I have been contemplating taking a hiatus from my personal Facebook for about a week now. I’ve been on Facebook since 2007 and not once in those 8 years have I decided to pull the plug—until recently.
I’m not sure what changed—but I think that my current struggles have a lot to do with it. Ultimately, Facebook is stressing me out. Scrolling through my feed makes me anxious and on edge and yet I can’t seem to close out of my app.
A little perspective. I used to like to stay on top of the news and be informed about what’s going on in the world, in my community, in the community where I grew up, etc. I enjoyed reading in depth articles about politics, current events, science and health, advances in technology, social issues, etc. But I just can’t take it anymore—there is so much negativity, violence and sadness in this world and all of this filling up my news feed on Facebook gets overwhelming.
It seems like Facebook knows what trips my trigger and stories show up on my feed that irritate me and cause me anxiety. For just one example, I see a million stories about motherhood and how “breast is best” and how formula feeders are irresponsible. These people do not understand nor do they try to understand why some of us mamas had to make the choice that we did to formula feed. And it’s heartbreaking for me. It causes me more guilt.
It feels like Facebook is a bully that constantly shoves negativity and hurtful comments in my direction for slow consumption over time—building me up until I’m full of guilt, regret and fear…and then what?
I think we all have one or two of those people in our lives who are into drama, drama, drama. I had a temporary lapse of judgment recently and engaged in conversation with one of these queens and I immediately regretted it. I quickly realized that I didn’t have the energy (nor the will) to continue the conversation and I bowed out gracefully—while this person interpreted it as a lack of intelligence on my part and insulted me as such. Really, who has the time and energy for that?
Sometimes I feel like Facebook has given me the mirage of having a big circle of friends. While many of my friends really are true friends and family, there are so many people that aren’t. There are people from my past who bullied me, hurt my feelings, broke my heart, lied to me, didn’t include me and now send me requests to be Facebook friends. And I accept because I don’t want to cause any hard feelings. The irony.
In this odd sort of way, Facebook teaches us to hold onto the past, be obsessed with the present—but to not BE present. All in the name of “staying in touch” and being connected. I fear that we lose those real connections because of it.
I use Facebook a lot for communication, even with those whom I am real friends with. I wanted to give anyone a chance to message me their number, etc. if they wanted to stay in touch during my hiatus. And I’ve been thankful there are those who have—real friends, those who care to stay in touch beyond the news feed.
As of noon today, I will be deactivating my personal Facebook account. I am doing this AT LEAST through the end of the month. At that point, I will reevaluate and decide if I need Facebook in my life and if so, on what terms. Please note that I will continue to update my blog Facebook page as usual—no problems for me on that page!
I think it will be good for me and is a step towards my New Year Resolution to be more unplugged.
Seeing this video helped me make a final decision about taking a Facebook hiatus. I hope this opens your eyes about social media and technology overuse in general, too.