The day after the Parkland shooting….I had finally had it.
My abusive relationship with Facebook had to end.
The process to archive was simple enough, but the download took about an hour and a half. The whole time, I scrolled through FB, wondering how many friends would notice. How many people would I lose touch with completely? That hour felt like I was preparing mentally for myself to go to a funeral. A funeral for all of my friends en masse.
After archiving and backing up my account, there were five different attempts to try and stop me from deactivating. Suggesting that I could unfollow people or change notification settings. It felt like a.bad breakup where one partner didn’t want to let go. That isn’t an accident. I felt bad. I felt like forgetting the whole thing and going right back.
Then I remembered the day I had. The arguments about basic and fundamental rights, the arguments for children vs. guns. The articles about the shooting and gun statistics, and links to videos of shooting. I remember that I spent the entire day crying; at my desk in my car, in my kitchen.
And I couldn’t stop scrolling. I couldn’t stop arguing. I didn’t stop fighting all day. And it was not only exhausting I felt like it was making me lose my mind. I felt like I had done nothing all day but fatigue myself physically and mentally and emotionally. I felt like there was house sitting on my chest. I felt shaky and just couldn’t stop crying.
And so after multiple screens saying that yes I wanted to deactivate my account, I finally did it.
Day 1 without Facebook: 2/16/18
I immediately woke up at my alarm, and tried to scroll through my feed. I then remembered that I had deleted the app from my phone as well. It has become such a force of habit in my life that my body didn’t know what it was like to wake up and not immediately start scrolling through my feed.
Sitting on the bus to work and listening to music I looked around and saw the majority of the people sitting near me on the bus we’re also scrolling through their feeds and checking Facebook. I didn’t want to judge them, but it made me feel sad that even just a few hours before, I too had my head down in my phone and missed most of the world around me.
I caught myself going through things that I wanted to post throughout the day. It sort of made me a little sad to not share with my friends on Facebook.
I feel sort of lonely.
A few friends noticed my account was no longer viewable, and assumed that I had unfriended and blocked them. I felt angry and frustrated trying to explain why I decided to dactivate my account. It made me feel like a junkie trying to defend why they wanted to get clean.
I was grateful that I still had access to Messenger.
I realized that though writing this blog entry might help, I now have one less place to publicize it.
I started to realize how many activities and social networks I had built in to my Facebook community. I’m starting to realize that most of the people that I consider to be friends probably don’t have my phone number and likely don’t have my email address.
I’m starting to understand as well, that most of the events planned through Social Circles are done so through Facebook. I have no idea what time or location I’m supposed to go to for an event tonight.
Driving home after work, I reach for my phone to announce that one of the main highways was really congested during rush hour, a type of thing that I always post to Facebook to help out some local friends.
While on elevators at work or walking on break, I kept picking up my phone and swiping to the place where the Facebook app used to be.
I am a junkie.
What is your experience with social media? Am I alone in this? Does anyone else have a social media habit they would like to kick?