2011: My Year Without Facebook

12 Jan

I used to be the kind of person who was always very successful in peer-pressuring individuals to get Facebook accounts. “Come on,” I would say, “how do you expect to even be connected with your friends without one?” Due to having friends in other countries and others states, I always found Facebook to be a very convenient way to connect with all of my friends. After much, thought, however I am starting to believe that the costs outweigh the benefits. So, while this post deviates from my usual retail ramblings, I feel that posting this on Retail Robot may help others who are looking for new year’s resolutions or ways to improve their lives.

Thanks to social media and technology constantly at our fingertips, the way that people socialize has completely changed. Now, it seems, even the most outgoing individuals have succumbed to the new, more introverted persona of modern day technology. One could even argue that Facebook has made being antisocial more popular than ever before. Instead of calling a friend on the phone and hearing their voice, we text, write on their wall, “poke” them, tweet them, ping them, Google chat them, Skype them…all these crazy names and applications for something that we were all born to naturally do as human beings–communicate! Sadly, however, our lives all seem to be so busy and so consumed with ways to make more money that we have to find other ways to substitute being a good friend.

I have decided, in 2011, to run an experiment to see just how much Facebook affects my social life. My guess is that it will not change it at all because the people who I am truly close with have my phone number and usually make contact with me outside of Facebook quite often.  Those kinds of people are the ones that matter anyway! I will admit, though, that Facebook is very addicting, so I will be limiting my access to Facebook and then, hopefully, eliminating all access altogether. I will only allow myself to check my Facebook once a month for six months, and then after six months I will not go on it at all.

I have been contemplating this change for a while. It all started when I realized that one of my ex-roommates commented and “liked” every little thing that I liked. If I liked yoga on my page, she would go and add it too. If someone left a message or video on my wall, she would find a way to comment on it and even try talking with the other person. In addition, the amount of updates she made a week was just, well, embarrassing. The icing on the cake, however, was that she would always post on my wall about how she wanted to hang out, but whenever I would invite her out, she always had a way of isolating herself—either by being with her boyfriend, or being at home. I realized that I did not want to become one of those people that really have no social life but try to compensate for it through interacting on Facebook. It makes all of us look desperate for attention that we really don’t need. What we need, instead, is to draw attention to ourselves.

I used to always feel so smart. I have been a bookworm all of my life, I’ve always enjoyed learning new things, especially about other cultures. I realized that all of the time that I have spent of Facebook could have been spent doing things that could actually benefit me. The amount of time I spent on Facebook each day, once taken away, would probably be equivalent to reading five chapters of my book each day. The amount of time I spend comparing myself to others and making myself feel inadequate could be replaced with time spent getting homework  and studying done so that I could actually find time in my day to relax for once, or even write on here more.

Basically, when you think about it, Facebook is a waste of time. The friends you truly need will find other ways to contact you, and the ones you don’t need won’t. No one needs to see pictures of your ultrasounds, your engagement rings, your new puppy…why do we make ourselves all so vulnerable for only a few minutes of happiness? It just doesn’t seem right. I want to live in a world where I can focus on bettering myself, spending time with the friends that matter most to me, and enjoying the real world–a world that is slowly disintegrating because all we can seem to do is destroy it through our greediness.

I made my Facebook almost “unstalkable” today: I hid all of my tagged photos, my place of employment, and even my relationship status. I left an update explaining that I would not be on a lot and that people should find other ways of contacting me…this post was “liked” by five different people within a matter of an hour. I bet those five people won’t delete their accounts, though! It’s a hard thing to do and it certainly is going to make communicating a bit more difficult for me. But I’d rather take this year to become a better person and to not get caught up and depressed about all of the stupid things we would never know if social media did not exist.

So! Please feel free to join me. Also, if you have gone this far and are still rolling your eyes at me, consider this video that a friend showed me (who also deleted her account yesterday):

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27 Responses to “2011: My Year Without Facebook”

  1. everythingbefore January 12, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Would you say there’s a difference between “blogging” on wordpress and “socializing” on facebook?

    I feel it’s the same. It’s all social/web media.

