let’s all quit Facebook right now

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/interview-jaron-laniers-10-reasons-why-you-should-delete-your-social-media-accounts-right-now-6qwzpg2px

 

 

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Now it’s been so long without Facebook

Now that over a year has elapsed since I deleted my Facebook, it’s time to evaluate whether my life has IMPROVED MONSTROUSLY.

The answer is: yes

I remember taking a trip to Italy in 2013, and spending a lot of time sharing my pics to Facebook, Twitter, and probably Instagram.  I remember walking past the internet spot at the hotel and seeing people on Facebook. I remember checking my phone a lot, wondering if so and so was viewing my TOTALLY AMAAAZING photos.

I remember using a meditation app on my phone to help me sleep. The irony of the situation is…if I never had a smart phone, I doubt i’d have needed the freaking meditation app to help unwind my brain. But that is a story for another time. See: Chapter on my nervous breakdown! coming May 20-never.

I remember the gnawing feeling that I didn’t use any of this social media stuff in a healthy way, and maybe I should just stop using it. The judgmental comments from others kept me on the apps. It has always been hard for me to not care what people think of me. The weird thing is, I have never felt that I fit in, so why did I even need the validation from others? It is certainly QUITE A PARADOX.

Well, eventually, I said, fuck it. I’m deleting this shitty account.

so, it’s been over a year, and I haven’t created a new Facebook. The temptation has been there, but it’s fleeting. I recently discovered that my high school class is going to have a 15 year reunion. I had no idea, because I don’t use Facebook, but I found out through someone else. So, I still found out. I wish  I hadn’t- The horror of realizing that 15 years, YEARS, has elapsed since high school ended has been quite the shock to my old bones.

Anyway, since it’s been a year without FB, and my addiction is gone, I’m in a good place to tell you what I think I’m missing out on, and what I think I am gaining, by not having a Facebook presence.

Cons: I do not get invited to high school reunions (or perhaps you would place this under the pro column?!)

I am no longer reminded of the birthday of my 5th grade gym teacher. Surely, she is quite distraught that she did not receive my ‘happy Bday’ Facebook text on her wall.

I am no longer tracked by russian bots, techbros, various stalkers (Or perhaps I have an inflated ego to think I might have an estalker or two?) or mark zuckerberg’s digital assistant, whose name is Janice, and she knows EVERYTHING about you!

ummm.

PROS: I regained my ability to go a day without thinking,’ what witty thing can I write on my facebook today?!’ Oh, I am so funny! I need more likes! NO ONE liked my post yet. Delete it, delete it, quick!

I am now a millionaire living in an amazing house with my own farm, 100% organic cotton bedsheets, and an undying sense of self-worth that can NEVER be broken, EVER

Sooooooo. Yeah. Life is pretty much perfect now. Maybe you should delete your facebook, too!

note: Some things in this story may or may not have been slightly fabricated.

 

The worst version of myself

The self isn’t static, and I keep changing.

Today, while brushing my teeth, I thought, ‘In which time period was I the most annoying?’

I didn’t really phrase the question that way. It would sort of make no sense- too open ended. (was I most annoying in the time period known as the European enlightenment? Or perhaps during the cold war era in USA? Uhhh..Well, I was nonexistent during both time periods, ya know?! Unless, the mere fact that I did not yet exist was a clear annoyance on the world. That’s quite an ego-centric thought! Good thing I didn’t have such a thought! ahem. Wow, did I really need to put all of this in parentheses? YES)

I believe that my most annoying time period was 2012-2015. I call this The Keyboard Warrior Years. During this time period, my social media addiction was at an all time high. You just need to scroll through my Facebook data archive to the section ‘account activity.’ It shows a timeline of every time I deactivated my account. Starting around 2012, I started deleting my account on a near monthly basis- I was (unsuccessfully) trying to escape the grip of my addiction. ALAS.

Okay, big deal, I was a Facebook scrollin’ lunatic. Why do I say that I was most annoying during this time period?

I loved to get into political discussions on public internet forums. AKA Facebook. Ya know, the place where your mom reads everything you post, thanks to the scrolling news ticker. Or whatever the hell it’s called. I haven’t used Facebook in 2 years, but I’m assuming the website/app/mind control device still has the side bar that lets you know whenever someone ‘likes’ some nonsensical, unoriginal meme.

I loved to ‘debate’ people over the latest news stories. I knew my FB followers were reading my nonsense, because occasionally some of them would ‘like’ my comments. This fueled my addiction. In order to receive more ‘likes’ for my oh-so-astute political ramblings, I needed to check facebook more often. I needed to ‘debate’ more often. I NEEDED MY VALIDATION.

My tired eyeballs, heavy from hours of staring at a bright screen in my hand (or lap, if I was bein’ totes old school and surfing social media on a laptop) would scan my news feed for any hot news stories. I’d share the story on my FB page with my riveting, surely mind-blowingly erudite opinion, and then wait for someone to debate me. I knew the usual suspects, so I’d await their comments, and we’d begin a lil debate.

