4 reasons I gave up Facebook -- and why I'm not going back

ROBERT HUFFSTUTTER/Attribution Licence/FlickrI used to spend hours on Facebook, so I decided to delete it.
  • Facebook is a powerful tool for people who want to post pictures, share opinions, run a business, or keep up with friends and family.
  • I used to spend hours on Facebook, to the point where it was hurting my productivity and wasting my time.
  • After the election, I cut way back on my Facebook use, only checking it once every two weeks.
  • About six months ago, I got rid of it completely.
  • Here are four reasons why I gave up Facebook, and why I’m never going back.

I didn’t delete Facebook for any sort of moral-high-ground reasons. It had nothing to do with the Cambridge Analytica scandal or the fact that Facebook may have given my data to other companies. I’d love to say it was, but really, I just got tired of wasting my time on the platform. I’ve been weaning myself off Facebook since November 2016 (right after the election), and I’ve been completely off for about six months.

Here are four reasons I deleted Facebook, and why I’m not going back.

1. Wedding and engagement posts

sashamolly/ShutterstockAfter the 70th engagement ring pic in four days, I’d had enough.

First, it was the endless stream of engagement and wedding posts. I am living life on my own timeline, and I always think of myself as someone who doesn’t get bogged down by keeping up with the social media Joneses.

But after the 70th engagement ring pic in four days, all that “I don’t care what other people are doing” really goes out the window, along with my level head and a couple ounces of self-esteem.

2. The 2016 election

After the barrage of wedding posts, it was the presidential election. Donald Trump’s victory was the catalyst for plenty of people toreduce Facebook use, NPR reports, and for good reason. Millions of people were upset, and it seemed like they all turned to their favourite easy-access megaphone: Facebook.

It’s exhausting to read the same opinions over and over, and still feel helpless about the state of our country. Sometimes I would come across well-articulated opinions that I agreed with on Facebook, voicing concerns and supplying action items. But those almost always got lost in the sea of shouted statuses and rambling blame-game posts.

3. It was wasting my time

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesA Facebook employee holds a laptop with a ‘like’ sticker on it during an event at Facebook headquarters during an event at Facebook headquarters on April 4, 2013 in Menlo Park, California.

The last straw was my time sailing by as I got pulled by the latestBetsy DeVosscandal or the engagement of someone I went to middle school with. It just seemed like such a trivial thing to let take up my time.

I already read the news. I’ve already seen the Betsy DeVos commentary – did I need to read 18 more half-baked opinions on Facebook? And while maybe I wouldn’t hear about my middle school friend expecting a baby without Facebook, did I really need that information? Do I need to keep up with lives of people I haven’t spoken to in years?

Looking at it from a cost-benefit perspective, Facebook was costing me a lot of time with virtually no benefit.

4. Facebook hurt my productivity

CEBIT AUSTRALIA/Attribution Licence/FlickrI’m more productive with my time.

Speaking of the cost-benefit equation, Facebook wasn’t helping my work-from-home productivity at all.

My day is completely autonomous, but I still need to fit eight or nine hours of work in. And the reality of being freelance is if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. An hour I spend on Facebook is an hour I can’t bill for.

I don’t have a formula for how much my productivity has increased since being off Facebook, but I’m positive my career is benefiting.

At my worst points, I was checking Facebook every 20 minutes or so. It seemed like the reward for getting anything done at all was going on Facebook for five minutes. Twenty minutes of work followed by five minutes of Facebook wasn’t really a ratio that was helping my work performance. And for me, it seemed like the easiest way to mitigate this was to cut Facebook off cold turkey.

I’m still off Facebook

francois schnell/Attribution Licence/FlickrI feel liberated after deleting Facebook.

Instead of plainly deleting my Facebook, I had my boyfriend change my password, so I can never get on. I’ve been 90% off Facebook since the election (meaning I checked it once every two weeks) and 100% off for the last six months.

I have no clue what’s happening on Facebook, and it is liberating. I’m not living some kind of cloistered existence – I still have Instagram. But honestly, being off Facebook has helped me regulate my Instagram use, so that it’s no longer eating up my day.

I really only have good things to say about being off Facebook. You don’t really realise how much time you waste on Facebook until you quit. And once you’ve been off it for a while, you start to see how much you don’t miss it.

Other than the fact that I now wish everyone happy birthday a week late, there’s really no downside.

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