On Monday, 17 December 2013, I ended a six-year relationship. Well, I say ‘ended’, but we’re probably just going to be on a break for a while – it’s quite likely I’ll turn up on the doorstep, begging for forgiveness and asking to be taken back.
You probably saw this coming in spite of my amazing suspense-building prose, but I broke up with Facebook.
First, I absolutely promise you that I am not doing this in any judgemental ‘oh, Facebook is bad and I’m a better human than everyone who’s on it’ kind of way. I intend to write a short series of posts about how this change has affected my life, but it’s doubtless going to be filled with pros and cons and I’m certain the separation won’t be permanent – I deactivated my account, rather than deleting it. I know a lot of people do this for very similar reasons to mine, but I want to explore exactly what effect this has on my life in the ensuing days/weeks… months?
Please, please, comment below and give me a virtual slap up-side the head if I say anything that makes me sound like a sanctimonious (and mildly hysterical) reformed FB addict (read ‘asshole’). I know Facebook is a tool that can be used for good or evil, much like money. Or Photoshop.
Second, I must say that the irony of writing this in a blog post (essentially a long-form status update) is not lost on me. Nor is the fact that if anyone reads this, they’re likely to have linked to it through my ex. But I still get a sweet little hit, because I can see from the widget to the right of this article how many people ‘like’ this article. So ha.
I’m going to start this little exercise by outlining my reasons for it, in no particular order. And there are probably more that will occur to me retrospectively.
- I work from home. I have no boss whose passage through the office evokes a flurry of closed browser windows as workers guiltily alt-tab back to their tasks at hand. It’s hard enough to self-motivate, without the semi-subconscious habit of trawling through my newsfeed for something else to do.
- I have problems. One of the things I’ve discovered about being an adult is an enhanced awareness of my own failings and weaknesses. I have a terribly addictive personality. I know this, but I do try as hard as I can not to simply use it as an excuse to just follow my ‘nature’. I had a weird gambling addiction in my early twenties. I had to delete Candy Crush from my phone because I realised I’d spent an embarrassing amount of money on in-game purchases and I hadn’t made eye-contact with a human in days. I’m a reformed smoker, but on the occasions I’ve slipped and bludged a cigarette, I’ve been almost instantly back to a pack a day. You only have to look at my arse to get an idea of my relationship with food. You get the idea.
- I’ve dropped off the face of the planet. Mr Grumbley and I have moved out of Wellington and I realised the other day that Facebook was acting as a stand-in for actual interaction with people. I need to either embrace my newfound isolation and start talking to my cats even more than I already do, or make a real effort to combat it by communicating with people in a meaningful way. Not sure which way that’s gonna go yet, to be honest…
- KnowMO. This is probably the major reason for this enterprise. It’s a term I’ve come up with for FOMO’s younger, meaner cousin. Being an actor on Facebook is a fucking depressing business when you have no work. I probably don’t need to spell it out, but when your newsfeed consists of seemingly endless updates from other people being more successful than you, it turns you into a bitter, twisted hag. I could feel my fingers itching to write regrettable updates, so I knew it was probably time to remove myself from the situation.
- I’m scared of sharks. Face it, nobody wants to be this gal.
There have been many articles about the cultivation of online personas, and I was starting to dislike the online me. I have been feeling like a sad lurker around the edges of other people’s lives and it’s time to make some changes. Having said that, I’ve had no indication yet that anyone has noticed that I’ve gone, which is an interesting insight. I never posted a Facebook update to say ‘I’m off’, or ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ – I’m just quietly slinking off to eat my turkey cold, this Christmas. I’ll let you know how it tastes.