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Facebook became all the rage when I was in my last years of high school, and at first, I found it to be a wonderful tool for self-promotion and popularity. I was a mess, but I could convince the people in my world that life was fabulous.
I would upload photos from my digital camera and post them for my ex-boyfriend to see how hawt I was and that I was hanging out with his friends. I would talk to my gurls about going to parties and show people that I, too, was cool enough to have a place to get drunk that weekend. I would post statuses like “Hannah: is loving life =)” to prove to everyone that I was doing just fine without my ex-boyfriend, even though I was occasionally showing up at his house without notice to try to trap him into getting back together with me.
But, ladies and gentlemen, trans and non-binaries, I am here to tell you that after a relatively short stint of Facebook obsession, I believe I have discovered one of the keys to happiness: I deleted my Facebook account seven years ago, and I’ve rarely looked back. I truly think it’s the only way to live. Here are six reasons, beyond the fact that your information has, unbeknownst to you, been collected, sold, and used to target you, why you should delete yours, too.
1. It undoubtedly irritates you.
Have you ever gotten on Facebook and found yourself in a better mood when you got off? Probably not, and if you have, it’s likely because it makes you feel better about yourself to be superior to all the people that fell off after high school or college. When I first deleted my Facebook, I would log back on every once in a while to see what was up with the what’s up. And most of what was up was long-winded statuses of people’s political and religious beliefs that made me so infuriated I would spend two hours creating a thesis-like response to put them to shame.
Or novel-length posts of people airing out their dirty laundry while simultaneous complaining about how people needed to get out of their fuckin business. Look, I just don’t need that misery in my life, and neither do you. There is an obscene amount of trolls in the world, and if you can reduce your exposure to them by ¾ by simply deleting your Facebook, you’ll be better off. If you think you’re going to miss out on funny videos or a picture of a baby cheetah making friends with a baby golden lab, take your ass to Buzzfeed.
2. If you focused as much on yourself as you do on your image, you would be a happier person.
This goes for Instagram as well. Perfecting your image takes a lot of time. You take a million photos to get the right one, you might even spend additional time editing that picture to free it from any imperfections you’re insecure about, you make a great deal of effort to show everyone that you have a great partner or family/a successful career/the best vacations/a happy life. And if you’re being honest with yourself, you know that you’re bullshitting – at least a little bit.
I know few people that are as happy in actuality as they make themselves out to be on social media. People post the things that they want others to see, the version of themselves that they feel okay to present to the world. And if you spent all of that effort, let’s say, learning how to love and take care of yourself, going to therapy to sort your shit out rather than posting about it, actually connecting with your partner/family, building your career, and being present during your vacations, without worrying about what other people are going to think about your posts, your life would be more fulfilling, and you wouldn’t feel the need to bullshit.
3. It’s a waste of your life.
How much time do you spend on social media? And how much of that is just because you’re bored? A quick scroll can easily lead to hours going down a rabbit hole, and, before you know it, you’ve killed half the day. What are the things you’re actually passionate about? Where’s that book that caught your eye? The new things you’ve been wanting to try forever? Think about how much progress you would make if you spent 1-2 hours per day on that, rather than scrolling through the trenches.
4. Your whole family is on it.
The primary reason why I deleted my Facebook in the first place was that my mom got a Facebook. She would comment on all of my party pics from college, even if they were photos on somebody else’s profile that they posted of me. And it was embarrassing. It was also exhausting to read statuses she posted, such as one arguing that she was justified in refusing to give her seat up on a plane so that a couple could sit together because she was there first and picked that seat for a reason.
Once our parents, our grandparents, our aunts, uncles, cousins, and the family members we’ve never even met got on Facebook, that’s when you started to be trapped. You can’t escape them or their spewed nonsense on social media unless you straight up refuse their friend request. And that leads to them questioning you relentlessly about why you haven’t accepted them, even though you have 1000 friends. Then, once they’re following you, you have to worry about the types of responses that are going to be elicited from your posts.
In high school, I posted a photo showing off my new dark hair and the results of a month’s tanning, and my grandpa commented, “I thought you were a Mexican at first!”… nice. Facebook makes it nearly impossible to avoid the conflict that arises from differing family values, and it leaves no room for the healthy separation between your family life and your personal life.
5. It allows you to creep on your exes/your bae’s exes.
How many times have exes come out of the woodwork on social media? How many times have you creeped your ex’s page or your bae’s ex’s page until it made you sick to your stomach? Facebook has changed the game in this regard– everything is immediately available, or can be found with a decent amount of cyberstalking, and being the masochists that we are, we will subject ourselves to things that make us feel like shit. Give yourself a break by not even giving yourself that option.
6. You don’t need to stay connected to everyone you’ve ever met for your entire life.
I’ve never heard of an excuse for having a Facebook that I thought was a viable one. You don’t need it to stay connected with your friends or family. If you actually want people in your life, you find a way to stay in touch with them that doesn’t involve the shallow interactions of social media. And there’s a freedom that comes along with disconnecting from all of the people that aren’t a necessary part of your social system. We’re meant to move through life with autonomy, severing attachments that hold us back, aren’t healthy and positive, or are no longer contributing to our progress. Cut. them. off. And live the life actually you want to lead, with the people you actually want to be around.
When I finally agreed to try out Bumble after years of avoiding it (it took awhile for me to be convinced that online dating wasn’t just for desperate losers), I found myself in a dilemma. Nearly all of these apps have to be linked to your Facebook. And if you don’t have one, such as myself, you find yourself forced to be limited to people you meet in bars or the friends of friends who usually end up being disappointing and creating a rift within the friend group.
So I caved.
But don’t get it twisted. I didn’t sign back into my old Facebook, opening myself up to all of the misery that I had left behind years ago. I created a shell Facebook with just enough information to be approved for existence. Then. . . somebody reported that I was trying to scam people, and Facebook kicked me off, even after I provided them with proof via my driver’s license that I was a real person and a solid argument that I wasn’t trying to scam people, I was just trying to meet baes on Bumble.
I told a couple of people that I knew that worked at Facebook that I had a bone to pick with them about this undeserved treatment, but they told me there really wasn’t anything that they could do… Facebook was really strict about that kind of stuff, and once they get a tip-off that you’re up to no good, you have a hard time getting off of their shit list.
Which is interesting, considering the hot water they’ve recently dunked themselves into, but I guess at least they’re trying? However, I didn’t think it was fair that I be excluded from a broader dating pool, just because I had refused to fully rejoin the dark side. I was back on Bumble within two days with a new shell Facebook linked to a different email address, so jokes on the platform that was forced upon me for letting me create another “spam account,” so that I could go on to meet my current boyfriend.
How is Facebook the necessary step to prove that you’re a legitimate human being when, from how I’m keeping score, Facebook has been a generally negative contribution to humanity?
Mark Zuckerberg, I’m not buying into the altruistic spin on Facebook that you’re preaching via CSPAN. Shut that shit down..