Why I Left Facebook & Why I Came Back

Posted on Posted in New Habits

Iphone with facebook app open and little blocks that spell out the word "social media"

 

I have deactivated my Facebook account several times and deleted it twice. Social media is a double-edged sword. It is a powerful yet lethal tool. Today, I wanted to share why I did this. I first deleted my account in January 2015. Initially, the reason was because I had way too many friends online, but very few that I could speak with on a deeper level.  I went back on Facebook before graduation for fear that I would not be able to keep in touch with friends. I would later delete it again at the end of the summer. Below were my reasons why.

Comparison

Although I did not acknowledge this at the outset, I excessively compared myself to my peers. This eventually grew into envy. Why did I not have a job offer before graduation? Why am I stuck here while she vacations in Puerto Rico? I internalized this comparison, and the only way I could cope was by not seeing these posts. So I left. In comparing myself professionally, I failed to see the blessings in my life. I had met the man of my dreams and married him. Sheryl Sandberg said that “the most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.” Yet, as a perennial career girl marriage alone was not enough.  Moreover, I have often heard that “having it all does not mean, having it all at the same time.” It took getting off of social media to truly understand these statements.

 

having it all does not mean, having it all at the same time

 

Black Lives Matter

The height of the black lives matter movement was in 2013 onwards. Being a black person on social media at this time meant that you had extra stress from all the stories of people that had died from police brutality. I felt the need to go to protests, post thoughts, scour article after article, and watch video after video of yet another black person killed. These conversations took a toll on me. The protests I attended did nothing to stop the deaths, neither did posting messages on Facebook. I felt powerless and was overwhelmed by all the information.  I needed to find a healthier way to interact with this information.

 

Waste Of Time

Being on Facebook has never truly felt like a waste of time for me post-graduation. In college, however, Facebook was where I procrastinated. My excuses included, “I need to catch up with friends” or “I need to invite people to this or another event.” With the never ending memes, articles and videos, it was easy to stay on Facebook for hours on end. Essentially do everything but homework until the last minute.

 

Superficial Relationships?

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I had quite a large number of friends on Facebook. One day, I needed to speak with a friend. I looked through the list of the friends that were online but couldn’t choose one to speak with. That was a turning point for me. I realized that Facebook friends are not always the people you can confide in.

My New Relationship With Facebook

After I left Facebook, I silenced the distracting voices and focused on personal growth. I made sure to have meaningful relationships with my few close friends offline. Earlier this month, I went back. Initially, it was to use it for the purposes of reaching more people with Dadas Lounge. However, when I went back on FB, I saw so many familiar faces that I had not seen in months. It was so nice to see their faces.

Now I plan to use Facebook for its true role. A tool.

A tool to keep in touch with friends, not to stalk them.

A tool to appreciate friends’ achievements, not to be jealous.

A tool to be productive on, not to procrastinate with.

A tool to connect with like-minded, energizing and entrepreneurial trailblazers.

Specifically, I plan to have constructive Facebook interactions. So instead of scrolling down my timeline and mindlessly hitting the ‘like’ button, I will leave meaningful comments. This is a lesson I have recently learned from Carnegie’s How To Meet Friends & Influence People.  

Cheers to many more years of fruitful Facebook use.