Two weeks ago, I did something drastic. I deactivated my Facebook account.
I have been checking Facebook regularly and posting daily ever since late 2007. More than just a creativity outlet, I used Facebook to communicate with my friends, even more than email, texting or telephone calls, and also
for regularly stalking the profile of the woman I'm in love with to get in touch with people I had lost sight of long ago. In many ways one could say I was solidly addicted.
But lately I have begun feeling that Facebook brought more drama into my life than I was willing to handle. The language of liking and commenting and sharing had become, with certain members of my ever-complicated family, a mode of passive-aggressiveness that would cause me stress and anxiety whenever I'd be tossing in my bed at night and see my phone's screen light up, and get out of bed to fetch it, only to see that it was just someone who sent me three extra moves on Candy Crush.
Which brings me to the next point: the fact that social media, with Facebook being the main culprit, has not helped alleviate my stress levels. Instead, it has scattered my ability to focus all over the place. And at the point where I stand right now, I need my focus more than anything. I can't allow myself to have my soul sucked by social media. I can't compare my life to that of others and beat myself up instead of setting things in motions for myself. As to procrastinating, I have been browsing Pinterest and Instagram much more, lately, but they are FAR more inspiring than Facebook, let's admit it.
Also, there was also the matter that Facebook made me procrastinate too much. I use my computer to write, and I've been struggling with writer's block for ages. As much as I tried to put myself in work mode by leaving my bed and going to write at Politics and Prose with a piping pot of Earl Grey, I'd end up turning the wifi on to use my go-to online French-to-English dictionary. And then the white-on-blue icon on my bookmarks bar would beckon me, and I would tell myself that I'd just pop my head in, and in spite of not getting any interesting notifications, I'd be sucked in reading posts by pages and groups, and the most work I would achieve by the time the library would close would be to post an Instagram picture of my Earl Grey with the mention that I'm about to get off social media and write (yes, shameless confession here.)
So when I set myself the goal to finish a short book before the end of May, I knew I had to make a drastic change to my lifestyle. So I posted a message announcing what I was going to do, and leaving a way for people to stay in touch with me. And twenty-four hours later, I closed Facebook. There was a short withdrawal period during which I felt the urge to post statuses about me missing Facebook, or my insomnia, or an insight on running into other French people I knew at the grocery store while I looked like a hot mess. But soon the urge went away, and I felt less anxious to [over]share. I also had to adjust to not getting daily and worldwide news from Facebook anymore, and like a responsible citizen, go read the papers every morning (The Huffington Post, Le Monde, The Telegraph, L'Orient Le Jour, CNN and BBC)
What I miss is seeing regular updates from the handful of people I consider my true friends*. I also miss using Facebook as a way to share some of my writing**, and having my friends' feedback almost instantly (since many use Facebook strictly on their mobiles, I can see how they wouldn't go through the trouble of creating a profile to comment on a blog, or even less reading a blog in the first place).
So, will I re-activate my account anytime soon? Not before I finish the aforementioned writing project I am working on. What about after? I'll see. I am tempted to create another account where I only add real friends, and I subscribe to less pages, only those that are relevant to my interests***.
*(about twenty, or to be nice, thirty out of my current count of three hundred and fifty-six)
**(mostly my crazy adventures, such as running out of gas in the middle of nowhere at three in the morning)
***(I've currently got more than 3000 on my count since 2008, and I can't even begin to unsubscribe from them).