stepping away

i recently made the decision to permanently delete my facebook account, not just deactivate it, and i thought i’d take the time to explain why in case anyone else is considering doing the same. my first reason is fairly basic – i only really used it for messenger if i didn’t have a friend’s number – but others are more interesting to discuss and harder to convince ourselves to fix. 

as i said earlier, i only really used facebook for its messaging app, and rarely posted anything original or shared my friends’ posts. in fact, when i last used facebook i only had about 34 friends, and i only followed four of them. the messenger bit was easy enough to fix: i just asked everyone i messaged frequently for their phone numbers. however, despite my main use of facebook being on a different app entirely, i did still check my feed often enough to feel anxious. because of the number of people i actually followed being so low, i never really had the ‘fomo’ or comparison problems talked about in so many recent studies on social media anxiety. (pro tip: do NOT google that phrase, it might take you to a phishing site.) i did, however, have a strange paranoia about being blocked, or having negative posts made about me. this happened enough in my early years of being on facebook that i guess the fear became a habit. so every time i checked my feed, i was preparing for negativity rather than the uplifting Christian posts i followed. add this to the number of sensastionalist campaign trail ‘news stories’ popping up courtest of facebook’s algorithm, and it was clear i had a problem. i ended up deleting the app off my phone, only checking it at work (for context, i only work four hours on monday and three on friday, so my usage was down to less than an hour per week, excluding messenger). eventually i made the leap to totally deleting my account, not just deactiving it. (yes, this is an option. you’re welcome.) 

i truly believe that, as much as we want to deny it as ‘old people resisting technology,’ facebook lives up to all of its negative stereotypes. it causes stress and addiction, increases the amount of drama in our lives, and floods our minds with negative and often misleading ‘news.’ i realize that all these things could be true of any social media platform, but personally i’ve never had anxiety or other negative experiences caused by them. instagram has drama on occasion but i’ve never been involved in any (i think), and twitter and youtube are hilarious. i will say i’ve had some anxiety over snapchat, but after deleting the app for a few days i was able to reevaluate and remove friends as necessary to restore my enjoyment of the app. i will not be returning to facebook, and i’m glad that i finally overcame my belief that i ‘needed’ an account in order to make a decision that has improved my life. 

if any of you are considering deleting a social media account, try deleting its app from your phone for a few days. if you feel safer and happier without it, and redownloading it makes you return to an anxious state, it might be time to delete your account permanently. social media wasn’t always part of human life, or even your life – don’t let anyone try to make you believe it’s a requirement for your life now.

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