    • Retail Robot January 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

      Very good point! I think that it definitely can be the same in a lot of respects…you can substitute “friends” for “subscriptions/readers”, you can definitely judge someone by their writing or by what they do with their lives. All of those things are similar to social media. But I think the biggest difference is that Facebook is the focal point of all social media, and that is what makes it the most dangerous. When you want to look for a person, you usually think of going to their Facebook first, right? With a blog you can be anonymous, and that seems to be a saving grace. And WordPress blogs, at least, seem to be more organized. It’s rare that you will find a blog on here where you know the person’s name, where they live, if they are married, if you can see 200 pictures of them, and know every detail about their life including when they find funny videos and good music on YouTube. That’s too much work to put into something that could be done on Facebook much easier.

      Thank you for reading, by the way! 🙂

      • everythingbefore January 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm #

        Well said.
        True that facebook is what I would call, “self-centered.” While blogging is more general.
        By the way, you are welcomed.
        Bye, for now.
        P.S. Will keep myself updated for new posts.

  2. Denim January 18, 2011 at 12:02 am #

    Now that is an excellent video and bravo to the young man for his insight.

    I used to write a lot on the subject of internet addiction and the levels of engagement I observed in online forums. I still find it rather fascinating.

    I don’t own a facebook account, never have and no one in my house does either. Sometimes it feels like we might the only ones!

    Enjoyed the post and good luck to you on weaning yourself off, these things take time I am sure of it.

    • Retail Robot January 18, 2011 at 7:53 am #

      Would you mind sending me what you have wrote about internet addiction? I am really beginning to be fascinated on the subject as well and I would love to read what you have to say about it!

      Good for you for not having a facebook! I admire that a lot because it really is the number way to communicate these days.

      Actually it hasn’t been that bad so far! I have a couple friends who are going to go on a “Facebook Fast” with me, so it’s good that we are there for support. Tonight, instead of wasting time on Facebook, I am watching a documentary about street art…something I’m really interested in but never had much time to learn about. Now I have more time than ever! It feels good 🙂 Thanks for reading!!

      • alonewithcats January 22, 2011 at 4:34 am #

        Admire me, too! I don’t have a Facebook account either. And it is not for a lack of peer pressure, because it’s been like a terrible after-school special up in here, and I’m all, “No means NO!”

        What really sealed my decision to not join was when I bumped into a cousin I hadn’t seen in years. We ate lunch together and caught up a bit. When we were parting ways, he asked whether I was on Facebook. I said no. And that was that. He didn’t want my phone number. Or my email. Or my address. He just wanted to friend me on Facebook, which for me illustrates how disconnected we’ve all become. No, thanks.

        Good luck with the withdrawal symptoms, Ms. Robot.

  3. Retail Robot January 22, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Wow..that’s kind of sad about your cousin! Props to you for not having a Facebook, though! Do you find it harder to keep in contact with people because of it?

    Thanks! So far it’s actually been really nice not going on Facebook…I’ve been getting a lot more done (I feel guilty even writing that sentence considering I just woke up from a three hour nap). Oh well, sleeping is still more healthy than Facebook…right? haha

    • alonewithcats January 23, 2011 at 9:40 am #

      I make it a priority to keep in contact with the people who are my nearest and dearest. Facebook isn’t necessary.

      Sometimes people forget to send me invites to parties or events, because it’s usually all done over Facebook. But usually my friends send along a forward with the subject line “for those of you not on fb …” And if I miss it? Not the end of the world. If it had been really important, they would have checked with me directly instead of this mass-contact bullshit. Which goes back to my cousin. If he’d really wanted to connect with me, whether or not I have Facebook would have been moot.

      I fully support spending your Facebook-free time napping. Just like in the olden days.

  4. dru January 30, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Heyo! Congratulations!

    I quit facebook shortly after seeing The Social Network. I completely deleted my account and I’m so much happier now. It’s like graduating from high school – suddenly all the drama that seemed so important just isn’t there anymore.

    I hope you enjoy your free time 🙂 Feel free to email me if you need extra support ^^

    • Retail Robot January 30, 2011 at 7:27 am #

      I heard that a lot of people deleted their accounts after seeing that movie. I haven’t seen it yet (and don’t know if I want to). I agree! I seriously thought I would miss it but I have really have not thought about it. It feels nice to just focus on what I need to do and have the extra time to do the little dorky things that make me happy (like watching documentaries on Netflix about street art…god I’m such a loser lol). Congrats to you and I hope we both keep it up! And thanks I will definitely come to you for support! Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back! 🙂

  5. Faten October 4, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    i just deactivated my account and hope to keep it that way for a year or two till i graduate
    i am so glad i found this blog so inspiring

    • Retail Robot October 11, 2011 at 6:47 am #

      Yay for you!!! I’m not going to lie, it is REALLY hard to do. I’ve started going on Facebook again, but I limit my activity far more so than before. I it gets to be too much again, at least I know that I can survive without it. Good luck and keep me updated on your Facebook Fast!!