Other times, I’d respond to public stories, such as stories posted from actual newspapers. As you know, no one reads news articles online. They just read the headline (which is usually click baity, because newspapers need to make money in the digital age) and then spew their ill-informed opinion on the internet, for all to see.

Was that me? Was I a spewer of ill-informed opinions? Sure! But not always.

It didn’t matter. I could churn out the most informed rambling that Facebook has ever laid bloodshot, tired smart-phone addicted eyes upon, and it just doesnt matter. Fighting with people on the internet is horrible, mind numbing, anxiety inducing, and bringing society down a notch. We need to step away from our screens and remember….that dude that said ‘good morning’ to you at dunkin donuts might be some Trump meme sharing lunatic on Facebook.

So, anyway. 2015 was around the time I quit the keyboard warrior game. Things are better now, in regard to my internet life. I’m not quite sure what to call this time period…

 

2015-??? When I Quit Social Media (except Youtube and I guess WordPress? Oh and sometimes I get sucked into bostonglobe’s comments sections. Isn’t that social media? UGH! I wonder what Trump is up to on Twitter? Oh, that crazy man!)

Transitory

Everything suddenly changes. Sometimes I forget that. Sometimes it feels like nothing is ever changing,and I think, NOTHING CHANGES! Then, something will happen. Suddenly. ABRUPTLY.

Half of my department at work has quit, or decided to retire, within a 2 month timespan.

My niece almost choked on a mint the other day. An hour earlier, my sister was talking about how her kids never choked on food. Then, her kid chokes on food.

Things happen, but it still feels hard for my brain to grasp that things will change. My brain seems to think, business as usual! I just read an article about a man who got diagnosed with cancer, and then died a day later. It’s not common for that to happen…but it happens. And anything can happen ‘just like that’ so why don’t I REALIZE it, and live sooooo fully?

I guess I can blame my evolutionary wiring. What good would it be if I ‘lived to the fullest’ as a 33 year old cavewoman who needed to help make sure the damn tribe gets fed everyday? Sorry, tribespeeps, I’m done with this hunting and gathering shit. I’m off to travel Europe and find myself! Hit me up on Facebook if ya wanna keep in touch!

Well, anyway. Life changes. But sometimes, you gotta make the ‘change’…And that’s been my mission the past year or so. I’ve forced myself to stop viewing myself as shy, even if I am ‘shy’ it barely fucking matters. I cant use that as a crutch. Shy people can do anything outgoing ppl do, they just feel..SHY…when they do it! And not forever. I was shy when I first joined my garden club at work..Hell, I felt so socially awkward. But eventually, the feelings went away. And I love the garden club. It’s been great, and changed my life. But I had to ‘change’ in order to get myself to even go.

I’ve also struggled to quit other things, but it gets easier. But sometimes I ‘relapse’ like, I really wanted to go on Facebook today and look up people from my distant past. It’s not like I am some all-wise, totes perfect humanoid. Shit can be tough. But I won’t beat myself up for a relapse. Just can’t make it part of my identity. I’m not someone who sits on Facebook all day and hurts my brain. I’m someone who maybe struggles with that, but it isn’t ME….Wow, CBT much?! Well, it’s true. I don’t really believe in a fixed personal identity anymore. We have fixed traits, I think, but all of our life experiences morph our brains so much, it is sort of nuts to think I’m 100% the same as ..even last year. Because last week, one of my coworkers didnt quit. Now she has. And it set off a bit of a ‘change’ at work, and for me, so now I am ‘changed’

Anyway, it’s Sunday, so I am feelin’ pensive, and wanted to write.

Oh, and my niece? She’s fine. my sister did the heimlich on her. Then I took a CPR course with my sister the next day. I’m certified in CPR for no real reason at all. It’s really great.

I had written

I had written something down at work today. I thought, oh! I can write about THIS…Let me write it down, so I’ll remember, and blog tonight!!

 

I forgot what I wrote down.

I am reading a book, well, I just finished it. I’ve read so many freaking books this year. As you know, I deleted my Facebook. It changed my life. but it took a long time for me to get over my addiction, and when you delete something that is so ‘ingrained’ in the culture, it can be a bit of a pain in the ass to explain to people. But my life hasn’t really changed…I just don’t really find out when some rando from high school had a baby until I hear it through the grapevine like the old days LOL. Anyway, I barely mention my no-facebookness IRL, I just discuss it in my blog with my WordPress pals. We’re pals, right? Good.

I dont discuss it because it’s just part of me and I dont feel like I need to go around and discuss it. I dont really discuss my lack of belief in God, unless someone asks. So I won’t discuss my no facebook life unless…well, no one asks LOL. A coworker asked once, I said, nah, I don’t use it….and that was it.

