This posted is dedicated to a great friend of mine named Valerie. She worked hard to convince me that I was making the wrong decision by deleting my Facebook account, and I appreciate the time she took to do that.
Less than twenty-four hours ago, I deactivated my Facebook account. I did this to the confusion of some close friends, surrounded by a world dependent and hopelessly addicted to it.
I was given reason after reason why I should keep the account, why I should stop “being irrational” and come back to my senses. Here are some popular reasons:
- You won’t stay informed.
- You’ll lose contact with good friends.
- You’ll miss opportunities.
- You won’t be able to share content as easily.
- You won’t stick to it, anyway.
- We won’t be able to talk all the time.
- You’ll be bored.
- You’ll be criticized.
- Eventually, you’ll need it.
These are some of the responses I received, especially from one friend, whose undying effort I greatly appreciate. I understand these fears, and I have shared them. This isn’t the first time I said goodbye to Facebook. I deactivated my account a couple of years ago in an air of rebellion, and at a time when quitting Facebook seemed to be the popular thing to do.
Time passed, boredom ensued, and I felt disconnected. I wondered what people were doing, and missed the mindless scrolling of a meaningless newsfeed, overflowing with information that would better be shared and enjoyed face-to-face. I came back to Facebook, eager to rejoin the mainstream.
And then a couple of months ago, I decided to delete my Facebook account and replace it with a new one. This, I thought, would help eliminate the distractions of Facebook and allow me to start over, friending only those people whose lives I was truly interested in. This helped for awhile, until old habit set in and I began friending people regardless of how connected to them I wanted to remain.
Facebook inevitably devolved into a distraction during a time in my life when distractions are unacceptable, in a time when I can be accomplishing great things and becoming the man I’ve always wanted to be. I cannot expect everyone to understand my decision to leave one of many social networks behind, but I will provide my view anyway, in hope that I will persuade others of the sanity of my cause, of the logic behind leaving behind a murderer of focus.
:: My Rebuttal ::
Staying informed is overrated. Those who have known me for an extended period of time know that this is an odd statement for me to be making. I used to be highly informed, and am to this day a Time Magazine subscriber. That doesn’t mean that it’s necessary. I stay informed because it gives me a sense of compassion, it keeps me in perspective, and is fascinating to me. Seeing children scream and cry in the wake of chemical warfare in Syria is just one example of how staying informed allows me to appreciate the moment and have compassion for other human beings.
Reading up on global affairs from time to time does not justify the usage of Facebook, which rather informs me of what others around me are doing. Doesn’t this seem silly to anyone else? I have often posted in a Facebook group aimed at keeping residents of my dormitory in touch. We live right next to one another. Time to have some courage.
You’ll lose contact with good friends. The best of friendships will always survive. When two people want to remain in touch, they will, whatever the barrier. Any friendships that diminish as a result of my leaving Facebook were, in my honest opinion, fated to fade away.
You’ll miss opportunities. Truth be told, I don’t think I’ve ever noticed any worthwhile opportunities on Facebook. Even if I had, this wouldn’t deter me much. We live in a dynamic world with trillions of things happening at once. In our digital age, it is tempting to attempt to manage it all, to utilize our technology to remain ever connected in fear of missing the next big opportunity. In my experience, the real opportunities present themselves when we take a moment to slow down and look around.
I often contemplate the opportunities I’ve missed because of Facebook. I will not look back and wonder what I’m missing without it.
You won’t be able to share content as easily. A risk I’m willing to take. By being less connected, less perpetually distracted, the more time I will have to create great content. That, in my opinion, is of greater importance than being able to share it with a group of Facebook friends.
You won’t be able to stick to it. Try me.
We won’t be able to talk all the time. Yet another new mindset from the digital age. With the introduction of smartphones, laptops, and unlimited texting, it is easy to stay connected all the time. This is not always a good thing. I appreciate that I can talk to friends who live hours a way at the click of a button, and that I can stay in touch with my family, who I greatly miss, but nowhere does that imply the desire to communicate constantly.
Constant communication is, in most ways, negative. Many of my past relationships fell to pieces in large part because of a desire, either mutual or not, to be ubiquitous to one another. Tensions rose, trust diminished, and an otherwise great relationship became unbearable. I prefer to communicate infrequently, and make it count when I do.
You’ll be bored. I think the opposite. There are so many wonderful things I want to do, and it’s impossible for me to embark on all these journeys at once. It’ll take a lifetime:
- Learn more about music, to appreciate it more.
- Write an eBook on something I’m passionate about.
- Have workable programming skills.
- Read books.
- Write essays.
- Write a fiction novel.
- Travel the world, primarily South America.
- Write a screenplay.
- Write a series of short stories.
- Volunteer, domestically and internationally.
- Find the woman I love.
- Start and raise a family.
- Reduce my possessions.
- Become great at blogging, through practice, like this.
- Learn a language from Europe, South America, and Asia.
- Run a marathon.
- Run a ultra-marathon.
- Climb a mountain.
- Explore a cave.
- Go sailing.
- Explore ruins around the world.
- Live in a foreign country for at least a year.
- Get into the best shape of my life.
- Become vegan.
This is what I could come up with off the top of my head, and I’m sure there are more. I will not, for one moment, be bored.
You’ll be criticized. This used to inhibit me from doing a great many things (like going vegan) in the past. When I realized how much it was limiting me, I vowed to push back. I have, and it’s been wonderful.
You’ll need it. Facebook might be gone, but I have a wonderfully working smartphone that I can reached by. I also have Twitter, email, Tumblr and a slew of other distractions still active. I haven’t set up a tent in an obscure area of the world, and have not become a hermit. I simply see Facebook as a waste of time that I am too lacking in discipline to stay away from without deleting it altogether.
As David from 37signals once wrote,
"If you want it bad enough, you’ll make the time, regardless of your other obligations. Don’t let yourself off the hook with excuses. It’s too easy and, to be honest, nobody cares on the other side."
See that long list of hopes, dreams, and ambitions? I have a lot of work to do. The question is whether or not I want them enough. I think I’ve given you my answer.