I’ve had my Facebook account since 2006, that’s almost a nine-year commitment. That outlasts all of my romantic relationships, and many of my friendships.
Stereotypically, I’ve been contemplating what to resolve in the new year. Should I cut bangs and regret it for the next two months? Should I take the plunge and buy Rosetta Stone to finally learn Spanish? The answer became abundantly clear to me as I sat scrolling on my iPhone.
I was with my family and boyfriend on Christmas day, and instead of enjoying their company, I was looking at pictures of people who I didn’t give a shit about. Sure, that random classmate from high school looked like they were having a grand old time skiing in Switzerland (and their technique was impressive), but what difference did that make in my life?
Being a rational person, my first step was to purge. I cut back from 782 friends to 563. I thought that would satisfy me and keep my newsfeed more relevant. But wait — were there actually 563 people I cared about? The answer was still a resounding no.
If you would warmly embrace each and every person on your friends list, good for you, but you’re a rare breed. Facebook is no longer a place to connect with friends; it’s a platform for humble-bragging and misdirected political posts. Was I really benefiting from reading acquaintances write about their lunches or complain about their bosses? Was it productive to regularly note how fat my ex-boyfriend was getting? Was it healthy to dodge my great aunt’s friend request for the fifth time?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized I wasn’t connecting with old friends. I was looking at pictures of them and feeling like I was in the loop, when in reality, we hadn’t spoken for months. The people I am actually close with make the effort to call or text me, and vice versa, so we have direct communication. It became abundantly clear to me that my social networking wasn’t really social at all, and in fact, I was distancing myself from the world around me.
I took the next step and downloaded my Facebook information. I’m not a madwoman; time and effort went into crafting witty statuses and posting only the crème de la crème pictures. Did you know you could do that now? It’s great, but also fucking creepy. Suddenly I had a neat little file of all of my Facebook information. Messages I had sent to ex-lovers in 2007, even though I had deleted them from my account, videos I can only sort of remember posting with good friends back in college – everything.
Instead of being overjoyed that I had nine years of activity all in one place, I felt horrified. If a company could supply me with so much detail about the last nine years of my life, how much time had I really spent logged in?
I’ll admit it, I threw myself a momentary “coulda shoulda woulda” pity-party. I could have built a fucking sailboat with those nine years, I could be a master of chess, I could be running a lifestyle blog where I document my daily antics and outfits (possibly enhanced by having an adorable hedgehog sidekick).
But I didn’t have a handcrafted sailboat, chess title, or successful blog, all I had was a sad little file full of memories. The next step was final deletion, not temporary deactivation — full on deletion. Zuckerberg is an evil genius, let me tell you that much. They don’t make it easy to delete your account, I had to Google “permanent Facebook deletion” to find the page, then click through a series of links to actually erase my account, finally entering my password to verify my choice.
And still, a blurb from Zuck popped up, “You’ve chosen to permanently delete your Facebook account. You will no longer be able to retrieve photos or information on your account. If you choose to reverse this decision, you have 14 days to log back in.”
I re-read the Zuck’s words several times before X-ing out of the blue and white background. As corny as it sounds, I want to make 2015 the best year yet, and more importantly, be the best possible version of myself. The logical step seemed to be cutting out the biggest cause of wasted time. So as 2014 draws to a close, without hesitation I can say, “Goodbye Facebook, and good riddance.” Maybe you’re not ready to permanently delete your account, but consider cutting back. You’ll feel more present, or at the very least, be able to put more time and effort into making your Instagram pictures #flawless.