Facebreak

One week ago I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. This may seem like a meaningless action to many, but it was actually a pretty big decision for me. For seven years now, I have logged onto this crack-like website every single day to see what my “friends” have been up to (read: stalk the crap out of their photos and status updates). Seven years is a long time to follow the daily happenings of family, friends, and sometimes mere acquaintances.

My decision to deactivate was not driven by one factor, but several combined. Sure, some of my reasons for wanting to indefinitely log off of Facebook stemmed from the recent Presidential election and the hate-filled posts I couldn’t seem to hide/block fast enough, but ultimately what made the decision for me was the realization that I no longer enjoyed following the lives of so many people. It was a chore that I disliked, but also felt the pressing need to do. In essence, I was addicted to Facebook and couldn’t quit hitting the “refresh” button to see more and more posts that I could care less about. I was like an alcoholic who hated the taste of alcohol.

A few weeks ago, my I’m-tired-of-Facebook solution was to simply defriend people. After awhile though, I found myself wondering what the point of having a Facebook account was if there were only about 1o or 15 people who I actually wanted to keep up with? It was then that I decided to deactivate.

The 10-15 people who I want to keep up with exist outside of a profile picture and a status update. From where I sit right now, I have at least four different ways of contacting them! I have noticed that when I follow my friends on Facebook, I am less likely to call, text, email, or visit with them because I feel like I already know what is going on in their lives, even if we haven’t physically spoken in weeks. Again, there is a lot more to each of my loved ones than what is shown on Facebook.

In the past week, I have enjoyed living more “in the moment” to be super clicheesy (cliche + cheesy, that should be a word). Now when I see a funny sign somewhere, I don’t snap a picture of it, post to Facebook, and wait for comments and likes to appear. I enjoy it alone, or maybe send it to my fiance and a few friends. Standing in line at the grocery store is now a time to talk to the people around me or just people watch, as opposed to staring at my iPhone closed off in my own world. Being off of Facebook has eliminated the desire for approval from others. It has helped me feel more positive in general, as so many posts made on Facebook nowadays are negative and complaint based. Being off of Facebook has made me live less in other peoples business and more in my own.

A week ago, I wasn’t sure how I would like being disconnected from some important people in my life. As it turns out, I am happy to be “off the book” and have no desire to return anytime soon. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I actually feel less stressed not having to read about so many people’s lives. I value human relationships and have never been one to have “outer circle friends.” You are either very near and dear to my heart, or not really there at all. I applaud people who can have many different groups of friends, all with different levels of interaction and importance, but I just can’t do it.

So maybe this is the underlying cause of my Facebook Distress Syndrome. Maybe the whole Dunbar’s Number thing is right and one human can only maintain around 150 personal relationships (I think it’s less for introverted people). Granted on Facebook you aren’t exactly required to interact with everyone or keep relationships going, but this leads me back to my first thought: then what’s the point of having a social networking site?

I know I will eventually log back onto Facebook and I will be happy to do so when I am ready, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying my “facebreak.”

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40 thoughts on “Facebreak

  1. Pingback: Holidays are the Perfect Time to Brag About How Great You Are | The Other Courtney

  2. First off I SO apologize that I wasn’t following your blog, what with all the good comments and likes we have had back on forth! I swear I had clicked “Follow” in the past. Following now. And now I have to go back and read posts I missed! 🙂

    Anyhow, what a great post. I feel the exact same way as you, and you did great putting your thoughts into words. Being on facebook is addicting, yet always makes me feel dirty when I am done. I feel that the most interesting, most fulfilled people out there are out DOING things and not on Facebook, and I want to be one of those people! Being off there is also a good test of who your “real friends” are – i.e. are they willing to stay in touch with you even when you are not on Facebook.

    I gave it up for a year in 2009 after a big social debacle (long story) but then came back. I am actually going to give it up in 2013 under the guise that “I’m giving it up for Lent” because I know some friends would be offended that I don’t want to be on there any more and see every petty detail of their insipid lives… LOL. Awesome Post!

