What are your experiences quitting Facebook?

Hi Freja!

I left Facebook at the end of 2014, and these were my reasons for doing so at the time (kind of a longer read). I’m so happy and thankful I left! I wrote this reflection when I hit the 2-year mark, celebrating two years Facebook-free—so that’s where you can read more about my positive experiences since quitting.

I also ran an interview series, “Facebook Free,” where I interviewed people who had also left Facebook. So that might be a resource to check out if you’re looking for a variety of opinions/experiences from people who live without FB.

Whenever someone is on the fence about leaving a social media platform, I always encourage them to disable it for two weeks or a month as a trial period. Be aware of how you feel and do some self-reflection throughout the trial.

Finally, I wanted to share with you this short post from my favorite writer, Alexandra Franzen: “Why I Do Not Use Social Media Anymore”
She’s also written this post, Is it possible to run a business without using social media?, because spoiler alert: She runs a successful writing business with no social media! :slight_smile:

Would love to hear updates from you as they arise!

All the best,
Rebecca

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Hi Rebecca!

Thank you for your thoughtful answer. I’ll definitely look through your interviews to learn more from others who have quit Facebook! I read your personal reasons and I definitely agree with them. I too want to focus less on consuming and more on creating. And the privacy issue is simply unacceptable in my view. It is now a reality I want to spent so much time in and be shaped by as a person. Feels good to hear about others who have taken the steps and seem to be better off than before!

I’ve started taking some steps like removing the app from my phone and just use the messaging app and started to unfollow as much as possible. I also try to change my behavior in regards of not just liking things but actually writing something meaningful or letting it be. I think it is going in the right direction right now and it feels good to do something instead of just being unhappy with the time I spent and on the platforms ethics.

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Thank you for writing. I really understand why you dont want to leave. You have explained your reasons very well. If its possible try limiting looking at Facebook to a maximum amount of time in any one day and do in one block so you’re no constantly distracted by updates. Time Well Spent set out ways to change notifications which should also help. Watch Leah Perlman’s TED TALK, Do You Like Me. She is the co inventor of the Facebook Like button and has stopped using Facebook. She may inspire you.
Best of luck.
Margie from Sydney Australia

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Hi!

I’ll look into her talk, thanks for the tip. Yes I’m starting with minimizing my time now in the short term to maybe feel comfortable in the long term with leaving Facebook for good.

Hi Freja - your post shows that you are self-aware which is very important to healthy internet usage! A persons strategy is going to have to be tailored to their own strengths and weaknesses - if you try reducing time on FB and it is working… then you can take the next steps. Some people will be fine reducing but I also have friends that just can not use facebook in a moderate way I can but that’s a personality thing - different people, different strengths.

I think facebook is still important for me because:

  1. It is heavily used to advertise community activism, which I am strongly engaged with.
  2. I use it for discussion with friends (90% of these people I know in real life because I’m a member of the local Humanist group as are they).
  3. I use it to post vacation pictures, wildlife pictures from my hikes and runs and I and my friends really enjoy this.

I’m able to moderate myself because… I basically do not use facebook from my phone at all. I use IM from my phone but I don’t get much of that. So… a few times a week I have to intentionally go to the facebook website on my laptop. There aren’t any notifications beckoning me to go on, I go when I have scheduled the time.

In the past at work, many people had gotten crazy with checking their emails. The same suggestion worked for most people - schedule set times to check your emails and only check it then, never any other times.

I’ve turned facebook notifications (except for IM which I get a limited amount of) off.

That has worked well for me.
John

I still have the FB app on my phone but I only use it to upload pictures I take with my phone - I never check FB from my phone, so an automatic limiter.

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On your 3rd and 4th bullet points - re the business model and how people act.
FB has done a good job for me of figuring out what posts I’m not that interested in seeing, so that works for me except - that creates a filter bubble. To mitigate that, I read news sources that are well balanced and I don’t get my news from facebook, I get some inspiration regarding what stories to look for from facebook. I read articles from the new york times, the Atlantic, reason magazine (right leaning), listen to NPR (National public radio) left leaning but pretty good still depending on the exact program and the Columbus dispatch (local newspaper right leaning). Obviously I don’t read those every day! I just read articles from those sources over a few weeks time.

On the business model… there isn’t a fix for that right now but I expect in 5 years we’ll have one. All the big companies are profit driven not user or society focused.

