My thoughts and emotional behavior look different.
About a month ago, after having the crap scared out of me watching The Social Dilemma, I deactivate my Facebook account. I didn’t delete it because I’m too lazy to download all of my pictures right now. That sounds exhausting.
I thought I would make it about three days before Facebook called me back and dragged me back in. Perhaps it’s the tail end of an election year or, you know, having better things to do, but there has been no desire to reactivate. At all.
There was no withdrawal. Just much more opportunity for positivity. Peace and quiet. It didn’t take me long to see changes in my attitude and behavior. The changes in my life were quick and unexpected.
My screen time has changed in strange ways.
My screen time has decreased by only 34%. I hover at about two and a half hours a day on my phone. I was at about four hours, which is pretty average.
The difference is the composition of the time I’m spending. The amount of time I spend texting has increased as I now connect with people actively instead of passively.
What hasn’t changed is my obsessive need to Google weird things like the name of the actor from Greatest American Hero. Now, though, I don’t get ads for box sets of retro TV shows being thrown at me from all sides.
I am a far nicer person.
Especially now, with people at each other’s throats all the time, I had a low-level anger that just hung about me like a fog. And it was thick.
I’m a sensitive thing. I get triggered easily. I feel like I am just the type of person that Facebook’s algorithms can manipulate.
Following this week’s debate, I was thrilled that I had no external influence adding to how I felt about the disaster. I dealt with my own thoughts and no one else’s. Their commentary was unheard by me.
I’m more patient with other people.
I was starting to harbor some contempt for people I love. My friend Paul likes to rile people up on social media for the sake of it. When he says something horribly off-color in real life, it’s hilarious. When I see it on my feed, it bothers me.
I realized that part of deleting Facebook was that I love my friend Paul and that if I want to keep loving Paul, I can’t see him on Facebook. I can now look forward to seeing my friends without being in a state of annoyance about their drama, constant meme posting, cries for validation, or political posts I don’t agree with. These things just don’t come out in face to face experiences.
I do not fear I am missing out, at all.
To the contrary, I hear of drama playing out publicly in people’s lives and have no idea what is going on. Their business is no longer my business and my business is not longer their business. It’s glorious.
If there is anything happening without me, I have no idea and I like it that way. I am sure that there may be invitations I have missed out on because contact is easy on Facebook, but I don’t feel like there is a hole in my life.
I am slightly out of touch with minor (any maybe major) news stories.
But, I really don’t care. Look, at this point in my life, I know how I feel about important issues. I know which lawmakers support my stance on those issues. I know how to vote and when my ballot is due. The rest is inconsequential.
I find out about huge events like the passing of a Supreme Court justice or the president getting COVID-19 by word of mouth. If I want to know more, that is my decision, not an algorithm.
I am no longer dependent on Facebook, but slightly inconvenienced.
I couldn’t log in to my Spotify account. I had to connect it to an email. All of my playlists now show they are created by 12856329573.
The number of websites and apps that encourage our dependency on Facebook as an easy means of logging in without having to create an account is staggering. Keep in mind, this interface is one more way for Facebook to collect data on you.
All in all, it’s been a remarkably positive experience. For the longest time, I told myself I just wasn’t ready to pull the plug. I was. I hear this from a lot of people. You are ready.
This is not one of those events in your life where a strange voice comes on while you’re deactivating your account that warns you of a bunch of possible negative side effects. Those don’t exist. Reclaim your time.