Facebook Profile Deleted

unplugIt is funny that today’s Daily Post Prompt is “Delivery” as today is the day that my Facebook profile was scheduled for irrecoverable deletion. And yet, the result of this has been a number of things that feel like they’ve been delivered to me.

Time: I got a massive delivery of free time from leaving Facebook. It had become a huge time sink for me as I could spend quite some time posting there and then checking back, responding to posts, liking other posts, hoping for likes on mine. And like in the old days before we got rid of TV it promised an infinite loop of surfing to see what was on. “Surely there’s something I’ll like here. Let’s keep scrolling to find out!” I certainly continue to spend time on the computer, my job requires it, and other things like this blog – both writing and trying to build an audience, Hindi practice, and a bit of time at twitter where I’m connecting with folks but also trying to build an audience there as well.

This blog: I blogged from 1999 to about 2007 and then, when Facebook came along it petered out. My writing impulse faded away as somehow posting statuses and photos and seeing their reactions felt like enough. But writing here has allowed me to reconnect with my writing in a way that no number of clever statuses ever would.

Online connections: Facebook proved to be a good way in some ways to feel connected. There was always someone around to like a post, leave, or respond to a comment. But it was a gated community. Few new people came along and in that sense it became an echo chamber. I’ve got a number of new follwers here and many have already connected in one way or another which as been really cool.

Offline connections: In theory, Facebook enhances this. We connect online and make great plans to meet and catch up. But what do we catch up on when we’ve seen each other’s statuses for months?  “So I’m going on a bike tour next week, I’m really excited!” “Yeah, I know, I saw your post all about it.”  was a common sort of offline interaction. On the other hand, while we’re there some of us are editing to only put positive information out, while others are trying to maintain their personal privacy. The result is a set of bland, middle of the road posts often missing big news. In the time since I left Facebook, I’ve had one person I follow there tell me they were homeless for a year, another that they had been split up with their spouse for over three years. None of this was clear from any posts we saw on Facebook.  I must admit, though, that it has been quite difficult to get a number of folks to connect via email. It seems to be heading the way of letter writing in terms of “lost arts”. Fortunately for many folks, it seems that connecting in person is still something they like to do and so I’ve been doing that.

Focus: OK, this one isn’t entirely Facebook related, but it bears mentioning anyway as it is related and happened about the same time.  In the past month I’ve removed anything personal from my work laptop and no longer use it for anything but work and the occasional email home. My browser profile hasn’t got any interesting links in it as it is a different profile than my home one.  I have a separate Chromebook for personal and fun use. I have also removed any of the usual time sinks from my phone and turned off 90% of my notifications including work and personal email. If I want those I’ll check them.  Folks who know me know that they should text me if anything urgent comes up.  The result of this is that my phone is completely unattractive to me. There’s nothing of interest on it so it stays in my pocket. This makes the book in my backpack about 100x more interesting.

Books: Speaking of books, I’ve been reading more. In part because of the things I talked about above, but additionally because of another change we’ve made.  I’ve created a schedule for our home wifi router.  It turns off promptly at 9:00 PM. This means that unless we are watching an actual VHS or DVD (Daegan has both still), we aren’t going to be watching anything after 9:00 PM (11 on weekends), nor will we be browsing the web.  If, by some chance, something important comes up and I absolutely must get on the Internet (it hasn’t happened yet but who knows?) I have a hard-wired connection on my work laptop.

It’s been a very exciting and productive experiment and I’m so glad I’ve done it. I am very unlikely to every go back. There are a few more tweaks coming with focus on cooking, language learning and exercise. I’ll keep you posted on those.

11 thoughts on “Facebook Profile Deleted

  1. Wow, deleting your FB and having your router turn off at 9pm? You’re almost Amish! lol just kidding, that’s awesome that you’re enjoying it and don’t plan on going back. There are not a lot of people in the world that would be able to do what you’re doing!

    1. Yeah – it wasn’t easy the first couple of times I tried it. The trick for me, like I said to Gail above (or will it be below? I guess we’ll see when this posts) is to keep up the social activity but move it offline. And of course to do other things I love like go on long bike rides and read more books. It’s rather shocking how much less I read after starting on Facebook – and how much harder it was for a book to keep my attention. I’m glad to see that’s coming back.

      1. I have my Facebook and I occasionally share funny memes but nothing’s better than reading!

        I’ve never really shared statuses and such on FB though so, it doesn’t really grab my attention for too long. I just started WordPress and it has consumed me a lot more than FB now and I barely open it but I don’t think I’d be able to delete it!

        I’m glad you’re getting back into reading, like I said, nothing beats it! Go you! 😊

    2. I can see how WordPress can consume a person. It is starting to for me as well. On the other hand, I like where it is taking me. Being consumed by it means I’m writing again, and writing means I’m being more introspective (in a good way) and motivated to try interesting new things as well so it works beautifully all around.

      And I meet new and interesting folks as well that I’d never meet on Facebook as I’m sure you, and the others in most of the comments here are more than a few degrees of separation from me on Facebook but right next door here and I’m glad about that.

  2. Good for you! I deleted my Facebook account in August of 2012 so am celebrating 5 years of Facebook sobriety! I’ve never looked back. My friends said I’d be back but I don’t think so. I’ll admit, it was hard at first and I do at times feel out of the loop. My blog readership most definitely decreased when I went off Facebook. But right now, I still have no desire to go back.

    1. Hi Gail – nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by!

      Hee! “Facebook Sobriety” – that is both hilarious and somewhat accurate. I’ve tried many times before and felt completely left out of everything and disconnected. This time I restarted blogging and inviting people to get together and emailed those who couldn’t get together. Filling in the gap with things that I genuinely liked was a huge help.

      My readership dropped for about 3 weeks but now it’s getting back to where it was pre-Facebook as my followers grow. I’m hopeful that will continue.

  3. Hi Todd, I had deactivated my FB account twice before actually deleting it (one of those times I actually gave it up for Lent). It got easier with each passing day. I was stunned at how many of my FB friends actually emailed me to tell they missed my blog or said they were sorry I had stopped blogging? I tried explaining I had NOT quit blogging and they could still prescribe to it, but it never seemed to sink in. Glad to hear your readership had built back up!

  4. Congratulations. I’m sure you’ll get much more from blogging than FBing, and a lot more from reading blogs than reading FB statuses.
    I rarely even glance at Facebook, and I was planning to dump it early last year (since I don’t use it, I’d float through the cold turkey) but then a friend who I’d lost contact with years ago managed to find me through that channel, so I thought I may as well leave my profile in place. Apart from that, it’s useful to have messenger, since I know a few people who don’t have contract phones, and they often run out of credit, so they message me on messenger instead.

    1. Oh for sure – Messenger is something I can see the value of. A surprising number of people I know have all but given up email entirely but they will still use messenger.

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