I got Facebook on May 16th, 2017. A year and a month later, I decided to delete my account. Here’s why I made that decision.
Facebook was the first and only social media I ever had. When I signed up, I felt both excited and slightly nervous. I had no idea what to expect. Eventually, I would discover that Facebook was more harmful than helpful.
One of the first things I realized was that some of the “friends” I made weren’t really close friends. Some of them were people I knew, but we weren’t even acquaintances. I would accept friend requests from people as long as I knew them somehow. I realized that I was doing this to make it seem like I had a lot of friends. I thought that in this case, more would be better, but that turned out to be false. I wanted to make it seem like I had lots of friends to impress other people, and this eventually led to being unhappy with the number on my profile. I realized that this number really didn’t mean much to me after a while, and I stopped caring about it. I even removed some people that I wasn’t even acquaintances with.
As time went on, I began to feel self-conscience about what I would like, comment and post. Too often, I found myself thinking, “What if this isn’t good enough?” or “What will people think of me?” Part of this was because Facebook would show what people had liked or commented on in my feed, and I was concerned about my activity being shown to them. I felt the need to post just to post and keep people updated on my life, but the fact is that most of them probably didn’t care at all about what I was doing. I would add photos just to see how many likes I could get, but no one else needed to like any of my photos. If I like my photos, that’s good enough for me, and the number of likes or comments attached to them aren’t going to change that.
Facebook, or any social media platform, can be extremely superficial if you think about it. A profile can be a lie. People tend to post the happy moments of their lives and leave out the rest. No one is going to write a status update about how they had a terrible day. No one is going let people see that side of themselves because they want their lives to seem perfect on their profile. You can be lying to all of your followers about who you really are because you’re hiding a part of yourself.
I thought for the longest time that I was connecting with people, when in reality Facebook did nothing for my relationships. I personally felt that there was no connection at all. It took me no effort to hit the like button or type out a comment. I wasn’t connected when I scrolled through my feed time and time again. In fact, when I ended a Facebook session, I would feel isolated and lonely because I wasn’t taking time to actually connect with others in a healthy, meaningful way. Checking Facebook was fun in the beginning, but it eventually became an overwhelming and negative experience.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal also really, really upset me. When I found out about it, I told myself that I would delete my account. I decided to wait to see how I felt about making that decision. I didn’t want to support a company that abused its power in the manner that Facebook did, and I came to the conclusion that getting rid of my account all together would be a good idea.
When I told my actual friends that I had deleted my account, they would always ask why. A couple of them said, “You should try Instagram next,” or something else about how I was missing out. But here’s the thing: You won’t miss out if you don’t know what you’re missing out on.
The most important thing I understood from my experience on Facebook was this: my special moments are special for a reason. They don’t need to be posted to be cherished, and they’re also way too special for social media. I was happy without Facebook before, and I am even happier that I don’t have it now.
Students: The Spartan would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences with Facebook and other social media. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you think.
Art courtesy of Iris Seo.