I’ve been considering leaving Facebook for some time.
But I was surprised with how hard the decision actually was once I got there.
Like many people, I joined the social media powerhouse a long time ago. Before they owned Instagram and WhatsAp. Long before data privacy was a concern. If I remember right, MySpace might have still been a thing when I first created my Facebook account. Remember MySpace?
Yeah, that was a long time ago.
I think therein lies the reason why it was so hard to finally make the decision to leave.
Like many of you, I grew my friends list over the years, connecting with people I’ve known, both closely and superficially, all the way back to high school. I posted opinions, funny memes and even participated in a few heated debates over various topics (not my favorite thing to do).
Over the last four years I grew a small following on The Ealy Homestead page, posting content daily and connecting with likeminded people desiring to live the homestead life. For the most part, this was a positive experience, and where I spent the majority of my social media focus this past year.
So why am I leaving?
The answer is pretty simple.
I want my life back. Let me explain.
Over the years I’ve developed some very bad habits.
Do you ever find yourself scrolling your news feed aimlessly, mostly out of boredom? How often do you check your phone, hoping for a like, comment or some kind of notification that someone responded to something?
On average, Americans check their phones at least 80 times per day. We spend an average of 5 hours per day on our phones, 2.5 of those hours on social media. That’s 35 hours a week staring at a phone, in case you were wondering.
The time many of us spend on our smartphones is equivalent to working a full time job. Let that sink in.
That may not bother a good majority of the 272 million Americans using smartphones, but it bothers me.
You see, I set out a while ago to live a more intentional life. To be a better husband, a better father, a better leader in my community and tribe. I also want to be a better disciple, living a more convicted and faithful life. I believe that social media is getting in the way of achieving all of this.
How can I give my kids the attention they need if I’m staring at a screen? How can I truly say that my mind is devoted to God if I am constantly thinking about what kind of content I should capture? How can I say I’m free when I’m chained to my smartphone?
We are giving away time to a platform that has been designed to infiltrate our lives.
Think about that for a moment.
I don’t like how social media has changed the way I think, the way I see the world and the way I respond to others. It has become too much of an integral part of my daily life. And frankly, I don’t like how platforms like Facebook have shaped our social behavior over the past decade.
We’ve retreated into our own little tribes of ideology and have lost empathy for others. We have lost the ability to criticize and debate ideas without attacking the person who holds those ideas.
Facebook gave us the ability to connect with just about anybody on the planet. On the surface that looks like a good thing. But that superficial connection has made us more lonely, more angry and more divided than ever.
Tell me I’m wrong.
Facebook has recently taken it upon themselves to shape and influence collective thought by controlling the information we have access to on their platform. Ideas that are contrary to a prescribed narrative are censored “for our own safety”. This in and of itself is concerning, but when millions of Americans now turn to social media as their main source of information, it begins to be real a problem.
And let’s not forget about the mountains of data mined from every account that gets sold to companies so they can target us through customized advertising. Every time we log into Facebook, we become the product that is being sold. This results in billions of dollars of revenue for a company who not only greatly influences how we think but now knows everything about how we live as well…and sells that information to the higher bidder.
I don’t want to participate any longer.
I’m hungry for authentic relationships and the opportunity to share our lives in a meaningful way. I believe we need to return to a deeper form of connection, where we invest our time in loving our neighbors and contributing to the welfare of own communities. Where we no longer hide behind a façade puffed up with filtered pictures and clever posts.
I understand this is counter culture to the direction our society is going. It’s an old fashioned idea that many will simply dismiss, although I know I’m not the only one coming out of 2020 who feels like this.
Life is too short.
Think about all the things that we tell ourselves we would do “if we just had the time”. Deactivate your Facebook account and go do them.
Let’s learn to live in the moment again and be present for the people in our lives. What are we missing by starting at our phones?
What about Instagram?
In general, I think the things I listed above apply to most social media platforms out there. Too much time spent on any one of them will lead to problems. (Click here to read more)
I don’t plan on returning to Facebook, but haven’t made my mind up on Instagram. Instagram is owned by Facebook, so all of the data concerns I have are equally relevant. But I haven’t figured out another way to stay connected with all other homesteaders that keep me inspired yet.
For now, I deleted the app from my phone and will see where that leads.
There’s no drama intended in this post. I just felt like I needed to get some things off my chest. This decision was hard for me, which in and of itself is a red flag. But I guess I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
Is there life outside of Facebook? Oh yes, dear friends. There is life indeed.
And I’m going to spend this next year learning how to enjoy it once again.