I wonder sometimes if I will ever go back on there. I am sort of hoping I don’t. If it never made me happy, I was addicted, and all my personal data gets mined so rich silicon valley dudes can get richer, what is the point of returning? Maybe in a few more years, if they fix their ‘kinks’…..or maybe never again. It doesn’t matter. I am not ready to go back. I’ve read so many books this year because my anxiety levels are down, and I know a lot of that is due to ditching FB.

Now, what the HELL was I going to write about today? It was a fun..OH! I remember! But do my dear readers want to stroll down memory lane with me?! Sit back, and let me take you to the year 2003. I had just graduated high school, and it was time for my first day of college. I went to a community college….4 miles from my house. Did I ever tell you that I didn’t drive on the highway until I was 19? So, just trying to paint a nice mental image of myself for ya…anyway..

The first day of college included a BBQ in the parking lot. I was horrified. I walked out to my car to leave for the day and sit online for hours, (cherished hobby back then) and saw my car BLOCKED by a TABLE! with HOT DOGS on it!! and…people! everywhere! Not ON the table, but NEAR it! Instead of thinking, hey, I could chat and make some friends! I thought…fuck! I still gotta leave. How!

I got in my car and inched slowly backwards. People watched. I got nervous. I ended up lightly hitting the table, some dudes said ‘ohhh!’ and I drove away. As I drove away, I was so frazzled and embarrassed by my experience of lightly hitting a table of hot dogs that I ran a ‘do not turn on red’ light and got pulled over.

The cop was mad. Like, MAD

DID YOU READ THE SIGN?

no answer

YOU CANT TURN ON RED. DID YOU READ IT?

no answer.

DONT DO IT AGAIN.

No answer. drives away, with thoughts of cops, hot dogs, and do not turn red signs in my head.

Why did I think about this today? I was thinking about how my social awkwardness got in the way of life. And I think I am a lot better now, but damn! Oh, and I also thought about that story because that college is in big trouble. I guess their nursing program is being shut down….It’s the butterfly effect. IF I had had just STAYED at that BBQ and ate a hot dog, that nursing program would be the best in massachusetts.

A millenial without a facebook. can i live?

I deleted my Facebook account in September 2017. I mean, DELETED. It’s gone! Well, sort of. I can’t access it, but i’m sure overlord  Zuckerberg can crack it open. And I’m sure he does. my fake internet life was fascinating. I had a few fake marriages, a few fake children, a boatload  of selfies around age 26, then I morphed into Political & Angry, like everyone else, then I deleted myself.

I think social media is toxic. The cons outweigh the pros. so, I took all the social media apps off my phone. that helped cut back on the toxicity, but I still find myself checking Instagram smetimes, or Facebook, if someone sends me a link to something. I read Twitter, too, but why? None of these fucking websites make me feel good. Why do I keep looking at them?

For A LONG TIME, I was embarrassed to delete my Facebook, because people were judgmental about it, and I care what people think about me, probably too much. I’ve loosened up with old age (i’m 32 1/2!!) and eventually you realize, these people do not have your best interest in mind, anyway. If they did, they’d set aside their own biases, opinions, and thoughts, and say, ‘do what’s best for yourself, i support you!’ but that isn’t likely to happen, so just do YOU. do you, girlfriend! Now I sound like a really bad motivational poster in some woman’s cubicle.

(I can say that, because I am a woman)

anyway. I got to do me. and I want to go a step further this year. Deleting my accounts wasn’t easy, and I have DREAMS that I reactivate my Facebook..WHAT. that is how lodged the ol Facebook is in my cerebellum. Or my amygdala. Or something up in my brain.

So, this year, I’m done. I’m DONE!

No Twitter, No Facebook, No Instagram. AT ALL.

What are the rules, me?

RULES:

  1. No social media apps on your phone (already done)
  2. No typing in facebook.com or instagram.com in your duckduckgo search bar (i love duckduckgo.com)
  3. even if someone sends a link to instagram or FB, be honest, say that you dont use those websites. plus it’s usually just  a meme anyway. i doubt they’re linking me to some urgent legal matter that  i must address by 12 PM. If they had to send me an urgent legal matter, surely they’d TEXT me like a normal person (ugh)
  4. If the urge strikes to go on social media, pull up a knitting video, spanish video, or listen to music.
  5. if some dumbass tweet is embedded in a news story, dont click on it (what happened to journalism?)
  6. if you ‘relapse’ it’s okay, but get back on the wagon asap.

 

I shall document my progress. It will likely be interesting to no one, except myself. And you! Right? Thanks, you’re the sweetest. I appreciate it.

 

Okay, here it goes. Day…1. (Yea i know it’s january 6th……just pretend it’s january 1st.)

-julie

elderly millenial.

ps

to remind myself of my darkest days, i attached a selfie from 2012. this was my Selfie Era, and I was incredibly addicted to facebook.

I will blog more about why i am so against social media, as i go. and i will never tell anyone to stop using it, it is your life and you do YOU, as Oprah says. (I think she said that..) But much evidence is emerging that social media is toxic, and i think that is something we all need to be informed about…

(That was a LONG PS)

-julie (again)selfie