    • Oh please….do not apologize for not following haha!!! Thanks for following now, though! 🙂

      It’s amazing how many people have this same love/hate relationship with facebook, and like you said how people get offended when you get off of it! I really kind of miss the days before social media and smart phones sometimes. I hope you enjoy being facebook free in 2013!! I couldn’t agree more, life is so much for satisfying when you are out LIVING it, not updating statuses constantly and waiting for “likes” and comments. I already do enough of that on wordpress hahaha 😉 At least on wordpress, you read interesting articles, engage in good discussions, and form actual semi-relationships with people. It’s so much better than reading “today I ate a sandwich for lunch, now I’m going to take a nap” on someone’s facebook. GAG.

  3. Don’t ask me to explain how I stumbled upon your blog here, as it happens just like finding something out of chance on Facebook…click, click, click, click..hey look, someone blogging about Facebook, think I’ll read it…and here you are….lol.
    I commend you for deactivating your account…..I’ve tried that before, and then found out that “deleting” the account is an entirely separate process. Tried that, too…thing is, Facebook keeps the account in THEIR system for God knows how long, so in essence, the profile is never really gone….thus the addiction can always be revisited. 😦

    I hate Facebook. I admit, though, that I use it as an ego boost, and as a place to look for approval from my peers. Photographs on my own personal website go un-visited, and un-commented on, yet I put the same pics on Facebook, and voila! Comments and likes appear. If not for Facebook, I would feel that my photos sucked, and that I wasn’t contributing anything to the art.

    Funny that I need Facebook in order to receive encouragement and support. As for keeping in touch with friends and family….it’s the new normal.

    I wish I had your ability to deactivate from social media, and know that socializing would continue in the real world.

    Thanks for posting this subject matter!!! 🙂

    • I definitely know what you mean when it comes to using facebook as a source of affirmation and encouragement, and that is exactly why I wanted to get off of it! I think it makes life a lot happier when you can look to yourself for those things, not others. BUT I know how hard that can be!

      I’m also a firm believer in doing things because YOU want to do them. If you feel no need to deactivate Facebook, then don’t! I had my own reasons for deactivating but this in no way means that it’s the right thing for everybody. There are a lot of reasons I think facebook is great and is really beneficial. In my case, the cons outweighed the pros, but this probably isn’t the case for a lot of people.

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  4. Pingback: Facebook Cleansing | yesterdaywasdramatictodayisokay

  5. Great points and well done for finally breaking Facebook’s hold. I keep thinking about it, but I just can’t bring myself to do it, plus there are some people who live the other side of the world who I use it to keep in touch with. I’m making excuses really, I could just email them.

    • Thanks! Yeah, that’s what kept me from doing it for so long too. I have friends in other countries who I like to keep up with, but like you said, why can’t we email? It’s much more personal and if something is important they will tell me about it.

      But from my previous experience, if you aren’t REALLY ready to take a “facebreak” it won’t last. You’ll log on after a measly 24 hours to see what everyone is up to haha. You should try it out sometime though, it’s been really great!

      • I’m seriously thinking about it now after reading your blog, like you said if it’s actually important people will tell you by text, phone you or tell you in person. Definitely something I’m thinking about now.

  6. I’ve been off facebook for almost a year now. It’s given me the time and mind space to do so much more.

    (Had it not been for that, i’m sure I would have been commenting on some random status or photo and not this post!)

    good riddance!
    😀

    • Awesome!! I’m excited to hear from all of these other “facebreakers.” It’s good to know that I wasn’t the only one fed up with what this site became vs what it used to be/could be! I’m loving the freedom. Thanks for sharing!

      • 🙂

        Yeah, and I don’t think it’s just another phase because even if and when and I do go back to using social networks I’m sure the usage would be way more filtered and sensible!

