Why I Can’t Stand Facebook, which I wrote in 2014 after dropping the site from my life, remains the most popular post I’ve written for Catch-all (apparently people are constantly Googling “Can’t stand Facebook”?). Since a few years have passed, I decided to share a brief update on what living without Facebook has been like.
Before getting into the benefits of LWOFB (I just made that up but don’t you think “Life Without Facebook” could catch on?) I think it’s important to characterize what type of Facebook user I was, and how the site became damaging for me personally.
After years of using Facebook, and being connected to nearly everyone I knew, I became obsessed with my online persona. I was constantly wondering “is my header photo cool enough?” “Do I look good in my profile photo?” “Are my status updates clever or getting sufficient likes?” I’m also a pretty curious (or maybe even nosy) person, and as much as I wish it weren’t the case, Facebook lurking was something I definitely took part in. “Oh that girl that was mean to me in high school is constantly traveling and taking beautiful photos?” “Wait that guy’s married now?” “So-and-so is sharing their annoying political views?” I was just so over it. I wish I was the type of person that could have a Facebook and update it occasionally, just to keep family and friends back home in the loop, but I’m not. I would obsess, and worry, and get jealous, and see people living exciting lives and feel like I was missing out.
In my life after Facebook, those issues dissipated. It took time, but I was no longer worried about what other people were doing or if I was keeping up. I may be on other social media platforms, like Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, but I’ve never felt as possessed by them. Facebook sucked the life out of me.
Although I don’t have a Facebook profile anymore, I do find political events on the site which are shared publicly. In spite of my issues with the Facebook, I’m grateful that it provides a hub for protests and rallies to be hosted and shared. It’s been used across the globe as an activist platform (I imagine it’s at least part of the reason that the Women’s March was so massive) so I see immense value in the site regardless of my personal issues. But while Facebook has its benefits, for me the negatives outweighed any positives. In my life without Facebook, I’m living each moment to the fullest. I’m not bogged down by social expectations online and I’m freer because of it. I don’t fear missing out, I embrace it.