Free at last, breaking the habit a liberating experience
I QUIT Facebook in December after realising I was checking it 30 times a day. Three months later, I have never looked back. Here’s why.
1. Privacy: Facebook tracks your every move and, shock horror, uses your data. The Cambridge Analytica scandal looks terrible, but how many other ways have your likes, dislikes and behaviours been bounced around the internet to be eagerly received by companies and agencies?
I’ve always been careful with Facebook. I never used my photo on my profile and left out as many personal details as allowed. No birthday, phone number, or interests. I even pretended to be living in New York (am I over here Zuckerberg, or am I really ... over here?).
2. Computer says no: When I deactivated my account, I had to explain why and endure Facebook’s alternative suggestions before they let me go. Not long after, I noticed my profile was active again. Turns out I had checked Facebook from a hotel in 2014 and then closed the web page rather than log out properly. That meant my account must be revived so I could log back in and make sure I wanted to quit, before repeating the whole process.
3. Friends: Initially it was great to connect to people from my past, but you soon realise the friends in your immediate life are there for a reason. People you had nothing in common with at school are now people you have nothing in common with on social media.
4. Echo chamber: Facebook can connect the world, but its algorithms really connect us with only those who think the same way. We receive content and page suggestions aligned with our values and interests. We are in echo chambers where everyone agrees with each other and believes their opinions to be common sense.
5. Antisocial media: “Look at me, I’m eating a nice breakfast. I lost weight. See my feet on this deckchair? That’s because I’m on holiday. Now I’m sad, why do I trust people? Does anyone care? I’m starting a business, can you share my page and buy my products?” Facebook is no longer about connecting, but competing with others and begging for attention.
6. The language: Everything is “Lit” or “Woke” these days, unless they are more “Lit” or “Woke” than first thought, at which point “AF” (As F..k) is added to the end. So being “Woke AF” means being very enlightened ... Something I doubt describes many who use that term.
7. No one misses you: When I quit, my wife thought she’d have to handle my social life because Facebook is where you get invited to fun parties ... Let’s just say she hasn’t been too busy. My concern people would miss the important things I had to say proved delusional. No one noticed until one friend tried to tag me to make fun of me and realised they couldn’t. In three months no one has missed me, but that’s OK, because since I quit, I feel Woke AZ (As Zuck).
Facebook is no longer about connecting, but competing with others and begging for attention.