Why I decided to unfriend Facebook.
A month ago, I deactivated my Facebook profile.
It had been a long time coming. It started with removing Facebook messenger from my phone a year ago, then the Facebook app nine months ago. I was slowly purging Facebook from my life.
I’m not sure if I’ll go back, or if this decision is permanent, but one thing I do know is that I have learned a lot simply by being willing to ask a question.
We go about our lives doing a lot of things that we never bother to question.
We have 9-to-5 jobs because that’s what everyone does, we hang out with the same friends we’ve had since infancy without questioning whether they’re truly serving our growth, we get into relationships because we think that’s what we’re supposed to do, and we consume media and connect with our friends on social media websites like Facebook because that’s where everyone else is (or so it would seem).
As humans, it’s my personal opinion that we owe it to ourselves to question why it is that we do what we do. With everything. This is how we expand consciousness, and it’s only with a perpetually expanding consciousness that we can continue to grow. We must examine the unexamined assumptions we’ve made in our lives.
And so, as the story goes, when I was finally willing to examine my relationship with Facebook, I came up with the following observations:
- Facebook is the easiest way to connect with all my friends who are spread throughout the world.
- It’s a convenient way to share my voice and my message with my network and my network’s network (in sales terms, this is excellent lead generation).
- It provides me with constant validation that I’m headed on the right path via almost immediate feedback on anything I share.
- It helps me be lazy about the way I connect with people.
- It quickly becomes a time warp the moment I start scrolling the newsfeed.
- I get distracted and drained by the incessant beckoning of click-bait rather than spending energy cultivating my own desire and seeking out information that I truly want to be consuming.
I could probably continue with this list well into the hundreds, and the point is, when I was willing to actually sit down and ask myself “Why am I on Facebook?” I learned a lot about me.
For starters, I actually prefer to connect with people face to face, one on one. I love giving people my undivided attention, and receiving theirs. Facebook always felt compensatory to truly satiating human connection that is often the result of doing the vulnerable thing and reaching out on the phone or in person.
Facebook was also protecting me from feeling vulnerable.
In moments of uncertainty, in moments of boredom or meaninglessness, in moments of loneliness and ennui, it was my go-to to forget my problems and lose myself in everyone else’s. I could quickly connect with any number of my almost 2,000 friends, distract myself with click-bait news, or share my thoughts on life as we know it in a prolific Facebook live video.
It facilitated me promoting my Facebook identity almost as though it was its own avatar. Facebook never has been and likely never will be a safe container for true intimacy, and what that means is that whatever we are sharing in there is really only a partial viewing of our whole selves. And because of the immediate feedback loop, it’s usually a partial viewing of what we perceive other people want to see.
Alas, much to my dismay, I had somehow morphed into a technologically obsessed millennial, even though I’m a few years on the safe side of that generation and still remember and talk fondly about how glorious life was without the constant invasion of technology into my daily life.
And so it was time to put myself to the test. It may sound melodramatic, but I wanted to know: Was it truly possible to survive without Facebook? Will I cease to exist the moment I deactivate my profile? Will my business take a nosedive without all that constant exposure?
It was time to find out.
Here’s what I learned:
I still exist. I know. It was also a relief for me to discover that one.
Upon deactivating my profile and taking the active position to take ownership of my online life, I had three people I had never even considered working with reach out to me to inquire about coaching, via email. They had been Facebook friends of mine for years. Business nosedive? Nope.
I get to observe the almost knee-jerk reaction impulse of being uncomfortable and having zero outlet for it, in real time, and actively address it using my very own coaching tools.
I have taken full responsibility for my social life, and have enjoyed probably the most gratifying and fulfilling interactions with humans (both strangers and friends) that I’ve ever had in my life, since I left.
I have more energy to make eye contact with strangers in the street when I’m out, I feel more motivated and inspired to make fun dates and talk on the phone with my friends (so old school, I know!), and my ability to be present with each moment with them has drastically improved from where it already was.
I have significantly more time to complete every single project I’ve wanted to do for months but haven’t gotten around to completing, like transcribing epic podcast interviews I’ve done and creating soundbite videos of them to share with my network.
This exercise has been especially fruitful because in listening to myself being interviewed, I’m also realizing how much I have to share with the world. Insta-inspiration to keep going, even on a rough day.
On the slightly more humorous and totally inconvenient side, almost all of my others apps relied on my Facebook login in order to function. It has taken me a few weeks to clean up that mess, and in that frustrating process, I’ve briefly considered ditching smartphones all together.
Overall, I’m sleeping better, I spend more time creating, I’m getting more done, and I feel even more fulfilled and purposeful in my life.
Sounds like a win to me.