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Why I Am Not On Facebook And The Benefits Of It

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“Distracted from distraction by distraction.”  – T.S. Eliot

I get asked all the time why I’m not on Facebook, so I thought I would share my thoughts with you. The main reason was that I was a compulsive user of Facebook. It was the ultimate distraction. I couldn’t even wait in line without checking the Facebook App on my mobile phone. I’d be going about my day and Status Updates would constantly pop into my head. It was a bad habit.

Facebook has also changed a lot since I first joined in 2007. It used to be a valuable tool for keeping in touch with people, but it turned into constant advertisements and people began only posting internet memes. I wasn’t getting any value from it. I also became uneasy about the level of privacy. On the personal side, I became uncomfortable with sharing information with people I hardly knew, and the idea of “Facebook Stalking” made me uneasy as I’m a private person. I felt like I didn’t have complete control of the information that was posted online about myself. Also, the fact that Facebook now owns the right to do anything they want with your data is frightening. Facebook caused more anxiety than real life did.

Lastly, Facebook felt very superficial to me. We always like to make our online persona our ideal versions of ourselves, so I felt when I was looking at my ‘friend’s’ pages, it wasn’t a real representation. I thought it was pointless as I would rather have real connections with the people in my life. I’m lucky that I avoid drama, but I could definitely see how it could be toxic for those of us who are drawn towards it. I fear what bullying is like for kids still in school.

I am fully aware of the benefits of social media – it’s extremely useful for keeping in touch with people, marketing, networking, job search and spreading information. But I prefer to rely on websites that are less personal and be a bit choosier on what info goes out.

So with that in mind, I gathered the contacts of the people I wanted to keep in touch with and decided to delete my account. I’m proud to say I’ve been Facebook Free for just over a year! This blog is about minimalism and getting rid of distractions in order to live a more meaningful life, and getting rid of Facebook was a great introduction into it.

It’s funny because at first I kept reaching for my phone only to realize there was no more Facebook App. And I (still to this day) unknowingly type “www.faceb…” into my internet browser only to realize halfway through I can’t log on. But aside from that, there were so many benefits that came out of getting rid of my Facebook account.

The 5 benefits of not being on Facebook:

  • More Time: One of the main benefits of not having Facebook is how much time I suddenly had. I was so much more productive! I could write more music, work on more projects and have more time to spend it with people I cared about. I could also spend more time enjoying the outdoors or cooking a delicious meal.
  • Deeper Connections with People: The second most important benefit I had was that the level of depth to my friendships and relationships increased. Without the ability to check in on how people were doing online, I was able to have real meaningful conversations, you know, like we did in the old days 😉
  • More Privacy: I had more personal privacy and control over the info that was posted online about myself, and I had privacy from the Facebook information thieves.
  • Living in the Moment: Being less fixated on the online world helped me to become more present and aware of my surroundings. I was able to truly enjoy the here and now.
  • Higher Self Esteem: There have been studies that Facebook makes us unhealthy, sad and jealous because we compare ourselves to others. Well I can say with confidence that it hardly comes up for me anymore as I can’t peer into anyone’s lives.

And finally, a wonderful song a friend sent me that is somewhat related. I’m quite enjoying Passenger. There are many songs about getting rid of distractions and the superficial world and more into meaningful, happy living.

“Scare Away The Dark”

Well, sing, sing at the top of your voice,

Love without fear in your heart.
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

We wish our weekdays away
Spend our weekends in bed
Drink ourselves stupid
And work ourselves dead
And all just because that’s what mom and dad said we should do

We should run through the forest
We should swim in the streams
We should laugh, we should cry,
We should love, we should dream
We should stare at the stars and not just the screens
You should hear what I’m saying and know what it means

To sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Love without fear in your heart.
Feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

Well, we wish we were happier, thinner and fitter,
We wish we weren’t losers and liars and quitters
We want something more not just nasty and bitter
We want something real not just hash tags and Twitter

It’s the meaning of life and it’s streamed live on YouTube
But I bet Gangnam Style will still get more views
We’re scared of drowning, flying and shooters
But we’re all slowly dying in front of computers

So sing, sing at the top of your voice,
Oh, love without fear in your heart.
Can you feel, feel like you still have a choice
If we all light up we can scare away the dark

I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook. Feel free to share them in the comments below or send me an email at lessoftheexcess at gmail dot com.

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13 Comments

  1. Alison

    Hi Pia,
    A traveller from Miss Minimalist here 🙂

    I joined Facebook in early `09 and quite enjoyed it. I never got totally into it but I noticed it was becoming a time waster so I quit.

