Recently, I decided to make the somewhat-big decision to leave Facebook, for good.
There were a lot of reasons to stay—including the ability to maintain connections with more people and grow my reach as a writer.
However, when I looked at my pros and cons of leaving, the former won out.
I know Facebook provides a lot of value for many, and you may be one of them.
So, please know that when I provide the following list of reasons for leaving, I’m only referring to what I believe is right for me at this time in my life.
Here are 7 reasons I decided to leave Facebook:
- Data privacy and security. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about this, so I won’t expound here. Instead, I encourage you to type in the phrase, “Facebook data privacy breach” and you’ll get a hefty list of articles from various sources about this well-known issue—including the fact that Facebook can still track user data after account deletion. Ugh.
- Quality of relationships. Although Facebook allows me to be aware of what more people are doing in their lives, it doesn’t help me to engage more deeply with them on a 1:1 level. I’d really rather enjoy a phone call, share a meal, or grab a cup of coffee (even have a conversation in a text) with someone than try to communicate within a party line environment or on the Messenger app—where Facebook may still be listening in.
- Quality of conversations. Along the same lines, I’d rather tell someone directly how wonderful their photos are so we can share a 1:1 conversation rather than do it with all of their friends sitting in the same room.
- Writing growth. Honestly, being on Facebook has made me a lazy digital writer. I say that in the context of using the platform to extend my reach—which is something writers who want to get published are told is a necessity. While Facebook may be an effective tool for doing so through increasing the number of followers and using targeted ads, relying on it in this way means I’ve focused less on the essentials of effective online writing—like keyword research and search engine optimization techniques. Thankfully, I’ve recently returned to both.
- Content ownership. Along the same lines, since Facebook owns the platform, it controls access to the content I publish there based on its ever-changing algorithms. Building an online presence solely on social media—which I fear too many writers are doing—amounts to renting, instead of owning, your digital presence.
- Time management. No matter how firmly I committed to completing a certain task or allotting a specific amount of time on Facebook, I usually found myself racing down the proverbial rabbit trail on a regular basis. I have so many other things I want to focus on, it just isn’t worth the distraction it causes.
- Peace of mind. The emotions that churn through my newsfeed are a little overwhelming at times—as is my response to them. Of course I care and want to pray for those in need, and I do. But by the time I get to that adorable animal video to cheer me up, I usually need it. I don’t think God intended for us to absorb all of the troubles and negative emotions of our hundreds of friends on an ongoing basis. Instead, I think He wants us to do life together in a more balanced and connected way—sharing each others joys and sorrows on an individual basis rather than through messages of mass communication.
I’ll be honest, the first few days of being off Facebook were an adjustment. I know I won’t be able to stay connected to as many people as before, but that’s okay. I’d rather enjoy quality relationships with a few than a shallow awareness of many.
I also enjoy the peacefulness I experience without the roar of my newsfeed beckoning me to jump in. It’s not an exaggeration. Facebook actually texted me to remind me to wish a friend happy birthday when my activity level dropped off.
As for my writing career and whether my move will limit my options for publication of all that I have planned—I’m pretty sure God doesn’t need Facebook to accomplish His purposes for what’s ahead.
This post first appeared in the December 7, 2019 edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter.
Feature photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash.