About a month ago I quietly deleted the Facebook app from my phone when I felt myself getting annoyed over something or other someone posted. For a few months prior I had already been trying my best to diminish the use of the network with varying degrees of success. That day I simply did it, and in all honesty, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made.
To clarify, I haven’t deleted my account, nor am I likely to do so for the time being, nor have I deleted the app from my tablet, although I use that quite infrequently these days. I still access the network from home a couple times a week to check on notifications, although I’m running a Chrome script called Feed Eradicator that replaces my timeline with inspirational quotes, so I don’t see what people are posting unless I visit one of my Friends lists or profile. Yes, that’s a lot of caveats to saying that I’m “without Facebook,” but I’ve found that none of these really make a difference. My main consumption of Facebook was through my phone’s app, and once that went away, everything changed for the better.
Listen, Facebook is a tool, and there are some ways to use this tool for really cool things. For me, it is a tool to keep in touch with some family members in Puerto Rico and with some friends, to share what’s going on in our lives with each other. It can also be a tool for self-promotion, and for connecting with people who have related interests. I’m even exploring how it can be a tool for Godly pursuits. But people who only use it for these purposes are very few, which leaves me wading through hundreds and hundreds of posts ranging from what people had for lunch to vehement (or downright offensive) posts pro/con the political fuck-up du jour. It was too much and it wasn’t adding anything to my life.
It’s been a process, just like getting rid of any addiction. I was used to popping my phone out of my pocket at the slightest lull in my day and scrolling through the feed for no real reason. If I’d been smoking with the same regularity, I would’ve been a two- to three-packs-a-day person. The first week was rough, as I would instinctively reach into my pocket but have nothing to fiddle with (although I do use Google+ and Twitter, it was never with the same regularity, so my feeds there do not update nearly as constant as it was on Facebook). By now, however, I’m good. I can go days without checking the network at all, and when I do check it, I rarely spend more than ten minutes on it.
The kicker? Most people haven’t even noticed that I’m not visiting regularly. I still send automated posts from this blog or my Instagram over to Facebook, so it looks like I’m posting, but only 1% of posts are made from within the app. I still reply to comments on my posts, if with some delay, and that’s all that matters. As a result, I have less stress and more time for other pursuits.
Should you reduce your time or maybe outright delete your Facebook? That’s up to you to decide. I’m sharing my experience in drastically reducing its use, and how it has worked for the better for me. It may, just may, work out for the better for you as well.