Me:*takes a seat in a chair under a flood light* Um… hi. My name is Ruiz.
All of you: Hiiiii Ruizzzzzz.
Me: For about three years, I had a bad addiction to this drug called Facebook. I couldn’t stop using and it was taking over my life. But I’m glad to say today that I have been Facebook-free for over 6 months.
All of you: *clapping*
Okay, so it wasn’t anything like that, but throughout the time that I used Facebook, it quickly became a very unproductive tool. I flagged my account for permanent deletion (not suspension) and it was officially deleted for good on October 7, 2010. It isn’t common for people to delete their Facebook accounts. I don’t see any reason for anyone to do so if they feel the need to have one. But why me? I didn’t appear to have any problems with it. I never complained about it. I had plenty of friends, photos, and status updates to go around. But why would I leave it all just like that? Furthermore, how does it feel now that it’s gone? Well there’s causes and there’s effects.
You would think that you’re being productive by keeping up with all of your friends, but you’re really not. There’s nothing special about status updates because they aren’t exactly “status updates” anymore these days. They’re just comments posted by people in an attempt to get attention directed toward them. And when you have a news feed filled with these “status updates”, you waste time trying to scope out the best or newest ones. I admit it. Whenever I went on Facebook, I would check my notifications and then go straight to the news feed. 30 minutes to an hour later, I realize that I learned absolutely nothing useful at all. Which leads me to the next cause.
Having more friends on Facebook means spending more time keeping up with them. I’m not going to question the impractically large amount of “friends” that some people have on Facebook, but I can say that I had a fairly large amount too, close to 500. A decent number, but at the end of the day, these were 500 people that I just don’t care about. I am not saying that I don’t care about them as a friend or a person. What I am saying though, is that I don’t care to look at over 60 photos from the party last night that all look the same. I don’t care about people’s profile pictures being changed every three days as if I forgot what they look like. I don’t care about the status update you posted just because some guy/girl ticked you off. And I certainly don’t care about anything that you achieve on Farmville. ALL of this garbage is splattered all over my news feed and I eat it all up. Enough already. I don’t need Facebook to tell me what’s important between my friends and I, let alone who my friends are, or how many I have. I know who my friends are. I know who I care about. Not Facebook.
(For the record, I’m not saying that I haven’t posted stupid things on Facebook. As someone who has used it for over three years, I’m sure that I have. Please don’t assume that I’m speaking as if this were a one-way street. Anyone who has used Facebook before has done something stupid or lame on it at one point or another.)
Even as I knew all of this, I had no motivation to get rid of Facebook. I kept thinking that maybe people would post less stupid stuff or that my time-wasting problem would fix itself. Neither of those happened. Instead, I was pushed to delete it at the spur of a moment. I don’t put all of the blame on Facebook, but it served as a catalyst for a problematic relationship that I was in at the time. The most minor, unimportant activity on Facebook involving me would be either questioned or wrongfully over-analyzed. It didn’t matter if I was the one that did anything to cause it or not. As long as my Facebook existed, arguments existed. Push eventually came to shove and out of anger, I decided to delete it for good.
Facebook has a certain policy toward deleting your account. Whenever you flag your account for deletion, it becomes suspended for two weeks. If you log back into your account or do anything to it, then your account is no longer suspended and the deletion is cancelled. This is a smart move that saves people from immaturely making poor decisions and feeling regret later.
As I said, it’s been about half a year since I left Facebook and the results have been nothing but positive. Not once have I thought “Man, I wish I was still on Facebook” because the fact still stands that there’s nothing important there. Waiting for for that two week period to end wasn’t difficult at all and it actually became easier as more time passed. If I really did regret it, then I would have immediately saved my account before the two week period ended.
You may not realize it, but you probably spend more time on Facebook than you think. You would think that hopping on for a 5-minute session isn’t that bad, but it is when you do it 10 times a day. And please don’t try to justify that you don’t spend too much time on it. If you have to go out on a limb to justify this, then you more than likely are one of those people. If you stop in the middle of your studying even once to check your Facebook, then you’re most likely one of them. Get over it.
Now that I don’t have Facebook anymore, I don’t have to deal with that issue. It’s more noticeable now to walk into a library, computer lab, or any other place of study and find most of the people on Facebook. A good feeling comes out of knowing that I’m no longer one of those people. Whenever I get on the internet, I can just go straight to whatever I need to do without taking a side detour to Facebook.
Just because I left Facebook doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned social networking. I decided to use Twitter because it’s more simple and better controlled. I don’t have to deal with friend requests anymore and I can simply follow only the people that I care about. People that use Twitter actively tend to update on a more personal level too. Most things that are posted on Twitter wouldn’t really be shared on Facebook. That alone makes it easier to catch up with a person and see what they’re up to. Because updates are limited to only 140 characters, it forces users to be brief with their messages so that they can spend more time doing other things. There are significantly less people on Twitter compared to Facebook, making it easter to keep up with 50 people, rather than 500.
With everything that has been said, in no way does this mean that I am never returning to Facebook. There’s absolutely no guarantee that I will or will not start using it again. If I ever do start using it again though, then I will be far more strict with it so that time on it isn’t wasted. But honestly, I’m happy with the way things are right now and I have no plans of going back to it anytime soon.