I’ve been on the fence about Facebook for a while. An old friend had actually started my original account years ago. I had it for a while and then deleted it. I didn’t miss the website, but created a new account more recently to stay connected with friends and family. There were some invites and news I wasn’t receiving and wanted to have access to more photos.
Some invitations amongst my friends are still sent via Facebook, but they also make sure to mention it in person as well. This is because these invitations are coming from friends that really matter and whom I see regularly. Also, a few more people of this group of friends also don’t have Facebook accounts, so others are being more mindful of getting the message out there.
I realized the news that really mattered to me would get to me in the real world as well.
I’ve noticed people don’t actually share that many photos on Facebook anymore. Or perhaps that’s just the people with whom I’m Facebook friends. Or perhaps they are keeping the photos private. Either way, I am at a point in my life where I have too many photos already and want to be more selective about the photos I surround myself with. So I am finding myself content with taking and having (and culling) my own photos.
Sometimes I like to share links about articles or videos I find interesting on Facebook. But I notice that is what a lot of other people use Facebook for, too, and I’m usually not all that interested in what they post. Am I also just clogging up other people’s feeds with irrelevant links? Maybe someone has been interested in something I’ve posted, but maybe they would have found it another way, if that is where their mind’s journey was heading anyway. And I still don’t need Facebook specifically as a means of sharing the things I’ve learned from articles or videos or the experiences they embody.
I also don’t care for the whole “liking” system. I find online approval to be vapid and fleeting. I think it simply distracts from knowing what I really want/like versus what others may want/like (who might just be making decisions on what they think others may want/like), and thus is a distraction to being content with life as it is for myself.
Just as there is the Fear of Missing Out, there can be the actual feeling of missing out when you see something through someone else on Facebook that you didn’t experience or have yourself. I was recently scrolling through my News Feed and saw a photo of someone watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I usually make a point to watch the parade every year, but this year it completely slipped my mind. Without Facebook, I didn’t miss it, because, as I said, I didn’t even think about it. But when I saw that I didn’t get to watch the broadcast this year, I got quite upset for a while. I’ve since gotten over it, but was the crying and grief necessary? Of course not. But I had supposedly “missed out” on something somebody else enjoyed.
Finally, I’ve been finding myself getting more easily distracted by scrolling through feeds and clicking on links as opposed to focusing and using my internet time wisely for things I really appreciate and value.
I’ve already written a whole back-and-forth post on the Goodreads website here. Going back to that post to add the link today, I again saw my reasoning for keeping it through the end of this year. But even now, only a month later, I just don’t care anymore about my reading stats or tracking my books for the year.
I’ve been using Goodreads less and less within the last month (and mostly have just been using it as a distraction or boredom time-waster) and have found that my reading life is less stressful. If I’m not into a book, I put it down and don’t feel guilty. I browse the library or a store or blogs for what to read next.
And I’ve been reading less, which is a good thing for me because in the past I had only read more because I had felt pressure to read more. I had also felt more pressure to read more of what others liked than what I knew I’d like. Now I’m spending more time doing other things that I love besides just reading. Or making lists about reading or working towards reading goals or seeing what other are reading or… you get the picture.
Social Media I Am Keeping
Twitter – I basically only use this one month out of the year, during November for NaNoWriMo. I find the NaNoWordSprints extremely motivating and the general atmosphere very inspiring during that month. Perhaps without Facebook, I will share more article or video links there instead; we’ll see.
YouTube – I hardly count this site as social media at all because of how I’ve naturally come to use it. I find this website, or rather the individual content creators on it to which I subscribe, extremely valuable and entertaining. And I find it easy to avoid distractions there.
And that’s it.