  6. migzmarfori November 7, 2012 at 5:04 am #

    Hi there Retail Robot (whatever your real name is :D)

    I wanted to say: yes, totally agree with you. Damn straight. Actually, I just started my journey for a 1-year Facebook Fast. It used to be a week, then 30 days (inspired by a similar article) and then… 365 days (I read this article https://alexrister1.wordpress.com/2012/05/14/a-year-without-facebook/, that’s, coincidentally, titled like yours). I sent a message to my friends on FB telling them I’m off for the whole year.

    I must say… I feel better when I’m not on FB. I’ve done a lot of cool things like doing coin rolls on one hand, playing games I never got to play, and tying basic knots 🙂 There’s so much you can do. Like my dad said to me when he saw how delighted I was learning how to shuffle cards, “There’s life behind Facebook” Definitely. This is a nice article, Double R.

    So how was your journey in going on without Facebook? I see that this article was written last year. 😉

    • migzmarfori November 7, 2012 at 5:09 am #

      By the way, I deactivated my account. It’s a new account I made, to eliminate all the unnecessary people from my old account (the old account is scheduled for deletion). But even making the new account didn’t help much so I decided to go on and deactivate it, and embark on a year of no FB.

    • migzmarfori November 7, 2012 at 5:13 am #

      Sorry, forgot to add that I started on November 1, 2012.

    • I am Reptard November 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

      Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

      Sad to say, but quitting Facebook completely is not for the faint of heart. I believe that I went about six months without Facebook. I let myself log on once a month, so I did cheat a slight bit.

      It’s been a year, and sadly I am back to going on Facebook a lot. When I wasn’t on during those six months, I just felt so out of the loop. I didn’t know of any events going on, what was happening with people’s lives (because God FORBID people actually call instead of communicating through FB) and it just felt… lonely. And you know what? It shouldn’t feel that way. No site should define how connected we feel to people and how “in touch” we are with “friends” that we collect on a site and maybe barely speak to in real life. Sadly, this is the reality that I and many others have had to face. Facebook isn’t going away, this method of communicating is certainly not going away, and I’ve just had to suck it up and accept that being on Facebook is now a pertinent part of how we interact and communicate.

      With that being said, I did make many things on my profile private on Facebook. For example, I hide my friends list from everyone. I do not think Facebook should be a popularity contest. I also filter any status updates to ensure that it’s only going to the people I want to see it. I hide or even delete people who only brag or post really annoying things. Essentially, I’ve become more selfish about my Facebook experience. I do it to connect, but I sure as hell protect my privacy and have no qualms about deleting people who aren’t really my friends anyway.

      I really wish you luck on your Facebook Fast journey! Maybe you can inspire me to get off it again. Keep me posted. 🙂

      • migzmarfori November 8, 2012 at 12:45 am #

        I see. So in the end, you ended going back again. No, it’s cool. At least you’re taking your FB thing responsibly, making it ultra-private despite just how complicated and broken the privacy policy is. :/

        Yes, I agree. FB doesn’t have to define how we connect with people. But yeah, I can agree at some point that FB is a part of communication. But is it the only way? There’s also Google+, Pinterest, Flickr… there’s always a way.

        Sure RR, I’ll keep you posted :). I’ll do a monthly update for you, so since I started november 1, 2012… Expect me to give you an update on December 1, 2012. 😉 We’ll see how things go on November 1, 2013.

        You’re welcome and thanks! 😉 Let’s see how life goes on without FB for me.

  7. migzmarfori December 3, 2012 at 7:44 am #

    Hey Retail Robot!

    Here’s a monthly update on my Facebook-less journey 🙂 (as of December 3, 2012)

    So far… I love it 🙂 The bliss! The peace! It’s actually nice not to have Facebook on. Thanks to that, I’ve finally put up my blog 😉

    http://thereactionblog.wordpress.com/

    When I had Facebook on, I wasn’t able to make posts because I was always on Facebook. I didn’t do anything useful when I was logged in. Now without Facebook, I can finally focus on making the blog. Yahoo!

