Social Media is dead, long live Social Media

facebeast.jpg

Yesterday I deleted my personal and author Facebook accounts. Permanently.

This has nothing much to do with the current customer data scandal, though the timing makes it a specious notion. Actually, this is the culmination of years of frustration with the platform and a long on-again-off-again relationship that, for me, was ultimately toxic. I have put so much mental and emotional energy into Facebook over the years and, yes, there have been some good things born of that energy; friendships, collaborations, networks that may otherwise not have been possible.

But the cost is too high.

I don’t know what it is about Facebook, but no matter how I try to cultivate my experience into something that I want and can be happy with, it quickly becomes an overwhelming and negative space for me. All the cute memes, words of support, constructive feedback, and glimpses into people’s lives end up drowning in bitterness, cynicism, negativity, and anger. And I can’t stay away from it. The worse I feel, the more I want to jump in and immerse myself in it all. Misery loves company, I guess. But I realized that Facebook has become a catalyst for depression and anxiety for me.

Well, no more. I’ve tried limiting my hours per day, my days per week, and temporarily deactivating my account. Those brief unplugged interludes have been wonderful. I get more done, I feel better about myself, I feel more in control of my life. But I always get drawn back into the thick of it, and the cycle starts again.

So I went for the permanent delete. I know to some people this seems like an extreme step in the name of productivity. But I need it, and I feel like I’m ready for the next stage. Facebook is dead. It has been dead for a long time. I was stubbornly trying to breathe life into it at the expense of my own.

I know I’m not alone, either. I’ve talked to a lot of people with similar feelings, but for some reason admitting that it’s time to cut those ties is a really hard thing to do. I tried to plant enough breadcrumbs that friends and acquaintances can find me. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to everyone. While planning my Facebook exit did feel a bit like planning my own funeral, I’m still here. Please don’t be afraid to reach out if I missed you.

Already I feel a weight has lifted! I actually find myself baffled by the amount of suddenly free time I have without The Book. Maybe others will join me in stepping away, too, whether because of privacy concerns or because of similar emotional discontent. Facebook has had a good run, but isn’t it time for something new?

This is my plan:

I’d like to spend more time in the WordPress community, networking with other writers and artists. I still plan to keep my Instagram account active and stick to writing-related posts. And, of course, I’ll be writing more, whether that is book reviews, interviews, and blog articles, or my own fiction.

Mostly, I want to explore. I want to find things on my own, and form my own opinions on them without reading a hundred other people opinions first. I want to sort out my own world and where I fit into it, without that being filtered through a screen and the voices of everyone I know.

Wish me luck! And don’t be a stranger.