Relationships

Why I deleted my Facebook account

"garbage blues" © S. H., 2006. CC BY-ND 2.0.
garbage blues” © S. H., 2006. CC BY-ND 2.0.
A grand total of fifty-six days. That’s how long I lasted on Facebook this time around. Much longer than my previous nineteen hours, but not as long as I’d had it before my year-plus absence. It was just long enough to figure out that I don’t want to go back ever again.

It wasn’t even the fight between my in-laws and best friend that did it, though I’m sure everyone will debate that for awhile. But, no, the thing that gets under my skin about the website is how much communication it enables, but how little is delivers.

There are no conversations, only voicing of opinions. Advice from every direction about any situation a person can mention. Constant typing, talking, sharing. But no one listens. They trample over the hints of vulnerability, desperation, and pleas for empathy. Hoping to prove they know something of interest. Offer up a lesson that is one part inapplicable, two parts offensive. Add a generous heap of “this is how wrong you’re doing everything” just for good measure.

Of course, it’s not a problem that’s contained on a website. It has its tentacles wrapped tight around a slew of interactions. But Facebook can offer it in a single space and time from everyone I know. Hundreds of people inspect every statement in a matter of seconds and I find out how well each one of my friends can listen.

My entire life experience, distilled down to status updates and comment boxes. A jarring reminder of no matter how clear and loud I feel like I’m speaking, people will always point in a different direction. Will give me comfort in forms that I don’t want or need it. Digital versions of a box of chocolates to soothe my broken heart. They do nothing for what’s hurting me.

An aching reminder that no matter what I do or say, the response stays the same. Formulaic reactions to every instance and nothing to push up against. I’m standing there bleeding, my heart in my hands, and you’re telling me how to remove the stain on the carpet.

15 thoughts on “Why I deleted my Facebook account

  1. This was share 6 times on FB. I just thought it was funny. Anyway but I agree. FB is just too much of one sided non-personal communication. It’s never the truth. It’s always skewed. I have fb and I update maybe once a year. Call me crazy but I hate finding out personal info like births, life events, and stuff like that on FB.

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  2. I deactivated mine shortly before Thanksgiving for many of the same reasons. I found it a vapid environment where platitudes and repetitive nonsense overflowed. I have no intention of reactivating it. The WordPress blogging community is so much more substantive.

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  3. GREAT post….I love your description of FB. It is soul-sucking and so intrusive.
    “no conversations only opinions”, and opinion taken the wrong way because we’re trying to write it in small blips.
    I started on FB in 2009, a “late adapter”. Last Sunday, January 4th, I deleted my account for the first, and I hope, only time
    It feels wonderful, I feel free.

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    1. Good on you, Grace!

      It’s a total shift, isn’t it? And maybe I’m crazy, but I swear that the more time I spent on FB the more the way I interacted with people in my daily life changed. Like, my way of talking defaulted to short and shallow blips. I hate that.

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  4. I came to use FB reluctantly. (Itself, a story.) I have backed off from use–self posting, and mostly look. I want the positive interaction, to “like” to support and say a kind word, to keep up with people I care about, far and wide. I don’t want the negative energy (glad for unfollow button).

    I like something Krista Tippett said in her TED talk whose description starts ” A lie has no power whatsoever by its mere utterance. Its power emerges when someone else agrees to believe it.”

    In her talk she said “manic tweeting and texting (and I’ll add FB’ing) can blind us to the fact that the subtleties of human decency: character, integrity, are the only things that really matter.” Further she says: oversharing is not honesty. (Aha: the lie gaining power.)

    If you haven’t read it, for a good read on honesty, the Sam Harris essay titled “Lying” .

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    1. The promise of the positive interaction and “keeping up” is what draws me to FB, for sure. I’ve found the delivery of that to be incredibly lacking, though. I hope that it serves that purpose well for you.

      Those are some great quotes. Thank you for sharing them. I’ll have to check out that essay.

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  5. I found this post after looking on google for articles from people who have successfully deleted their accounts. I say successfully because I myself have tried to quit many times but have always found myself sucked back in. Your beautiful and eloquent piece put it much better than I have ever seen before and really hits the nail on the head for me. So much opportunity for actual communication is wasted. I want to know what’s actually happening in my friends lives and I no longer think facebook provides that. It’s an endless time vortex that could be far better spent in so many ways. Thank you for your wonderful words- hopefully they can help me stay away this time.

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