I’m quitting Facebook

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I’ve decided to quit Facebook. This time next week, I will delete my Facebook profile, which also means my public page will come down at the same time.

If you are my friend on Facebook, and especially if you have made the effort to “like” or “follow” or whatever the terminology is these days my public page, I want to thank you for your support and the sense of community you have given me over the past eight years.

Thank you, thank you! I’m not unaware that your support has been a huge part of bringing readership and community to this blog: Facebook is far and away the biggest referrer of traffic to my blog, and I know that in freeing myself from what feel like the “shackles” of this particular social media platform, I will also be losing a lot of valuable support from the people who help make this blog a happy place for me. I wish there was a way to do it differently, but you can’t have a public Facebook page without also having a private profile, so when I close the latter down, the former will go too.

Once upon a time, Facebook was a wonderful way to stay in touch with the people I love, who live all over the world. Often it was the ONLY reliable way. Email addresses change, phone numbers change, but Facebook profiles rarely do so we didn’t lose touch.

Since those days, though, I feel as though Facebook has become such a negative influence in my life.

Over time, Facebook has taken it upon itself to decide whose updates I see and whose I don’t, so I can no longer REALLY stay in touch with what all my friends near and far are doing, only the friends whose statuses and shared links get the most interaction (you guys are great too, but it’s like only talking to the most popular people at your own birthday party: I like my quiet and shy and geeky friends too!). And when I like or follow a page or business, Facebook decides whether or not I get to see updates from them, too, so all the events and innovations and deals and campaigns I signed up to see frequently get missed.

Facebook does, however, make sure I see frighteningly-accurate advertisements. For example if I research a particular brand of audio equipment for a work article, the next time I log in to Facebook, competitor brands of the same technology will just-so-happen to be advertised in the side bar, as Facebook trawls my browser history and uses it to “target” what I see.

Facebook constantly changes up and jeopardises my privacy (this move was particularly annoying for me in avoiding a stalker-type person) and the ownership of my content (for example read 1. underneath “Sharing Your Content and Information,” here), and even thinks itself entitled to conduct social experiments on me and my friends, without our permission.

But the worst of my falling out of like with Facebook is not down to Facebook’s behaviour, but to my own.

I resent the time I spend on Facebook, but I use it anyway. I don’t want to log in but, when I do, I’m drawn into its rabbit-hole of links and photos and videos and shared content and wind up clicking through to articles that aren’t edifying and don’t add anything particularly positive to my life, and insist on reading them when I should be spending time with my family. The other day I was sitting in the playroom with the children, and caught myself being terse with Scout (“YES Scout, what do you WANT?”) when she “Hey Mummy hey Mummy hey Mummy”-ed me, because I was annoyed that I had had to read the same paragraph three times. It was a paragraph in an article I hadn’t known existed five minutes earlier, about some celebrities I wasn’t particularly interested in, but somehow here I was so desperate to read what was said and join in the comment thread relating to whatever mild controversy the story was recounting, that I ignored and then grumbled at my own children.

I’m time-poor and yet I waste my own precious time AND the time of my family on something I don’t enjoy, and that’s crazy. So I’m quitting.

I really hope that you and I can find ways to stay in touch and that I can keep drawing inspiration from you. We managed before social media, right? I am hoping (possibly naively) that we can do it again. So if you would like to stick around with me, I would LOVE that. The personal connections and creative inspiration found on Facebook were what drew me to it in the first place, and my love of friendship and community and creativity certainly hasn’t changed, only the forum through which I hope to find those things. So if you want to stay in touch, here’s how …

* The best way is right here: I will keep this blog going, and it’s a mix of personal stories from our lives, food I like to eat, places I like to go, my snail-mail and other creative projects, and a celebration of other artistic people and projects. There’s a “subscribe” button on the right-hand side of this page that signs you up to receive email notifications whenever there is a new post

* You can find me on Instagram at @naomibulger

* You can send me an email at nabulger (at) gmail (dot) com

* We can write to each other the old-fashioned way! My postal address is:

Naomi Bulger
PO Box 469
Carlton North
Vic 3054
Australia

So that’s it. Goodbye Facebook, and hello freedom. I must admit, I CAN’T WAIT until next week, when I can hit “disable my account.” Already the decision to do this has lifted a weight from my shoulders.

