It’s been 8 years since I quit Facebook.
Because I asked myself:
“Why Do I Need Facebook Anyway?”
8 years ago
I had on my friends’ list almost every person I ever knew, met even once, exchanged a smile with or even stood next to in the ATM queue! I was a typical Facebook-ing twenty-something female scrolling down my Facebook feed in search of something I was totally clueless about. Uploading pictures from my personal life every day and waiting for likes and comments was routine for me!
It didn’t end there!
With the exhaustive friend’s list that I had, I was constantly bombarded with photos and videos from other people’s personal lives (which I actually had no use seeing, but still did!). On days that I felt sad or depressed about my life, a happy moment in pictures shared on somebody else’s profile made things even worse!
Women my age looked prettier on Facebook than they actually were in real life and I compared my humble self with them while looking at myself in the honest mirror! And all of this happened, sometimes at 11 in the night, with me clad in pajamas and my hair tied up in a bun and sometimes at 7 in the morning with unruly hair and thoughts about myself, my life and my looks!
Apart from this, I found myself on the phone right from – while waiting for the cab to waiting for the milk to get boiled; from attending nature’s calls (which would spill over to 30mins instead of five!) to passively watching the idiot box sprawled on my couch in the hall room, or even just before going to bed and soon after getting up! In short – I used to be on the phone Facebook-ing – all the time!
He gave me some much-needed gyan about how social media is slaying real life, real relationships and how we tend to build strong virtual relationships with people who are seven seas away from where we are but forget to say hello to or even ‘notice’ someone sitting right next to us!
My counterargument remained to be the fact that I would lose touch with many if I quit Facebook, primarily because I didn’t have their email ids or phone numbers.
He told me without pulling any punches that “those who really want to stay in touch with you neither are nor will be at the mercy of Facebook!”
My mind gave supportive evidence by making me remember how I took all the pains in the world to find the contact details of a childhood school friend only to invite her to my wedding and how I ‘didn’t’ include a few others on the guestlist despite having all their contact details.
This clearly proved to me that neither people required Facebook to be in touch with me nor did I to be in touch with them!
So, I took in a positive stride the satya vachan of my husband; put a firm foot down and resolved to quit Facebook!
Bam! Only after trying to quit I realized that
‘you might quit Facebook but Facebook never quits you!’
The Facebook guys don’t allow you to entirely delete your account from Facebook. You just log out of it and that’s it! If someday, you get up in the morning, feel crappy, and wish to get onto the fast-moving train of social media then Facebook is right there with arms wide open, welcoming you to step into the bog of virtual relationships and time-killing ideas. Also, it never lets you leave after you’ve made a comeback because by then you have divorced your strong willpower and your devil self gets the better of you!
But, fortunately, and thankfully by the grace of my husband’s support and my ‘strong’ willpower, I quit (read: logged out of) Facebook to never log in ever again.
Life changed for good. I had more time to myself. I met friends more often. I clicked pictures to preserve memories and not to upload them for everyone to see. I came to know about developments in close one’s lives directly from them and not via their Facebook profiles. Life felt good, peaceful and real.
3 years after quitting Facebook
I was a new Mom and a newbie to the world of blogging. I recognized that to make my voice reach others who would really like to listen and read, I needed to have a Facebook page to promote my posts. Nothing comes for free! Nor did the Facebook page! For, it could be created only if I had a Facebook profile.
So, there I was! I could see Facebook – right in front of me – arms wide open – on its knees – pleading me to make a comeback!
And, I did!
But! I was smart enough to not let the hard work of the past 3 years go down the drain. I created a new public profile (and moved on to creating a Facebook page), with hardly any personal details about my life on it. I used it only to help Being Mumma reach out! In a nutshell, according to me, I’m using Facebook for all the right reasons – reaching out to people without bombarding my personal life onto them and without letting theirs bombard onto me!
As far as my Facebook life is concerned, I started receiving friends’ requests soon after I was back. That’s another thing that the requests are now pending for ages and are piling on day after day. On my current friend’s list, I have a few very close people whom I’m in close contact with even in my real life.
By penning down my thoughts on the need for Facebook, I don’t wish to strike a debate on patent subjects like ‘Facebook: Curse or Boon?’ or ‘Is Facebook Good For Society?’. Nor do I wish to encourage people to quit Facebook. I have no hard feelings for Mark Zuckerberg either! In fact, I was one of the first ones to watch the movie ‘Facebook‘! Ha. Ha. So, all in all, I totally respect, appreciate, admire, [any-other-positive-and-suitable-adjective] him and I’m not against him in any way.
What I was against was my ‘old self’. I hated my old self that kept on walking on the Facebook treadmill. I sweat out all my mental space and peace of mind owing to my mental workout. This mental workout took me nowhere – neither in reality nor in virtuality. I let Facebook affect my real life and that’s precisely where I went wrong.
Fact: There’s nothing wrong with Facebook. You just have to know where to stop; where to not let it affect your reality.
I’m not a victim of the ‘how-many-people-liked-my-DP’ syndrome. I don’t judge others based on the international vacations they take or the posh restaurants they dine in.
As a mother, I don’t waste time looking at irrelevant pictures when I should be looking after my children. I believe that it’s best to let your children distract you while you’re Facebook-ing than to let Facebook distract you while you are mothering!
If you too are a social media addict like I was, and wish to do something about your addiction, then do pay some heed to my experience and happy-realization shared above and all other things will fall in place!
Also, I’m gonna use Facebook to spread this post. And I know that you too will use Facebook to spread the love for this post! After all, that’s when it’ll be called Facebook-ing for the right reasons!