      • So it’s ironic that you posted this now because two days ago I actually reactivated my facebook, haha. I did it because a friend of mine from the private school I used to attend died. There were only 25 of us in the class, and we were all a very tight knit group. Well the whole class was in a group facebook message talking about memories of our friend and who was going to attend the memorial service and not being in it was really hard. SO…I reactivated. But? I still barely get on. I don’t have it on my phone and still don’t feel the need to post anything or read other people’s stuff. Having the month long break from it put things into perspective for me, it reminded me of why I LIKE having an account, to keep up with past friends if I need/want to. It’s nice being free from the need to check it every single day.

  7. Nice post. I took a year long break in 2011 from facebook. I think it was a really good thing at that point in my life to step back and be able to come back a year later understanding what facebook was good for and what it couldn’t do. Mad props for facebreaking…it’s hard and everyone will give you crap for it, but it will be good for you in the end!

    • That’s a really good point, taking a step back to realize why you should be on it is smart. I’m pleased that so far everyone has been really supportive of it!! I think after this election, everyone is tired of all the drama and BS on there. I have talked to several people who are considering deactivating for awhile to just get back to real life! Facebook has become more real than reality for so many people it seems, it’s just odd.

      I’m so glad to hear about your positive experience with your facebreak, definitely makes me want to stay on it for awhile!

  8. I just spotted this post amongst your others – I’m actually on a ‘Facebreak’ too, and it honestly feels like one of the best things I ever did! It’s a bit like having a friend for a long time who holds you back, and then when you end the friendship you progress and wonder why you didn’t do it a long time ago. At least that’s how I’m looking at it now 🙂

  9. Good post! I’ve heard of so many others that have taken that “Facebreak” (love that term) but ultimately returning back again like crack. I hope you maintain your Facebreak for a long time, only deciding to go back (if you ever do) when you “detox” and control your addiction. I’ve thought of doing the same but discovered that I don’t have to as I regularly keep in great contact with my best friends and have learned to shut off FB for days at a time.

    Good luck Courtney!

    • Thanks for sharing, I always like hearing others experiences with it. That’s great that you can manage to have an account and not constantly have to check it! I know I’m definitely not there, and so far I’m still loving not being on it! It feels very liberating.

  10. I would like to give up Facebook, even just for a while, but don’t think I could just now. What if I missed something important?…goes through my head, but then again, has there ever been anything important enough to me on Facebook that’s made me think ‘thank goodness I’m on Facebook or I would have missed that!’, of course not and deep down I know there never will be. One day I will facebreak (great heading). I do find Instagram far more addictive, however I feel less guilty about being on Instagram : )

    • I know exactly what you mean and the “what if I miss something important” is what kept me from doing it a long time ago. Then I reminded myself what life was like before facebook- we all did okay! We still heard about babies being born, deaths, promotions, and we still heard funny stories.

      I still love instagram too!! I am solely using that as my connection to social media (besides this blog obviously) and it’s been great! On instagram people can’t post horrible status updates and ignorant comments haha.

      Thanks for sharing!

  11. Facebook creates no more than a multitude of virtual friends; it’s a world where numbers matter and not people. I deactivated my Facebook account many months ago because of this, and because you can be watched and traced through it (no paranoia there, then!) …
    Okay, and also because my account was hacked and I was Facebook raped. Overnight I became a young, blonde, lederhosen-clad, gay German with a penchant for many bizarre and interesting sexual deviations at which even I raised an eyebrow.
    By the way, I’m gonna try your method of controlling anxiety. Gotta try something or I’ll worry myself into an early grave.Still, the worms will get fed. Now, there’s optimism. There’s always a bright side!

    • Glad to hear you’re enjoying “life after facebook” too! I keep finding more and more people who are saying the same thing, they want to take a break from it for awhile!

      Also, I love your optimism. Someone’s gotta feed the worms!!

