being censored.
- My only connection to a lot of people I know is on Facebook. Especially people that I grew up with, or acquaintances I had in previous parts of my life (churches, cities, schools, etc). Staying in touch with these people has been important to me, and up until recently, justified my continued use of the website. Unfortunately, Facebook recently has turned into a memefest, with virtually no personal connection to anyone anymore.
- The political climate in the United States (and elsewhere) has become extremely caustic, and I believe a large portion of the blame for the rapid devolution rests squarely on Facebook. People spew opinions and hatred on Facebook that they’d never even consider saying in public. I don’t want or need that in my life.
- Advertisers have gotten super good at knowing what I’m interested in and what I want, and the ads have become so targeted that every time I get on Facebook, I see something that I want right now that I didn’t know I wanted ten minutes before I opened the page. My consumerism flares up more when I’m on Facebook than anywhere else. The more we use the site, the more data they can collect and the more crap begins to clutter my house. I don’t want to give them that valuable information anymore, and I really just want to stop wanting to buy stuff!
- I want to model good use of technology to my children. There are much better things on which I can spend my time. I want to be more intentional about using social media, and instead of wasting my time, I want to invest in myself and real-life relationships. I’ll find myself opening Reddit “just for a minute” and find that 30 minute have passed. There are millions of better things I could have been doing with my time, but instead I threw it away.
I’m really looking forward to seeing how my life will change with less social media in it. Have you given up social media? What was your experience?