In March this year I pulled the plug on Facebook. It was a big decision, and one that had to be taken. It wasn't working for me anymore.
I spent way too much of my time hanging around on that social network, and the value I got back was very small. It wasn't worth it anymore. Real life had become boring. There was no need to talk with friends any longer since I always already knew what they were up to. I wanted the excitement back.
There was one major drawback though that I was considering before quitting and that was how to keep up with all of my 500+ friends I had in there? Contemplating it for a while I realized the wonderful truth: I don't need to. I have an amazing handful of friends that I enjoy catching up with, have a walk with, speak with over the phone and so on. I just love giving them my full attention.
There's absolutely no way I could keep up with 500+ friends in real life so why would I try to do that in my digital life? Just because you can doesn't mean you have to. It was also an experiment, a way for me to changing a habit that had become part of me that I now was questioning. When I planted the seed of closing the account it was scary. I had been living with the social network for over 4 years and got used to it. It was comfortable, safe and warm, so of course it was scary.
At first I rejected the thought completely. There was no way I could leave it. But the thought was persistent, so I started experimenting. Since I couldn't close the account just like that I did it piece for piece, small experiments, one at the time. I turned off the notification stream, I removed some photos, I cleaned up among the pages I liked and so on. Feeling genuinely content with the outcome after every experiment I took another step. I continued until my account was practically empty.
I could have left it at that.
Since the account was empty there was no need to log in anymore, right? But if you want to succeed with something you can't leave too many roads open. If a road is open, sooner or later you'll find yourself walking on it. I hit delete. And that was it.
Half a year later, I've noticed a couple of interesting things about myself. My bond with friends and family are much stronger, I'm a better listener, I'm not as easily drawn to distractions and I feel more content with myself. It's super exciting having conversations with friends and family and actually not knowing beforehand what they've been up to the last couple of days, weeks or months. Those discussions are truly interesting. It's a great feeling and a big relief from this constant connected world.
And at the other hand, I also get to talk more about what I've been doing and learn to express myself in a better way. My mind is cleaner and I can focus on the task at hand without having disruptive thoughts if I need to write something, or post a photo about it on Facebook. I can just enjoy what I'm doing. Quitting Facebook was my way of rediscovering the excitement of having conversations with the people close to me and to focus on what's truly important.