    I reactivated last December because I had been reading a website I was thoroughly enjoying and they asked me to log into Facebook to keep reading which was annoying but I have encountered this numerous times now so I keep it open mainly for this reason.

    Now Instagram… that’s another story 🙂

    I’m loving your blog. I have been a minimalist as far back as I can remember, even before it had a name, and I so enjoy reading blogs of fellow simplifiers. So many shut them down or are abandoned so I really love finding a new one.

    Love and Light,
    Alison

    • Pia Edberg

      Thanks so much Alison! I am glad that you are enjoying the blog, and equally happy to meet like minded people. I agree, Facebook can be a huge time waster, and it’s a bit frustrating when we have to log into Facebook to keep reading something haha.

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  3. […] taking a break from the research and absorbing, and doing a little more, doing. I’ve already disconnected from Facebook and have noticed a huge benefit of the extra time I got […]

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  5. johnvendettas@hotmail.com

    Just on month 1 of not having a facebook account. I like how you’ve stated the main benefits and even if it doesnt seems so, reading the benefits of deactivating your FB is quite motivating 🙂 ! Hope you can carry on without Facebook, and i hope i’ll never have to use it again. Totally waste of time and making me jealous etc (like you said ) so.. Thanks again 🙂

  6. Hi Pia! I’m writing a post on my goals for the month and one of them is less Facebook to quit being jealous and to be more in the moment with my life. I ran across you post while researching. I adore it! Are you still Facebook free?

  7. JCAmber

    Hi, I have never had a facebook account. I never felt the compulsion to join as I did not understand the concept of putting all your personal information online and spending hours following up on people I don’t know or barely know. Im not interested in what all these people are doing, its difficult enough for me to keep up with all the physical people and experiences in my life. I worked with computers for years and learned to appreciate my time away from computers – I always cherished those times I could leave work on a Friday evening and not sit in front of a pc again until Monday!! Most of the people I know are on facebook so I have learned how it works – albeit second hand, but it astounds me how people can spend so much of their precious time online communicating with virtual strangers/people they know yet if they come face to face with their facebook counterparts they don’t even speak to each other?????? Like I said I did not and still do not understand the facebook premise/concept.

  8. Mark

    I knew I’m not missing out on anything important by not being Facebook addict.

  9. Very nice i also deleted my facebook ac last year
    Living real life ..

  10. Lady

    Hello, I’m glad to see this article, I have never started facebook and it is not difficult for me since I like my privacy and I like to keep in touch with just the important people in my life through talking or sending pictures through emails. I came to a realization recently when I saw a close friend of mine I had not seen for a long time. I was sooo happy to see her and very excited but surprisingly, she didn’t seem as excited as I was. Come to find out, she knows pretty much a lot about my life through facebook since my husband updates his every now and then. At that point, I was disappointed and kind a sad at the same time. I guess from my friends point of view, since she get’s to see how we’ve been doing on facebook, it didn’t seem like we haven’t seen each other. I was ready to have a meaningful conversation about how her life has been and what I’ve been doing since the last time we saw each other but the conversation was hardly that, it was not how I expected to be when I see a old friend of mine.
    Times have changed, that’s for sure, and that’s technology but I choose not to facebook.

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  12. A Somewhat Reluctant Facebook User

    I was also a compulsive/regular user of facebook back in 2004-2005, not long after folks started using facebook. Unfortunately that was a terrible decision/use of my time, as I let it distract me from far more important things like my studies. I finally decided to purge my account of all my contacts and deactivated my facebook account in 2006/2007 (forgot exactly when) and am proud to say that I have been Facebook free until 2012.

    Why did I reactivate my account then? Well, my sister has been on fb and keeps uploading pictures of her kids, so I mainly wanted to see those pics without having to bug her about them every time. I then also found facebook useful for adding various relatives and family friends, most of whom I rarely get to see in real life. I drew the line there – no adding actual friends on facebook for me, I don’t want to end up unintentionally ignoring someone on facebook due to having too many contacts/”friends”! I am also a private person, so I don’t post any updates on my life on facebook (I used to post various pictures of animals/nature/a couple of family members and myself, but have stopped doing so). I guess facebook is all right, I don’t use it often enough to be bothered by ads/random updates from others/stalkers. I am not very comfortable with friends posting pics including me on facebook on their profiles (I only know this because they tell me about the pics), but then again, they have the right to post what they want on their profiles and the pics are harmless, so I guess I don’t have the heart to ask them to not post the pics. Oh well.

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