I’ve got so much interesting ideas and feedback, thank you! I get curious on how you share these tips with people around you. Because a lot of solutions are individual-based and will only help one person and not really change the culture as a whole. Do you feel successful in helping others relationship with tech? Are people around you open to it or do they even feel that they need it? Because even though I can try to manipulate my feed I still feel bad about the majority getting attention sucking garbage and I really don’t know how to do anything about that at the moment. I guess quitting Facebook won’t solve that either, but at least I can show people around me that you don’t have to have these apps to live a good life. Any one have good experience helping people around you or setting up good norms of social media usage in your social groups?

At dinners I may push the point of putting down the phone if people are on their phone instead of engaging. For individuals though, in their daily life, being an example is best. Also, it’s really hard to get people to change until they are ready to.

For systemic change, I’m doing these things (not directly related to facebook but is about improving the internet and society):

  • Looking into the Brave browser ( https://www.brave.com )- it blocks ads, only letting reasonable ones through and gives you the option to micropay websites and not see any ads. This also helps get money to content providers - and we won’t have good content (i.e. news stories) if they can’t pay journalists. It also makes browsing and reading online easier for users because of less distraction from ads.
  • Supporting www.fairvote.org for ranked choice voting - gives third parties a chance, reduces negative campaigning, promotes better dialog in politics
  • anti-gerrymandering campaigns - gerrymandering corrupts democracy, is a factor in polarization and leads to more anger and despondence in the electorate.

Spreading the word regarding facebook use is the only systemic change I do with that right now.

Cool, I used to do this too before I quit. But the question is, why do we need to share photos? I love to see where people go too. But is it really healthy for us to be spending time online each day just to see a bunch of photos?

The new daily routine:
Sleep, eat, shower, work, post and view photos online.

Which one of the above does not belong?

A gal at my workplace said she went on a weekend trip with mutual colleagues- she complained they were on social media the whole time and it was isolating/boring. She talked about it afterwards but never in the company of those girls.

What I learned about social media use after this is people are afraid of being “outed” so nobody will stand up for what is normal social behavior. My guess is these social media cliques will peter out eventually because there is no real strength in only posting what is “attractive”.

Myself… I struggle to find real connection with people acting fake- so FB phased out of my life. I’ve never been good at massaging narcissism- and that is what FB is- a playground of narcissistic behavioral tendencies.

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I just looked at my Facebook page to see what “narcissistic behavioral tendencies” I could detect. I found some: a link to the demo PSA I created for CHT and links to a radio show I was on. (I was on the radio show as one of the contributors to a women’s anthology that came out in fall 2017.)

Perhaps I am blind to my own narcissism :slight_smile:

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That’s great, Freja! It sounds like you’re really becoming mindful/conscious about your usage. :slight_smile: I believe the first step in any change is always awareness, so that’s huge!

I only check facebook twice a week, so that’s not a problem for me.
Using facebook has been a great way for me to share photos with family and friends; it’s plenty healthy as long as you don’t over do it. Drinking a glass of wine several times a week might be good for you - but drinking several glasses every day probably not.

People are different - just as some people have issues with alcohol and some do not.

People should be aware of the time they spend on social media and decide if it is too much, too little, how it makes them and others feel.

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This is a great example of how different each one of us is- and how technology use must be tailored personally for each one of us personal.

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Share so much of your perspective and have followed a similar path @joseadna. Seeing your appreciation of “less and less in between” makes me think of language we use in the spam-free personal media app we just launched called: Hawser.

Considering there’s nothing in-between you and your inner-circles and the fact that it’s “Like”-free - I wonder if you might find a use for it.

We built it specifically with non-profits and local commmunity organizations / businesses in mind so would appreciate you taking a look at Hawser.org if we’re on the same wave here.

Regards,
Josh

Agreed @healthyswimmer! It’s all about personalization.

Nice @anon76657042, I use that analogy frequently.

A nice article on CNBC about how quiting Instagram and Facebook makes you happier:

And the huge Hacker News discussion that followed with many similar experiences: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18583288

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A few years back i deactivated Facebook for 2 years and didn’t miss it one bit.

However after a few years i realised the value of being able to stay connected to people i had met whilst travelling and being able to join communities hence why i reactivated it.

I think that yes, it’s all dependent on the individual and how it is making you feel about yourself and the time you spend on it.

I kept all my close friends and deleted people that i hadn’t spoke to in years.

I also use newsfeed eradicator on my laptop and Feedzen on my iPhone to limit my distractions but also continue to use social media as a means of contact.

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