I joined Facebook in 2007. My then-boyfriend, now- husband and I were sitting in his parents living room (we were still in high school) on my laptop. He asked if I had a Facebook account and I didn’t know what the heck that meant. He explained it as the next best Myspace. I was a big fan of Myspace. He set up my Facebook profile. I needed a profile picture, so we took what is mostly commonly referred to today as a “selfie”. Anyone remember turning your bulky digital camera around, sticking your arm out awkwardly, trying your hardest to line up the frame, and pressing the shutter not knowing what you’re actually capturing. (After a while though, you get a good feel as to how and where to aim the camera- kids have it so much easier these days with the front-facing cameras.)
I’d like to title this photo: Babies.
That was that. I had a Facebook account. I used it A LOT in my remaining high school year and throughout college. Shortly after college, when I fell out of contact with both high school and college friends, there was a noticeable drop-off. Why did I need Facebook now? D and I were living together now, so I didn’t really need to contact him online.
Then my family started to join. Mother and sister in law, cousins I hadn’t seen in years and was excited to reconnect with, aunts, uncles, brother, mother, ETC! Like wildfire family were joining Facebook. Said family started posting BIG life changing status updates. Had I not seen on Facebook, I probably would not have been otherwise notified. Hence why I’ve kept and still have a Facebook account. I’m scared of missing out on big news.
When D and I found out we were pregnant, I did a HUGE unfriend spree. I only wanted to share news with people I still talk to and not the once-a-year-birthday-wishers. I wanted a more intimate Facebook experience. I cut my 200+ friends list down to about 80 people – all family and close friends – and tightened my privacy settings. I was happy with that for a bit, but now I’m having thoughts of deleting.
Politics: The major one being politics. This election season was brutal and people were vocal. I had family who used Trump as their doorway to openly express their hate, racism, and sexism. I had never known they felt this way and honestly it kind of disgusts me. One family member in particular who is so close to me has such hateful thoughts that literally have made me cry (attribute a little of that to pregnancy hormones, but devoid pregnancy hormones, I’m sure I still would have cried.). Our relationship has changed dramatically due to these hidden, harbored feelings and it’s affecting the way I want them to interact with my child. Can you blame me for not wanting to surround my son with such hate? If I’m being honest, this is the main reason the idea of deletion came about. I don’t want to know that I came from such hate, such close-minded, judgmental people. I don’t want to see them cheer when a woman’s right to take care of her own body has been brutally ripped from her. I don’t want to see their odious graphics bashing Senator Clinton. Yes, it was a brutal election and neither candidate seemed perfect for the job, but do you really need to bash someone so heinously? I’m just utterly disgusted.
Mindless, time waster: Before smartphones, when I needed to pass time, I opened a book. Now I mindlessly scroll through Facebook. I don’t like that is has come to this. I want to get back to opening a book or doing something much more productive. I think if I remove Facebook, I’ll get more reading in, maybe play more games, more knitting, etc. It’s the same when I boot up my computer – open browser, type in Facebook, forget all of why I originally booted up the computer. When Andy is here, I don’t want to feel that pull to check Facebook when I’m spending time with him. It’s a compulsive behavior for me. ‘I have a free second – must check Facebook.’ I don’t want to think like that.
Andy: Speaking of when Andy is here, I don’t want to post pictures of him all the time. I’m going to take pictures of him all the time, of course, and the ones that come out great, I’m going to feel compelled to publish to Facebook. Proud mommy bragging, ya know? I don’t think Facebook has a setting yet where I can disable the “Share” feature. The whole idea just doesn’t sit very well with me. Like, anyone could save that photo and do whatever they wanted with it. I don’t like that. That being said, we’re not going full-on no posting photos ever, we’re just going to limit the amount of photos posted until he’s old enough to voice his own opinion.
Keeping all that in mind, there’s one major reason keeping me from going forth and deleting.
Family: If I delete, I will be completely isolated from and out-of-the-loop entirely of family happenings. Sure, I’ll get bits and pieces from my husband, but even he is not friends with the majority of his family on Facebook and he isn’t friends with all of mine, making for some huge gaps. This is holding me back. I don’t want to sever these ties with instant family news and pictures. We have a family member who is about to get married and I love seeing their planning updates and don’t want to miss their honeymoon photos. We have a cousin who has been in a serious relationship – if they announce an engagement, I don’t want to miss that! I’ve got FOMO!
So I’m in this weird state where I really want to, but scared of what that’ll mean for family ties. It’s my current struggle. I think I’m going to take a Facebook break and see how I feel after a few weeks.
D mentioned people taking similar breaks from other social media sites. They have a friend/spouse change their password and give it back when they’re through with their break. It prevents them from logging in and breaking their time away. I am considering trying this out.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you deleted your Facebook account or know someone that did? Please tell me about it in the comments. Thank you so much for reading, I know that was a long one. I’ll see you next time!