Seven Reasons I Quit Facebook:
In early 2015, I did the unthinkable, and deactivated my Facebook account. The reaction from friends and family varied. Some people thought I had “unfriended” them. My family worried I was depressed and isolating myself. The reality is that I had a number of reasons for leaving Facebook. Although the most important factor in my leaving was triggered by a personal crisis, there were other reasons that leaving Facebook felt right. Here are my top seven reasons for quitting Facebook:
1. I was going through a difficult time, and I didn’t want to explain it.
Like many people, a lot of my Facebook “friends” weren’t close friends or family. Over the years, I had posted updates on important life changes. However, I didn’t feel like going public with recent difficulties and it felt like a pretense to be on Facebook and not mention them. I could have left my Facebook account alone and simply kept quiet, but it felt better to shut it down – at least for the time being.
2. I wanted to disassociate myself from a recent job, and I didn’t want to be bothered with unfriending work acquaintances.
I had just resigned from a job that wasn’t working out. Many of my Facebook friends knew me solely based on that job. Some of those people were close enough that I could call them or socialize with them outside of work, but most of them were simply acquaintances. I developed the feeling that I didn’t want to be Facebook “friends” with people who weren’t actually friends. I know I could have just unfriended them, but at the time that seemed like more trouble than it was worth.
3. Facebook was taking up too much of my time.
Some people might say I have a slight tendency toward addictive behavior. That inclination had extended to Facebook: I found myself “checking” Facebook far too frequently. Over the years, I had “liked” enough pages that there was almost always something new to look at. There was also a bit of worry that if I didn’t continually monitor my news feed I might miss something important.
4. I realized how superficial the majority of my Facebook relationships were.
Facebook seems to encourage users to “friend” people where there really isn’t a strong connection. From old high school or college connections to work colleagues of yesteryear to the parents of your kid’s friends, there comes a time when you realize how shallow many or most of your Facebook “friendships” really are.
5. I wanted to distance myself from the depressing “news” that littered my feed.
I’ve always been a bit of a news junkie. I also have a strong interest in various issues: social science, history, natural science, politics, etc. For a while, I found it invigorating to “like” pages, and get updates on topics that matter to me. However, after a while, I found that my newsfeed was predominantly negative. Current events are fairly depressing. The sociocultural landscape in the United States is abysmal. Intellectual discourse is as endangered as the North Pacific right whale. Don’t get me started on politics. I now want to control when, and where, I get my news and information.
6. I wanted to feel that I was living a more private life.
Notice I said “feel.” I’m aware that in this information age, due to the efforts of corporations and governments, privacy is a thing of the past. Nonetheless, I don’t have to actively contribute to the loss of my privacy. And when I do engage in public discourse, I want it to be on my terms.
7. I wanted to transform, and control, the “brand” I presented to myself, and to others.
Does it matter to me that when others look at my Facebook profile page that they are subjected to advertisements? Yes. Does it matter to me that Facebook’s algorithms affect how I am perceived by other Facebook users? Yes. Enough said.
Coda: I don’t use Twitter or LinkedIn either.
Twitter: I’m not interested in conveying or receiving information that is limited to 140 characters. I also find the abbreviations and hashtags to be juvenile, but I’m sure that’s a generational bias.
LinkedIn: I have a job that I love – teaching elementary school. I plan on working in the same school district until I retire. At this point, I have no interest in other full-time employment.