  12. I know the feeling exactly. I’ve gone the upwards of 6 weeks without logging on. And the thought of logging on sometimes give me severe anxiety. It gets very overwhelming. I’ve though several times about deleting my Facebook account, I just can’t seem to find the will to do it. lol. However, it seems appealing to me once more. Perhaps you’ve just inspired me…. 🙂

    • The good thing is that if you just “deactivate” as opposed to “delete”, you can always get right back on! It’s what I did, as I don’t want to lose all the pictures that are on there! You should totally give it a try, it’s been really liberating actually!

  13. Yes, EXACTLY! It’s funny because I’ve deactivated my Facebook before too, and it lasted not even a full two days. It is completely addicting. Like you, I always tried to only post positive, funny, inspirational things too! I wish more people could do that.

    To be honest I think the narcissistic thing is part of the reason I wanted to get off of it for a little while too even though my counselor always used to tell me ” real narcissistic people don’t EVER wonder if what they are doing is narcissistic, they don’t care and the thought doesn’t even enter their minds.” So yes, I know I’m not narcissistic but I also know that sometimes I’ll get a little obsessed with posting things. It gets bad when you are writing and rewriting a status update for 10 minutes to make it *just right* so you can get x number of likes/comments HAHA!

    So far, the break from the paranoia has been nice! 😀 And it always amazes me, people who have never even CREATED an account! He just really has no desire to? It’s kind of cool, he’s got that whole mysterious factor going on haha.

  14. All good points. I often crave a break from Facebook but find myself unable to do so. I tried deactivating my account one time, and I think it maybe lasted 24 hours. What is it about Facebook that makes it so addictive? I admit my biggest interest is in stalking people who aren’t even my friends! haha! And then, it is coming up with something witty to say to make people laugh. I feel that so many people compare themselves to what they see in other people’s news feeds and then feel inadequate about their own lives …. but, I never post about negative stuff! I feel negative stuff a lot but it never goes on to Facebook. I post funny things, fun pictures of me and my boyfriend, insightful things, etc. It’s a little pointless and a lot narcissistic And sometimes I go through periods where I feel totally paranoid when I share a “bit” of myself knowing that however many people have access to read it, but choose not to respond or “like” it. They probably don’t care, but I’m always nervous that they’re mentally filing away a “piece” of me to gossip about or use against me later. I’m a paranoid delusional, what can I say?

    Anyway, good for you. Maybe I’ll get up the nerve to try it one day. My boyfriend would LOVE it if I did — he has resisted Facebook and still hasn’t joined!

  15. Your posts were always hilarious and well-written. And although I only sign on maaaaaaybe once or twice a week, I understand not wanting to feel the “need” to do something that isn’t thoroughly enjoyable.

    xo

    • Aw thanks, S! I will miss yours too, but thankfully I have your blog/instagram to keep up with haha! Plus, I’ll probably have to log back into facebook closer to our wedding so I can selfishly see the pics that my friends post afterwards! 😉

  16. Sorry about previous without spacing. Hope this is better:

    What if I did say that social networks these days are not just used for communicating with people? Some people still think that they are.

    Technologies are shifting industries, business models and lifestyles, well, few of them are here:
    What would any 1 have to say for all these below including potential of Facebook/FB and other social networks/media, apps world, cloud computing, gestural tech and so on? Things are changing due to tech including IT including social media/networks, apps worlds, cloud computing and so on which are shifting business models, industries and lifestyles. Trade shows themselves have virtual reality. Then, look at blended learning (distance education and at physical locations)-tech-http://www.knewton.com/blended-learning/ (50% of high school would have online learning in US by 2019)(that link has the 6 basic types of blended learning where the last 2 types are mostly online). Then, self service revolution which came about a century or 2 ago. Also, look at virtual offices (the legal and other professions are changing around the global not just due to globalization, balance of work and life but also due to tech including virtual offices).The yuan mayb challenging the us dollar but even the currency is shifting slowly more towards tech as nowadays can use even mobiles to pay for goods. There’s also the electronic cards as well as virtual currency (virtual currencies are mostly used within online world though if i’m right, FB has also used to for real physical products). Then, there is also 3D printing, gestural technologies also used at trade shows and so on. Most of these technologies have already changed industries – retail, entertainment including publishing and music worlds, manufacturing and so on.

