After 10 years of enthusiastic use, I’ve deleted Facebook. I haven’t deleted my account, as I use the messenger regularly, and I like having it as a sort of internet time capsule I can look back on every now and then and think ‘Oh lord, did I actually write that? In public?’ But about a month ago, I deleted the main app from my phone, leaving just the messenger, and never looked back. I haven’t even missed it. I did it for a few reasons, all of which I will explain.
My Facebook use in general has been, like that of many others, declining over the last few years. My digital social attention has been taken more and more by Instagram, with its visual focus and pared-back interface. I used Facebook a lot in 2015, but that was mostly to keep in touch with family and friends whilst travelling. I was a prolific poster, the cause of lots of teasing from my travelling pals, but the fact of the matter was, if I didn’t upload pictures for a few days, one of our mums or friends would message me being like “WHERE ARE YOU”. Once that was no longer a thing, I slowly stopped posting. I also lost enthusiasm for text-only posts, much preferring pictures, which were better on Instagram.
I say I’ve been using Instagram a lot more, but in many ways, I haven’t. I don’t post any more now than I did 2 years ago, and have definitely become more considerate of the overall ‘aesthetic’ of my gallery, and therefore more picky with what I post. Which is possibly one of the douchiest things I’ve said, but it’s unfortunately true. The main thing I have started using more of is Messenger. Rather than sharing memes and short stories on my friends’ timelines, I’ll message them instead.
However, more than just losing interest, my main reason for deleting Facebook is I’m bored. I’m bored of seeing countless videos of people I don’t even know doing things I don’t even care about. I don’t need to know that my cousin bought a new hoover. I’m bored of seeing headlines like ‘This woman went to the Doctor, and you won’t BELIEVE what happened next’. I’m bored of seeing pictures of people I don’t speak to, nor do I want to, but can’t be bothered to delete them or mute them cause I just don’t care enough. There are some things I’ve seen when I log in on my computer when I get home to check if I’ve missed anything, like birthdays that I’ve forgotten and pictures of family overseas. But these posts are so often drowned out by the cacophony of “BUY THIS”, “LOOK HOW COOL I AM” “OMG YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE THIS”, it’s just not worth being bombarded with anymore. I designate set amount of scrolling time, set the people I care about to show first, and I don’t have to bother with the rest of the bullshit.
What has this meant? It’s forcing me to be more engaged with friends and family. Most of my close friends don’t use Instagram, neither do family, so if I want to know what they’re up to and how things are going, I have to text or call them. No longer do we get together and most of the conversation is punctuated with ‘I know, I saw on Facebook’. Of course, life gets in the way sometimes, and I’m not as communicative as I would like to be, but now I miss them, cause I don’t get to see what they’re up to all the time. But now, I’m more motivated to, you know, hang out with them.
Each social network has its own personal demons. Facebook has ads and idiots, Instagram does a number on your self esteem, Twitter is full of alt-right trolls and sexual abuse headlines. The simple answer? One that doesn’t seem so simple at the time when it’s all getting too much? Take a break. It’s ok. Buy a diary, write your loved ones birthdays in it and ask for the family photos by text. No one will hate you for it.