I can’t seem to quit Facebook
Facebook has, somehow, only been around since 2004 (although it probably feels a lot longer to most people). In just a few short years, what started as a (mostly) harmless social media site has become a ubiquitous part of the lives of billions of people around the world and a crucial means in which to communicate with our friends, families, and colleagues.
In more recent years, there have been countless controversies surrounding Facebook, particularly in regards to how the company handles our data as well as their role in upholding democracy (they don’t do well on either front). And yet, despite everything bad about Facebook and how overuse of social media is known to affect our mental health, I just can’t seem to quit it.
Social media, and Facebook specifically, have loomed over my friendships and romantic relationships for my entire life (or at least since I was 12). From digital photo albums and messaging capabilities, to event planning and knowing all about your relationship statuses (how else were we supposed to know if something was going to last if it wasn’t “Facebook Official”?), Facebook has, whether I like it or not, had a large impact on my life. While I can remember a time before Facebook (anyone younger than me may have a harder time), I’m unsure if I’ll ever feel comfortable completely ditching my account.
Which is an uncomfortable feeling, mostly because I’m usually one of the first people to admit how much I dislike the tech giant and how badly it seems to handle almost any problem that comes its way. So why the hell do I keep my account?
Despite how much I don’t like Facebook, there are too many people in my life that do, and ultimately I’m worried how severing that form of communication will affect my life. Which isn’t a great reason, but it’s a more difficult choice than it seems on the surface.
Most of that comes from my own insecurities. I honestly don’t know if people will remember to invite me to things if I don’t make myself as easy to get in touch with as possible. And how are most people supposed to get in touch with me expect for Facebook? Since so many of us are on social media these days, there is less of an incentive to actually have each others’ emails and phone numbers.
Nowadays, people make plans in all sorts of different apps (Snapchat is the worst; don’t make plans in Snapchat) and it’s rare (at least in my experience) for people to reach out over text, assuming they even have your number in the first place. Also, can I spend the rest of this paragraph complaining about the utter abomination that is group text messages? How is there no easy way to leave one of those?! I wish I could use that to get in touch with people, but I refuse to put anyone through that.
Even when I had an office job, I frequently missed events and meetings because I wasn’t on the right email chain or Slack channel, but at least I still had access to those platforms and could take the proper steps to remedy my lack of involvement. How am I supposed to maintain friendships if I’m not on the biggest social media website in the world?
And I’m aware that part of that is simply due to Facebook’s business model. They want me to see Facebook as an indispensable tool and keep using it so they can keep making money on ad revenue. But the problem is, despite the fact that we were all fine with the ways we communicated with each other pre-2004, society went and made it essential anyway. While there are people out there that don’t have Facebook accounts, they often get branded by others as weird or antisocial for their choice. No one can realistically be on all the popular social media sites (and still check them regularly), but you at least have to be on Facebook, right?
So, I still have a Facebook account, and I still check it somewhat regularly. I’ve been trying to check it less, to make it feel like the social media company has less of a stranglehold over my social life. It’s been slow going so far, but I’ve been making some strides. For one, I don’t have the Facebook app on my phone anymore. Being forced to check my Feed on my laptop or through the internet browser on my phone makes the experience clunkier, and I feel less inclined to keep scrolling.
But I do still check it; I can’t help it. I tried to set up email alerts for event invites a while ago, since that’s the biggest reason why I still stick around, but so far they haven’t been working (because of course, right?). I’m hoping I’ll get to a point where if I keep limiting my time on that stupid site, I’ll eventually realize I don’t actually need it and I can finally delete my Facebook account. But for now, I’m just going to use it less than I have been and that’s going to have to be good enough.