What about you. Have you ever considered quitting Facebook? Have you already done it? What are your experiences of social media? I do realise that not everyone dislikes it as much as me, and for many people, it is a wonderful, social place. How do you keep it positive?

43 comments

  • Pamela

    Naomi – I understand your feelings about facebook. I love your blog and I support your decision. Keep writing, you are wonderful.

    • paperpopups

      Hello Naomi, Yes, I dislike fb but I use it to see photos the rest of my family posts.
      For a long time now I thought it was me that did not enable some button to see new posts from family. Now I find
      it is because fb does not consistently send me all new posts. What the heck?

      I originally found you through your blog – I never thought to go to you fb page.
      I cannot follow you on instagram as I do not have a cell phone.

      Less is more and I sure support your decision.

      Happy thoughts,
      Petrina

    • Naomi Bulger

      Less is more – I agree!!

    • Naomi Bulger

      Pamela thank you for your lovely words. You’ve made my day.

    • Naomi Bulger

      Wow we sure are! I’ve just skimmed through your fabulous post but will read properly and respond after I’ve dropped the kids off at daycare. X

  • Sarah Vincent

    I quit Facebook earlier this year, both for some of the reasons you listed and another personal one of my own. And right now I’m in the middle of a month-long break from other social media. Amazing how much more time I have for other things! haha

  • Megan Norbury

    Will miss seeing you on FB but will keep reading your blog. Love it. Best wishes for you and your family xx

  • Sandra F

    Oh gosh. I totally understand this Naomi.
    I always tend to read your blog from email updates rather than Facebook ones anyway, so I will still be here, reading and following.
    I really want to take a Facebook vacation too, and you’re so right, when we weigh up just how important that post is to read, is it more important than the child who’s asking you to engage with them? No. Not often.
    I also read Jen B’s blog post and yes… why do we invest time in the news of the lives of people we never even see?
    And why does it feel so frightening to drop out of the loop? Why the weird peer pressure to stay?
    Hmm….
    Yes. I need a Facebook vacation.
    x

    • Naomi Bulger

      You are right. I have wanted to do this for a while, but feared being out of the loop. How IN the loop was I, really? And how did we stay looped in before Facebook? I hope to find out.

  • Jane Williamson

    Hi Naomi, wonderful wonderful! I feel the same way, but not quite ready to quit yet. However, I have found the most helpful thing is to never connect my phone to the internet. So I do look at Facebook and other stuff, but only when I am sitting quietly at my desk, which is invariably when there are no friends or family around. I do my banking and emailing and booking tickets only when I’m focussed and calm and sitting properly in a quiet place. This is a very helpful in between step for those not ready to pull the needle out of their arm yet, I find. Will keep following your blog! Jane

    • Naomi Bulger

      Thank you lovely jane! Yes I did this for a while too. But then I found I was looking at Facebook instead of working, which was almost as bad. Clearly I lack self discipline!

  • Jodi Tobin

    Naomi,
    I completely understand and support your decision. Facebook can be a wonderful way to reconnect with old friends, but it can be a nuisance. I applaud your decision!!!
    Jodi

  • Sarah Cox

    I totally understand this move. FB takes up FAR more of my time than I would like, or even care to admit. I may even be addicted – and I really don’t like that. I don’t like, as you point out, the scary algorithms that determine the advertising I see (literally the same pendant I was looking at a week ago has been sitting in my side bar for 7 straight days – I’m not going to buy it okay!!). I will miss your presence Naomi, but it will also force us to stay better connected than the odd like and comment here and there. We will have to write and converse! What fun that will be to look forward to – and of course, I will always read your blog!! Well done and bravo for your bravery and for standing your ground. xx

    • Naomi Bulger

      Thank you so much Sarah. It is scary, isn’t it! And I am going to try to counteract my “fear of being left out” (which I think is behind a lot of the addiction for me) by actively reaching out to friends like you – using all the free time I hope to have!

  • Michelle

    I’ll miss seeing your work on FB but just subscribed for email updates! I love your work!!!

  • Katie

    I SO agree.

    And yet Facebook is my only regular connection to most of my cousins and many old friends who live in other states and time zones and, occasionally, countries, and I’m not about to let that go.

