When our son was 13, he asked permission to create an account on Facebook. At the time I knew nothing about social media, so I opened an account to investigate. I’d been using it ever since, so for about fifteen years, and the time I spent gradually increased.
About a year ago, my husband and I decided to delete our accounts. We had become so dependent – it was like a newspaper, telephone, photo album all in one. What would we do? How would we communicate and stay in touch? After being somewhat addicted for many years, I have to admit that I wondered if there was life after Facebook.
That word, “addiction,” sent up a red flag. Any time something reaches that level, it’s possible for it to become an idol. By deleting, rather than just trying to cut back, I also deleted the hold that it had over me.
I can only speak for myself, but I wouldn’t think I’d be the only one who subconsciously sums people up by their posts. Especially in the case of “friends,” who were more like acquaintances or friends-of-friends, I’d only see an occasional post of theirs that got a lot of attention, usually because it was controversial. In those cases, it’s hard not to imagine the rest of their personality and beliefs based on a few posts. It might have been a hard day when their emotions were frazzled and they were lashing out. Maybe, they later learned new information that made them change their mind, but how would I ever know that? We’re all always growing and changing, hopefully for the better.
I’ve found it easier to love my neighbor without the division and combustible nature of social media. It’s no secret that people post things that they would never say face-to-face. It was too easy to get drawn into debates and disagreements.
I’m sure the label thing works both ways. Now people will have to get to know me personally.
Safety and Privacy
I appreciated being able to keep in touch with distant relatives and friends. I enjoyed sharing pictures of my flowers, our beautiful countryside, and snippets of our lives. Over the years, however, popular social media platforms have become increasingly intrusive and we became concerned about the full extent of their reach and power. That was the primary reason that we decided to delete our accounts.
They (anybody, really) can know all of our family, friends, and contacts. I’m reading of more raids by law enforcement because of social media posts. And that’s not all! Banks have refused to do business with individuals and groups, and even frozen assets, based on social media content. Social media can also be used to target people for persecution.
If you pull up the Facebook app in the App Store and scroll down (not coincidental, I’m sure) you’ll see where they disclose the data that’s used to track you, and that’s collected and linked to you. (And sold?)
I think by now, most people have noticed that this app listens to you. You could have a conversation with someone about something, and next thing you know, ads for that thing are popping up in your feed. Weird!
I know this isn’t only with this app, there are many others, and in the “smart” appliances that are making their way into our homes. Our privacy is being eroded and someday we may not have any control left.
Once called “conspiracy theory,” it has now been verified that the government was pressuring social media to censor users and posts. They would only allow one side of stories to be presented in order to control public opinion. Do you know what a half-truth is? A lie. Remember who the Father of Lies is? Yup! During a time when we were all needing information to make some important decisions, they prevented us from getting it. That’s a power that I don’t want to give them.
During the isolation of the pandemic, Facebook was a two-edged sword. It was nice to have that connection to people, but it was superficial and all I had at times. I was ready to get back to more authentic relationships. No, they wouldn’t know what we had for dinner, or see my flower of the day. If they were interested in what was going on with me, they’d have to communicate with me directly.
Along with FB went Messenger and Instagram. I had relied on Messenger heavily to keep in touch with friends and family. With that gone, I switched to email and text, and rediscovered snail mail. Who doesn’t like to get a nice card or letter in the mail?! I’ve gotten so used to typing, that my penmanship has suffered, but I’m making more of an effort to send out meaningful cards and letters.
Scott and I would call people and jokingly ask them what they had for dinner. But seriously, we began reaching out to people in other, more old-fashioned, ways to keep in touch. The funny thing about that “friend” list on social media, is how few of them are true friends. It’s more like a Peeping Tom or fly-on-the-wall list – people who are just curious about your lifestyle and family.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how little I’ve missed Facebook. Actually, my life has been more peaceful. My nose doesn’t get rubbed in foul language and perversion. I wasn’t tempted to get involved with disputes or share my opinion where it wasn’t wanted. The temptation to buy wasn’t constantly in my feed.
Privacy concerns were the primary reason for leaving, but I found some unanticipated benefits. My husband and I spent more time on the porch in the evenings, watching birds visiting our feeders as the sun set. We tried to have meaningful discussions over the cacophony of frogs and insects. (They can be quite rude!) We spent more time taking walks or going for drives. Our lives regained a simplicity and peacefulness that was quite nice.
It took us some time to adjust from that extraction, but we haven’t looked back. Ironically, when one blue bird left, the bluebird of happiness took its place.
P. S. Please comment below with what you’re making for dinner, LOL!
Here are just a few links for some of the points I made. I’d encourage you to do your own research. Be sure to use a browser that isn’t censored such as Duck Duck Go.