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How and Why I Left Facebook

The end of my social media life

By Abdullah MasoodPublished 4 years ago 6 min read
In blue lies evil

I was your typical college guy. Fun, outgoing, social. When social media came along and everyone was on it, I continued on that path and did the same. It was fun. I posted status updates ranging from every time I had a coffee to every time I went on vacation. It gave me a great sort of validation to be the one with over fifty likes on a photo of my dog, of all things. Yet it was also the beginning of a nightmare that I barely escaped from.

Social media is addictive problem that has made into several psychiatry journals. One particular article tells us that Facebook activates the amigdala-striatal system leading to impulsive behaviours. This of course explains our tendency to excessively post. Other articles also tell of how increased Facebook usage leads to personality traits such as "extraversion, narcissism, high levels of neuroticism, and lower levels of self-esteem." While I wouldn't say my usage had gone to that level of personality destruction, it was getting to the point where, like a smoker, I needed a "fix" every time I was away from my phone. Also arguing with people, writing long essays on topics that were of minimal use was becoming something of my lifestyle. I didn't eat, drink, or shit without the infernal phone in my hand. I couldn't remember the last time I read a book or watched a movie without forwarding through most scenes. The dark side of Facebook had also begun showing at this time. Every time someone got married or engaged it brought up feelings of despair and worthlessness. I could not help but think of my own failings with regards to relationships. Every time someone passed an exam or got a degree I would get jealous and sarcastic. Every good thing everyone else experienced that used to be brought up rarely in conversations and chance encounters would be more and more available due to the so-called "information highway." In an attempt to connect us all, Zuckerberg basically highlighted our differences in a way distance and time made impossible. I would be remiss, however, if I did not comment on the ease of it all. Every time I needed a login or an address, there was Facebook, my trusty website. Privacy was not a major concern to me and it was only after I left Facebook that I realized how big my digital footprint was getting. These websites were collecting data about what we ate, what we liked, where we are and who we are. Those personalized ads people are so crazy about? All part of the spectrum. Older facebook used to even store passwords in a single text file of all things! This was clearly not the actions of an organization overly concerned about our privacy. But here we are going to talk about my deactivation not what else the blue giant was upto.

The first few months were the worst to be honest. I had deactivated my account so I kept logging back in to see what was new. It was at this point I realized how much of an addiction Facebook had become in my life. I couldn’t figure out what to do at public places as I had nothing to stare at when my phone was opened. Facebook was the first of the apps I deleted, but later there was also Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and others. I was no longer aware of anything my friends were doing, and it was agonising. Going to places to eat without looking them up on Facebook or checking their phone no on Facebook were closed to me now. I was a lone man out on a mission and it seemed it would be the end of me.

Slowly but surely, things began to change. It started with the little things at first. I began being able to enjoy movies more without constant interruptions. Not having to listen to a notification beep also became rather relaxing to be honest. No essays to argue on or congratulations to write robotically meant I could spend more time on my studies as well as my hobbies. I began writing again, reading more, and playing video games. These things were closed to me during the time I was on this beast of a procrastination enabler. I realized who my true friends were, and here I had probably the biggest epiphany of my entire social media experience. Facebook makes it easier for people to pretend to care. A single notification makes it easier for them to write you birthday wishes. All your posts make them able to find out stuff to appear concerned and caring without ever actually making any effort. My birthday wishes reduced to about two to three from over 200. But later I realized that was ok. True friends make an effort to be there in your life. It is a lesson hard learned but surely valuable. After the first year it began to feel like a serious waste of time to me. I had spent so much time on other people’s lives I had not even lived my own during this time. I went out to movies and genuinely enjoyed them. I went to parks and breathed in the fresh air and scenery without looking at my phone all the time. And most of all, my career became better when my focus was not so lost all the time. Concentration skills jump ten times higher at least after leaving social media. My family remarked on my being happier, brighter and more of a joy to be around. My friends became real people, not some photos on a screen. Eventually I began deleting even more of my accounts and now I have only a linked-in for professional stuff and an anonymous twitter account for news that I barely use.

What conclusions can be drawn from my experiment? Well, certainly there are enormous benefits to quitting these monstrosity of time consumers. You will begin to live a happier, fuller life. But I do understand that at this point people will find it difficult, if not impossible, to leave these. Our entire lives have become so intricate and tied up to these that most of our information is linked to one facebook account be it our food deliveries, our online shopping or even our movie tickets. But I do invite you to try it. More young people than ever before are now leaving social media. It is, quite simply, not worth the effort. There is a vast world of beauty and joy waiting for you. Just to emphasize I'll tell another personal story. I tried coming back to Facebook about a month ago. I simply could not use it again. Not due to technical jargon and problems, mind you. But quite simply I see it as futile now. I actively dislike it now for taking away so much of my life that could have been spent actually experiencing the wonderful complexities our world has to offer. So many people are wasting so much time just to appease each other’s egos and create these fake constructs of themselves that experience joy every time they share every minute detail of their lives. Try quitting it. I will be sitting here with coffee and a book waiting for you.

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About the Creator

Abdullah Masood

Hi I'm a young guy looking to write on stuff I find interesting and fun so hello and enjoy!

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