Why I Quit Facebook

Caucasian woman using cell phone in bed

Firstly, Facebook’s privacy policies are the very least of my concerns. I’m fairly transparent on the Web anyway and all a person has to do to discover all my skeletons is Google me. And this applies to all who choose to “go digital.” I have no qualms about posting my address or my phone number or my email. I don’t care if someone is tracking my every movement on the Internet (they’ll soon learn that there’s nothing overly exciting or blackmail worthy). I have blogs, Web Pages, personal domains, profiles, and a public LinkedIn Profile.
Why don’t I care? Because I understand leverage. I’m leveraging my privacy for the privilege of connecting by using some web service or application like Facebook,
So, if privacy is not it, what is?
Over the past year, I had become increasingly fixated on my digital life. My passion for writing, speaking, and networking makes digital platforms an important part of my life. But it got to the point where the need to know what everyone was up to and to comment with lengthy dissertations was becoming an addiction. They were becoming a constant interruption in my life. I was being distracted by the urgent and neglecting the priorities.
I recently heard an awesome talk on habits formed through Dopamine dependence by Lee Wong at City Church that nailed it for me. Our brain produces Dopamine that gives us a natural euphoria and sense if well being. Whenever we trigger a favorable stimulus to our senses, natural or artificial, the brain produces the Dopamine which takes us to a happy place. The problem is that overdoses desensitize us to the stimulus, resulting in a craving for larger quantities. Thus addiction, or dependency. Facebook is like digital dope and I was overdosing. Every time I checked my  status updates on Facebook, my brain was rewarding itself with Dopamine; when I wasn’t, and Dopamine levels dropped as a result, I deliberately went on a hunt for a spot to make a “like worthy” comment, (even if I was the only one wFB_Drugho liked it). Pretty soon more and more activity is needed to produce the same level of Dopamine! Digital Addiction!
So I quit. Cold turkey.I logged myself out of Facebook. I deleted the application from my phone. I cut myself off…again.
This relief from constant updates has been liberating to say the least. I have a fresh perspective on how entangled with digital ones life can become and how that entanglement can have physical impact on body and self.
Why just Facebook and not Twitter and linked in? Because the latter are generally anonymous followers or business network associates. Facebook on the other hand are friends and family whose comment or “like” matter! They either lift me up or bring me down…Just like dope!
The glaring truth that hits me out of this is that my dear one’s assessment of my being morbidly narcissistic is right on the money and is a glaring commentary on the state of our humanness in the Information Age! Outside of a very small group of friends and family, why do I want people to know what’s happening in my life? With my children’s lives? Because I want them to pay attention to me, to “like” me, that’s why.
Perhaps I’m the exception and Facebook doesn’t have the same effect on you. Some people do stick to good, productive, healthy association, but for the most part, it’s all the same—status post after status post about themselves and their kids. And I’d venture to guess that many are checking these status updates more often than they realize, a clear sign that you need to check, just like you might need another candy, cigarette, cup of coffee, or another drink.
I’m certainly not going to suggest that we all jump off Facebook and other social networks. What I would suggest is that we prioritize our life by setting some boundaries and guidelines to lessen the addictive hold that digital can have on us:
Here are some tips I found on line.
Keep yourself logged out. If you aren’t logged into the social network all the time then it becomes harder to check. It creates a natural barrier to staying connected all the time. Don’t even let your browser save your username and password. Force yourself to type it in every time.
Set yourself some times when you’ll check and interact with Facebook and then don’t check it otherwise. Boundaries are much easier to set when you aren’t always logged in.
Reduce network size. Part of the problem with “digital addiction” is the volume of updates. When your network gets particularly large, it’s easier to feed the addictive need of having to check all the time. Reduce the number of people and reduce the number of updates that you’re receiving.
Will I ever return to Facebook? Maybe. Once the dust settles and I’m finished with a “digital detox.” But for now? The little blue thumb is off limits!
Category: Just Sayin'
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2 Responses
  1. pheonixjwJen says:

    Why would you go back?

  2. Great question. Grandkids 😉

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