On the 1st January 2018 I signed out of Facebook, and I’m yet to return…
That was over two months ago, and that drug that consumed a large part of my day is all but a fleeting memory. Truth be told I never actually intended to stay away for this long. However, after the initial withdrawal, I see very little need to look back.
Why I Ditched Facebook?
I’m singling out Facebook here, but it wasn’t the only thing to make way. Snapchat was the first to go late last year, along with Twitter (although I do occasionally log in via a browser) and whatever others I used. The only one that remained installed on my phone in app form was Instagram. Not so long ago someone in my demographic would have been considered odd to “not be on Facebook”, perhaps even eccentric, and at very least quirky. But actually, I’m no pathfinder in this respect. It’s a decision that more and more people are starting to make. I think my reasons for doing so can be split into two parts:
One. Why am I spending all my time scrolling through this meaningless s**t!?
I don’t think by any means I was addicted, but I’m happy to admit, I was a serial scroller. I’d lay in bed both in the evening and in the morning and just scroll – for no reason. Also, Facebook has just become full of “Tag a mate..” and memes. I’m going to go out on a limb – most memes just aren’t funny. Facebook used to be a place where I could see what people in my life were up to, now it’s just loaded with stuff I couldn’t care less about seeing.
Two. I see just how obsessed everyone else is with it. It’s depressing (and scary).
Teaching in a University, I’m in position where I have a lot of exposer to young people, a few generations younger than myself. To be clear – students are great, they make going to work an absolute joy, and I feel privileged to stand in front of them and share my knowledge.
The amount of weight and value young people place on social media is just tremendous. Followers and likes seem to be the new currency for popularity and social status. It’s hardly surprising that the rise in depression and stress (along with other mental health issues) has correlated with the rise of social media over the last decade.
Why I Kept Instagram
I like it. I feel it actually serves a purpose. I’m fortunate enough to live in a lovely place and I spend a considerable amount of time outside. I like documenting my days this way and looking back on it – that’s it.
I thought I’d challenge myself to do this for a month. But here I am, well into a third month and I have very little desire to go back. I feel like I’ve missed out on nothing and if anything, my social ties have improved because I’ve had time to give the one that really matter to me more attention in the real world. I also spend more time in my head with my thoughts, I process to interactions and processes that I had through the day rather than craving the dopamine hit for someone liking my photo. Actually, the thought of plugging back in feels me with anxiety of being overloaded with information and having to deal with the (relatively few I’m sure) notifications I’ve missed in my brief hiatus.