I left Facebook and here’s what happened:
For personal and ethical reasons I have been working my way towards leaving Facebook for quite a long time.
I got so tired of the drama, the political backbiting, the name calling, fighting, arguing and the seeming lust for 15 minutes of fame.
I also got uncomfortable with reading so many people's deepest, darkest, personal secrets. My heart goes out to anyone dealing with life challenges. I'm just not sure I want to be privy to all of that information.
But I guess they aren't so secret since they are being displayed all over the Internet.
I’m not certain that people understand when you post online to any social media that it’s accessible by anyone, even if you mark it friends only.
The fact that Facebook has over 3 billion users means it is pervasive worldwide. It also means that what you post to your “friends” is not just to your friends. Anyone can read your posts via your friends.
SO it’s to the world.
People have gotten fired from their jobs for their posts on Facebook.
People have been caught breaking the law, and cheating on their partner.
Facebook has also allowed quite graphic videos of violence, murder and in some instances videos that are quite pornographic.
There's lots of sex, sexual Innuendo, profanity, and near nudity (oh, who am I trying to kid? Nudity.)
Don’t get me wrong I love the human body. I think nudity is gorgeous, and sex is amazing, but there are some great and not so great ways to express it.
Then there is the ethical issue. The issue of media dominance, and allowing horrible atrocities to be posted. Not to mention election improprieties, bullying, lying and covering up of said lies.
Whew. Tell us how you really feel!
Look, this is ME, not anyone else. This is what works and does not work for me.
This may or may not bother or resonate with you.
AND THAT IS FINE!
OK, that’s what bothered me about Facebook.
Here is what I loved about it:
I made a couple of friends in the 9 years I was on it.
I got a couple of introductions to potential jobs.
I saw wonderful photos, reconnected with friends, classmates, colleagues, and distant family.
I experienced vicariously the adventures, trials, tribulations, successes and failures of the aforementioned people.
I shared, collaborated and commiserated.
I also wasted A LOT of time.
Ok, that may not be a plus...
Here is what happened the couple of times I posted that I was leaving:
I was asked not to go. I was told that what I posted was really appreciated. And asked how was I going to keep up with everyone? How will I know when there are events, parties, births, and reunions?The state of the country? Won't it affect my business, or work? How can I live when "everyone", and the most important things, announcements, connections, etc., are on Facebook? Aren't I afraid I will be looked at as an outcast? Or with suspiciousness? How can I be much of a teacher, writer, artist if I'm not on Facebook? Only legitimate businesses and people are on Facebook. (I can't have a business page without a personal page. "Well, I can't go for that, no oh oh, no can do." Yep, I just dated myself.)
Here is what happened when I actually left:
Of the original 3000 people who were my Facebook "friends", I whittled those down to 1800 (this was the beginning of the end), then to 1200, then to 800. I knew every one of them. Maybe we weren't pals or close but I personally knew them all.
I gathered emails and phone numbers, posted my Instagram, and LinkedIn page links. (Yes, I know Instagram is owned by Facebook, but it is just such a kinder, gentler, social media).
I downloaded my archive.
I made a commitment to connect in different ways with my Facebook friends.
Then one day I just left. No fanfare, no parting gifts, just poof.
Mind you, this was not without Facebook asking me about half a dozen times if I knew what I was doing? They posted photos of my friends telling me who would miss me. (Those who really ARE my friends actually have a life with me outside of Facebook.)
"Are you sure you want to leave? You will miss out on x, y or z..."
In the final stages I could deactivate my account and it would take two weeks for it to be deleted.
Maybe I would have second thoughts and in a moment of weakness I would log on and that would start the two week clock ticking again.
This time there was no crying wolf, and there was nothing anyone could say that would change my mind.
I had already moved on and broken the addiction.
And it was an addiction.
I wasn't on every day but I fell into the "check in with Facebook" trap when I could have been doing so many other things.
LIKE just sitting there and taking a few deep breaths.
getting on a yoga mat and stretching for a few minutes.
picking up the phone and texting, calling or SKYPING with someone.
So what REALLY happened?
NOT A DAMN THING.
People I was already in touch with outside of Facebook have stayed in touch with me.
And most people that were not in touch with me outside of Facebook have not communicated with me. AND THAT'S OK!!
There are plenty of ways to communicate with me if desired.
I haven't eradicated my presence online or through social media. I'm just selective.
It hasn't affected my teaching, writing, or musical endeavors whatsoever.
As a matter of fact, I have taken up a few more percussion instruments. I spend a lot more time writing, meditating, DANCING!!
I am learning new languages, studying online for a Philosophy course certification, a sound therapy course and deepening my relationships on a more one-on-one basis.
Sure, there are those who told me that they only used Facebook, and messaged and communicated via Facebook.
That had no effect on me.
That is their choice and this is mine.
I sent a newsletter to 161 people, including many from my Facebook days, and I heard from about 30 of them. Some told me personally, later on, that they had read my newsletter and enjoyed it.
I understand those who need the interaction of something like Facebook for whatever reason.
I don't judge. Use it as you see fit.
Facebook is happy to have as many members as they can. Members mean money, and lots of it.
It's business, just business.
For each attrition there are new users.
Facebook isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
However, for me, there IS life after Facebook.
And a damn good one.
As always thanks for reading!
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Award-winning singer, TV producer & actor. Former stunt person, professional water skier, circus artist, choreographer, stage director, artistic director, cinema owner, restauranteur, fitness center co-owner and all around busy person! Published writer & songwriter. KaZ uses voice, movement & rhythm to bring a new twist to meditation.