I made a decision that I should have made a few years ago. I deleted my Facebook profile. I have wanted to do this many times before but could never pull the trigger. I logged out of Facebook a couple of times for an extended period, but I always ended up back there. You can read about that here.
Let me start by saying that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Facebook. The fact that there is a service that lets us share our lives and stay connected easier is a pretty amazing thing. The problem is not with Facebook, it’s with much of the content within Facebook.
I can’t recall how long ago it was, but I realized that Facebook had started to become a place where people go to complain about stuff. Just about every post in my newsfeed was a complaint. I would go on Facebook to see what my friends were up to and I would end up depressed by the end of it. Either Facebook was only deciding to show me negative posts or those are the only posts that stuck out to me. Facebook has allowed people to complain about their lives rather than taking responsibility. It’s easy to post to Facebook in an attempt to get sympathy from our friends. It’s actually kind of sad and it doesn’t help anybody.
There has been a change in society during the past 5-6 years. People used to be able to share their opinion without being ran over for it. We used to be able to accept the fact that people had an opinion other than our own. That has changed. We can still share our opinion, but if it goes against anything the media is focusing on, it is best left unspoken. I realized that the bulk of the people I was connected to on Facebook cared more about trivial things than actual travesties. I tried to filter my Facebook newsfeed, but Facebook makes it a pain in the butt to customize the content that you prefer to see.
About two years ago I stopped accepting every friend request that came in. I realized that my newsfeed was so cluttered that I couldn’t see updates from people I was actually connected to. I tried creating custom newsfeeds, but that was a pain to manage. I was not going to go through 4924 friends at the time and manually clean house. To be honest, I even considered hiring someone to do it for me.
My frustration came to a boil last week when I realized I had been scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed for 30 minutes and my heart was racing because of the content I had just ingested. I felt like I had just spent the last 30 minutes reading all of the tabloid articles in the grocery store checkout. Just about every post was negative, disgusting, rude or a conflict against something I believe strongly about. During the time I had logged out of Facebook for two months, I was blogging more and able to read more books. I didn’t mindlessly go to Facebook, I intentionally picked up an actual book.
I had entertained the idea of converting my Facebook profile to a Facebook page for a while. A Facebook page is different than a profile. A Facebook page allows you to post updates just as you would a Facebook profile, but you have no newsfeed and people don’t friend your profile. It’s similar to Twitter in the way that people can decide to follow your updates by “liking” your page. Facebook used to allow you to do this conversion while keeping the history you have amassed in your timeline. That is not the case anymore and it was a bitter pill to swallow.
I have always recommended to all of my clients who want to start a Facebook page not to post unique content to Facebook that they hope to never lose. Facebook will most likely not always be the cool place to hang out. All of the content that people poured into Myspace is now worthless or gone in many cases. Depending on how you used Myspace, this may be a good thing. I have been posting to Facebook just shy of 10 years. I joined in 2006 when Facebook began allowing anybody to create an account. That is a low of content to allow to perish. Within the last 10 years, I started dating the woman I would marry. I got married and had children. Much has happened, and the majority of it was shared through Facebook.
Facebook allows you to backup your data. You can download it into this basic looking archive that you can click and scroll through (see mine here). It’s not very searchable but it’s better than nothing. I was able to backup all of my photos in case there were one or two that I had not saved somewhere else. I never take photos inside of the Facebook app so the majority of my photos were saved in Google Photos or iCloud Photos. I realized that I almost never scrolled back into history through my Facebook timeline anyway.
I needed a change. I was wasting a lot of time reading the nonsense that was being posted to Facebook in hopes of coming across something nice someone else had to say. I am afraid that I will miss things. I have been able to pray for people who are going through hard times because I read about it on Facebook. I would have never known about the situation outside of Facebook. My wife and I like to help people when we can and many times we have discovered a need through someone’s Facebook post. I will miss this, but it will make me actually reach out to people to stay connected rather than scroll Facebook in an attempt to get the highlights.
I converted my personal Facebook profile into a Facebook page. I did not want someone else to end up registering http://facebook.com/jeradhill to use it for their own purposes. I will continue to post to Facebook through this page. I converted a personal account that I had for managing Facebook pages before Facebook Business Manager was created so I could remain connected to the Ditch Auto photography group I created. I will not be adding any friends there. I am sure that this will not be a popular choice among many as the Facebook connection just became a one-way road, but I had to make the decision.
To keep connected with people who’s updates I would miss by not having a personal account, I will actually connect with them in person or follow their updates on other social networks such as Twitter or Instagram. I have had this intention many times, and I know it will be hard to do, but I am going to make an effort. Limiting the information intake will help me focus more on my family and my closer friends, who often get overlooked because they don’t post to Facebook that often.
Facebook is still an excellent tool for keeping in contact with people. As a business owner, it’s a fantastic marketing tool as well. This is why I am not leaving Facebook altogether, I am simply limiting the amount of content I consume so I can fill that extra time with what’s closest to me.