Facebook: A Year Later

Back in the summer of 2011 I came to terms with Facebook and the role it had in my life. After one too many ‘ugly’ exchanges with individuals who thought they deserved to be my ‘friends’ because Facebook had labelled them so I realized that there had to be a better way to interact with people. A few months later in, December of 2011, I said goodbye to Facebook. You can read my post discussing my reasons why I chose to leave the service here.

It was almost a year ago to the date that I made the conscious decision to leave Facebook ‘for good’ and looking back on it I now realize it was one of the best decisions of my life. To some this may seem melodramatic, given what ones’ life entails, but in all honesty it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. While in the past year I’ve re-joined Facebook (for business reasons and not personal use) I’ve never felt better about the decision.

Over the past year I’ve found that while there has been a few times when being on Facebook would have been a positive experience and would have made connecting with specific individuals and events a little easier, the lack of bother, interruptions and annoyance that has come with not having a Facebook account has been of far greater value to me than the alternative.

There are individuals who no longer talk to me because I am no longer on Facebook but looking back they were simply ‘trophy friends’ at the very most.

The people who would only ever contact me via Facebook that I considered to be true friends have still managed to stay in contact, via email, txt message, phone calls and in person. This is all I could have ever asked from true friends. These types of connections and relationships are what I cherish most and they make giving up Facebook worth it. Ten fold.

Now with each passing month I think less and less about Facebook and I talk to others who are doing the same. Many people who I speak to that are still using the service are fed up with the distractions, constant notifications, changes to the service (and its terms of use and/or privacy policy) and general ‘annoyances’ that they feel the service now provides 1 These people are looking for a way to ‘turn off the noise’ or in some cases go to the so-called ‘extreme’ like I did and drop the service cold turkey.

While I’m not saying I made the right choice and everyone should do the same, I know that I made the best choice for myself based on my overall needs. To some, this decision to leave Facebook, and more recently Twitter, might seem like a band-aid fix but I’d argue just the opposite. Finding a way to dilute the noise or hiding it away on a temporary basis while still having it exist the background to cause distraction and create noise; these are band-aid solutions.

I’m about to start my second year away from Facebook I’m looking forward to what it might bring. The benefits of my choice have been far greater than the consequences thus far and I have no doubt that the coming year will continue on in much the same way.

  1. as if these ‘annoyances’ didn’t exist before.