    All right, buzz you again on another update 🙂 And check out my blog if you got the time

    • I am Reptard December 4, 2012 at 6:39 pm #

      Thanks for the update, I’m so glad that everything is going well without Facebook! I give you major props. I’ll check out your site!

      • migzmarfori December 5, 2012 at 6:38 am #

        🙂 Yup, everything is going great. The best changes this year was just going off Facebook.

        Arigatou gozaimasu! (no, not Japanese by the way :D. Just studying it. I’m Filipino) for liking the post. Oh, and I got a new post up. Check it out when you have the time.

  8. migzmarfori January 1, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    Hi Retail Robot!

    Tanjoubi Omedetou or Happy New Year, in Japanese. 🙂 How’s things going there in the USA? Hope 2013 brings new stuff for you, me and the rest of the world.
    Well, as promised, let me give you an update on my FB-less for a Year update.
    So far, it’s great 🙂 I’ve done a lot of self-improvement time since “quitting” FB. I’ve played the video games I always wanted to play, and I still get to enjoy the quiet I’ve found,
    The only time I logged in FB was on my pre-bday and bday (Dec 6-7) just to get bday greetings. But after that, I deactivated again and I never went back to FB. I’ve been off FB for so long that my urge has been depleted.
    These past two months since quitting FB has shown me a lot of areas I need to improve on and has shown me the goals I want to achieve. The fact that I’m already thinking like this shows that being on FB for too long never lets me get this time to reflect.
    Also, I got to finish the draft of an ebook I’m planning to release very soon. 🙂 Now that’s something huh? That’s update no. 3! 🙂
    All right, ’till the next update 😉 Tanjoubi omedetou 2013!

    • I am Reptard January 14, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

      Tanjoubi Omedetou! I took Japanese in college 🙂 I’m extremely happy that your journey without Facebook has been going so well! What will your ebook be about?

      • migzmarfori January 15, 2013 at 8:43 am #

        🙂 Yup, it has been going very well. SUGOI! (Cool!)
        Ah, so you took Japanese in college? How much Japanese do you know?

        And my ebook will be about tech habits. Part of the reason I’m making it is because of my Facebook-less journey 😉 You’ll know more soon.

        ‘Till the next update! Sore ja (see you later!)

  9. migzmarfori February 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    Hi Alex,

    Another update of my Year-less Facebook journey. I’ve successfully not logged in my Facebook last month! Woohoo! 🙂 It’s been deactivated for so long I don’t have that urge to even see my profile again. 😀

    Much like the last months, I still see a few things I need to improve. But there are things that have improved since quitting. First, the ebook I’m making is making progress. I just got a new idea on how to make it faster. Second, I find that the new quiet I got really keeps me calmer than ever. And third, I’m able to enjoy more time with my friends. I no longer have to worry about posting on Facebook; just spending face-to-face time with friends beats Facebook anytime.

    So overall: going off Facebook for another month feels awesome! All right, next update on March 😉

  10. migzmarfori April 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Hi Reptard,
    Here’s my update on the journey 🙂
    Unfortunately, I’m back on Facebook. It’s for a promise I made to my college friends, so they asked to keep my FB account open. It’s important, so I’ll keep it open for the time being. But that doesn’t I’ll give up my time off Facebook. 🙂 You know, being off Facebook taught me a lot of things in this world. I’m glad I read your post when I went off FB months ago.
    So rather than feel like I have to give up my time off, what I’ll do is just… stay off FB less than before. I was scared I might go back to my old ways but you know what? I still got a lot of things to do outside of FB. What I’d do is just keep in touch with my friends (the friends I made a promise with) on FB Chat.
    Anyway, not sure if I’d still call my journey A Year Without Facebook. Why not we call this… a Year of Less-Facebook. 🙂 Sounds good right? I’ll give you an update on May.

    • I am Reptard April 4, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Hey, you did a great job!! It’s definitely hard to 100% get off Facebook these days, and it sounds like you know how to limit yourself without getting too carried away with the site again.I’m definitely glad that my post helped you! 🙂

      • migzmarfori April 4, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

        🙂 Yeah, it’s true that you can’t 100% get off but who says you can’t stay off 80%? haha.

        You’re welcome. Your post and another post I read in this network helped me actually. I’m glad I read yours and that post. 🙂

        I’ll give you another update on May. 😉 Have a good day!

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