50 Ways of Leaving Facebook

The problem is all inside your phone, she said to me
The answer is easy if you take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle to be free
There must be fifty ways of leaving Facebook

She said, it’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways of leaving Facebook
Fifty ways of leaving Facebook

You just stop posting stuff, Duff
Read a good book, Brooke
You don’t need to scroll, Joel
Just get yourself free

Find a new friend, Ben
Get a real life again
Then hit delete, Pete
And get yourself free

Go ahead, admit it, you sang that last part, didn’t you?? I did when I read it to Angie, and even though my first name might indicate otherwise, I am in no way musically inclined. In short, it was not something you’d want to hear. But maybe this is…

After much (internal) debate, I have deleted the Facebook page associated with this blog, as well as almost all of my own personal social media accounts. If you just started following us on Facebook, my apologies. The truth is, I have never understood the purpose of a “business” Facebook page when you’re not in the business of anything. I don’t want to sell you a product. I’m not trying to drive traffic to this site (folks are finding it well enough on their own). I don’t cross-post to Facebook to promote my blog posts. Actually, I hardly ever even visit the MND Facebook page, except on those rare occasions when I remember that I need to load a few memes to auto-post during the month. So, being that I could not justify having it nor did it bring me joy, I did what any good minimalist would do – I got rid of it. Boy did that feel good!

When I took some time off from blogging last year, it was because I felt overwhelmed and uninspired. Our life, like the world around us, was stalled and I didn’t feel like I was doing anything worth writing about, much less posting to Facebook. It was during this time that I noticed something odd. Even though I wasn’t posting to Facebook, I kept getting notifications of likes and comments, but when I would go there, there would be no comments and the likes were never to the degree that the notifications made it seem. So I began to wonder, is Facebook sending me these messages to get me to post more? Turns out, I was probably correct.

We recently watched the documentary, The Social Dilemma, on Netflix. Already aware of the detrimental effects of mindless scrolling, we figured there was not a lot left to learn, but we were interested in hearing the arguments anyway. So, yeah, we were wrong. There was a lot we had no idea about – like how ad targeting really works, what Facebook does with all that data, and that notifications are often sent intentionally by an algorithm for the sole purpose of getting you back on screen. Yes, you read that right. All those notification that I was getting while offline were not all real likes and comments. They were nudges from Facebook because I wasn’t filling my obligation to scroll past all those advertisements that they were being paid to put in front of me.

I’m not here to condemn social media. God knows, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of the past decade posting, liking, sharing, and scrolling. It is, as I’ve said before, a good source of information about local happenings and events and a way to maintain connection to folks you may have otherwise lost touch with. So I’m not anti-Facebook. I just don’t know if it’s worth all the time we give to it, so I’m taking a step back from our relationship. I need space. And the only way to get that is a trial separation.

Along with deleting our business page, I’m going Facebook-free with my personal page for the entire month of March. Kind of like Ryan from The Minimalists putting all of his belongings in boxes and only taking out what he needed for a month, I’m putting Facebook in a virtual box and opening it only if/when I have a real need for it – though right here today, I can’t imagine what a real need for Facebook might look like. So we’ll see how this goes.

The way I figure it, even if I’m only spending 10 minutes a day on Facebook, that’s 300 minutes a month! So what will I do with those 5 extra hours freed up from scrolling?

I’ll knit a new hat, Pat
Read a good book, Brooke
Bake a big bread, Fred
And enjoy being free

Call up a friend, Ben
Feel like I’m alive again
Take a long hike, Mike
And enjoy being free