    I’ve thought about starting my friends lists of from scratch, though. It’d just take so long…

    • Naomi Bulger

      I get it. I am literally looking at starting up an old-fashioned address book. I’ll go through my Facebook friends list before I close everything down, and write down email addresses, birthdays, phone numbers if they have them… it is hard because FB is somewhere where you find everybody in the one place so I’m a bit nervous. But for me, I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t ACTUALLY in contact with a lot of them any more, thanks to Facebook’s algorithms. I’m removing the third party, and now it’s all up to me. Eek!

  • Antonia

    I will tell you about my facebook fails when i see your lovely face next time!
    xxx

  • Robyna

    I completely understand your reasons – and relate to them as well. I think I am going to have to get stricter with myself about Facebook time allocations. I too hate that it deems what I get to see – and it’s seldom the stuff I want to see. Right now, it’s just all blog stuff, all the time. Which is fine – I love the blog stuff, but I know my other friends who have nothing to do with blogging are posting things as well. Even the ones I put into my close friends group sometimes get looked over by Facebook.

  • An-Sofie

    Hi Naomi, I think you made a brave and wonderful choice here! I still keep facebook around because of all the practicalities (I’m a student and so many things are discussed and shared through facebook – when my friends want to meet up, documents about our classes my fellow students have written etc.) But if it weren’t for that, I’d delete my profile too. Like you, I’m a little freaked out by all the ads – I once wanted to book a hotel somewhere and did a little research, but for weeks (after I’d booked it already) the ads kept following me on facebook, google and so on. I will continue to follow your lovely blog, and respect you even more now! Have a great day!

    • Naomi Bulger

      Oh yes the ads are scary aren’t they! I’m in one group that I’ll miss a lot. The organiser has suggested that I could use a fake name and just join the group – no profile or friends etc. I might do that in a little while, but I think I need a decent clean break first!

  • Tara

    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I didn’t go on my Facebook for over a year as it just wasn’t helping my health at the time. I’d been dealing with a whole spiral of things and seeing constant updates of new jobs, travelling overseas and endless news updates and campaigns just wasn’t helping me recover. I would feel worse after going onto Facebook. Now I’m in a better place and I only go on for cat or goat videos, seeing what my overseas relatives are up to (although I tend to write snail mail now), and connecting with other OTs through some awesome groups like OOFRAS and OT4OT. Other than that, nope no Facebook here. If it wasn’t for the OT side of things, I’d delete it all together. Bring on snail mail and actually meeting for coffees with people.

  • Rebecca Berrett

    I wholeheartedly applaud your decision Naomi. Why wait until next week? Really enjoying your blog! It’s a ray of sunshine in the mornings. Letter coming your way, the old-fashioned way!
    Cheers, Rebecca.

  • Anke

    Alexandra Franzen (who is awesome), recently wrote a few posts on the topic – I think you might find them helpful/interesting. This one’s a good starting point: http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2015/08/19/why-i-do-not-use-social-media-anymore/

    Lot’s of love from Germany x

    • Naomi Bulger

      What a fantastic post. I love this! And it’s quite chilling thinking of all the (potential) time lost. Just another reason to quit (and why I quit Twitter this week, too, although it wasn’t the focus of this post).

  • Emily

    Good on you Naomi ! I’ll be getting your posts on my inbox , seeing you over on Instagram and hopefully at another BWP meet up sometime. I was probably lucky that FB wasn’t around when I had little ones , I admire you for this deliberate choice. Maybe you could share an update here about how it all goes ( whether you have withdrawal symptoms or just heaps more precious time ).

  • Cindy R.

    Last year I decided to delete my FB profile only to discover you can’t actually delete it–only deactivate it. It’s always there waiting for you when you decide to come back. I did go back, but the break felt nice and broke me of my habit of spending too much time on it. I really dislike how impersonal and somewhat voyeuristic all social media feels though. I miss just talking with people.

  • Bek @ just for daisy

    Brilliant move! I quit facebook once… and was off it for around 2 years.. it was great! I’ve also disabled my ‘blog page’ on facebook quite a few times after not liking the pressure of updating etc!
    I hope you enjoy the freedom that it brings… x

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