    There are integrated solutions now for apps and social media including for search. Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk even though they say they organise content for scheduling event purposes according to specific times within specific dates, they can do more. They can search messages and even updates of pages that the individual has chosen within a social network like fb and the search is done for that particular individual (the search apps do not show the public of individual’s stuff). Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk does search for GMail, Google Calendar, Salesforce, FB, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. There are also other 3rd party search apps that does the integrated search but not as good as Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk. Kitedesk goes 1 step further where can send attachments and all within the app (more than what Cue/Greplin does).
    Google searches are done according to its algorithm. Facebook can be used as an information and communications centre as Facebook has Skype, Spotify, Soundcloud (music apps), other apps including Docs app (MS Docs’ reply to Google Docs – cloud computing) while Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk are the right tools for searching not only within FB but also within other apps as mentioned above. Under FB, can choose the pages that the individual loves and not depend on Google’s algorithm (because each individual’s taste including for search differs).

    If use right settings and apps including lists which the firm has provided in the last 10 months or so, FB’s potential can be used efficiently; pages, contacts and apps wouldn’t get so cluttered and also posts/ads/comments can be done for free (mostly).

  17. What if I did say that social networks these days are not just used for communicating with people? Some people still think that they are.
    Technologies are shifting industries, business models and lifestyles, well, few of them are here:
    What would any 1 have to say for all these below including potential of Facebook/FB and other social networks/media, apps world, cloud computing, gestural tech and so on? Things are changing due to tech including IT including social media/networks, apps worlds, cloud computing and so on which are shifting business models, industries and lifestyles. Trade shows themselves have virtual reality. Then, look at blended learning (distance education and at physical locations)-tech-http://www.knewton.com/blended-learning/ (50% of high school would have online learning in US by 2019)(that link has the 6 basic types of blended learning where the last 2 types are mostly online). Then, self service revolution which came about a century or 2 ago. Also, look at virtual offices (the legal and other professions are changing around the global not just due to globalization, balance of work and life but also due to tech including virtual offices).The yuan mayb challenging the us dollar but even the currency is shifting slowly more towards tech as nowadays can use even mobiles to pay for goods. There’s also the electronic cards as well as virtual currency (virtual currencies are mostly used within online world though if i’m right, FB has also used to for real physical products). Then, there is also 3D printing, gestural technologies also used at trade shows and so on. Most of these technologies have already changed industries – retail, entertainment including publishing and music worlds, manufacturing and so on.
    There are integrated solutions now for apps and social media including for search. Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk even though they say they organise content for scheduling event purposes according to specific times within specific dates, they can do more. They can search messages and even updates of pages that the individual has chosen within a social network like fb and the search is done for that particular individual (the search apps do not show the public of individual’s stuff). Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk does search for GMail, Google Calendar, Salesforce, FB, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. There are also other 3rd party search apps that does the integrated search but not as good as Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk. Kitedesk goes 1 step further where can send attachments and all within the app (more than what Cue/Greplin does).
    Google searches are done according to its algorithm. Facebook can be used as an information and communications centre as Facebook has Skype, Spotify, Soundcloud (music apps), other apps including Docs app (MS Docs’ reply to Google Docs – cloud computing) while Cue/Greplin and Kitedesk are the right tools for searching not only within FB but also within other apps as mentioned above. Under FB, can choose the pages that the individual loves and not depend on Google’s algorithm (because each individual’s taste including for search differs).

    If use right settings and apps including lists which the firm has provided in the last 10 months or so, FB’s potential can be used efficiently; pages, contacts and apps wouldn’t get so cluttered and also posts/ads/comments can be done for free (mostly).

    • Haha, right? Sometimes I’ll look at the clock and realized I wasted an hour just clicking and clicking…

      Kind of like I should be getting ready for work right now but I’m sitting here on WordPress. Le sigh. I guess if it’s not one thing it’s another. At least now there is one less website to get sucked into 😀

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