I deleted my Facebook account a few weeks ago. Not set it to inactive; I actually deleted my account. It’s all flushed down the memory hole now, after using it fairly actively since 2006 (I set up my Facebook account when I started law school, a few months before I started this blog).
Honestly, I haven’t missed it. And I haven’t regretted it even a little bit.
As a general matter, I am extremely unhappy with how much my life is dominated by gadgets and technology (yes, I realize that the fact that I am writing that on the internet right now is sort of hypocritical, but I’m prepared to live with that). I resent my iPhone. I resent the amount of time that I have wasted as an adult on the internet. Some of it has been valuable, but the vast majority of it has just been a complete and total waste. And wasting my life on the internet is just completely incompatible with the kind of active, passionate authentic life I want to live.
But the proximate cause of my decision was this video, posted by my pal Kaosaur:
I watched it, and I couldn’t get the thought that I had to get off Facebook out of my head. I realized very quickly that it was inevitable–I couldn’t un-think it. I needed to get off Facebook. The idea of deleting my Facebook account actually made me panicky and that in itself actually strengthened my resolve. For gods’ sake, five years ago I had never even heard of Facebook, and now I am having an anxiety attack at the thought of getting rid of it? Facebook had to go.
Think about it. Only five years ago, most people, like me, had never even heard of it. Now, a massive amount of our society is funneled through it. Life happens on Facebook. That is extremely alarming to me. Like, red-lights-and-klaaxons alarming.
But what about the people I keep in touch with on Facebook that I would lost touch with otherwise? Honestly? Friendships have life cycles. You don’t stay friends with everyone forever in real life. It’s okay that I ma not in touch with everyone I went to high school with. Without Facebook, I am still in touch with maybe a half-dozen old friends, and thats really the way it should be. You keep some good friends, others fade away. That’s how life goes. That’s real life. That’s real relationships. Instead, like everyone else, I am having e-relationships with 100 to 500 people based mostly on whether they use Facebook a lot and whether they annoy me enough to make me hide their feeds.
That’s not real life. That’s not authentic. That’s not something I value.
We were perfectly happy before Facebook. So why can’t we live without it now? What does it really add that is valuable to our lives? For me, the answer is “not a hell of a lot.” So I bit the bullet and requested deletion. I still have a blog. I still have an e-mail address. I still have a phone number and a street address. You can still get in touch with me. But I’m not on Facebook anymore, and I think I am better off for it.