Unbound from the ‘book

I joined Facebook in early 2007. It opened to anyone with an email address (as opposed to being limited to educational institutions) in September 2006. So I’ve been on Facebook for most of its public life. That’s quite a long time for an old person. The young whippersnappers are quite gobsmacked when they ask if I’m on Facebook and I tell them “Sonny, I was on Facebook before you were born.”

(Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit. Also, I was lying. Real young whippersnappers aren’t on Facebook anymore.)

Facebook is one of those plus and minus things in your life. I won’t elaborate. Anyone on Facebook knows what I’m talking about. Anyone not on Facebook by now doesn’t want to know the pluses anyway.

I’ve found it useful at times. The year I was training for my first marathon, I would put updates on my page titled “Diary of a Mad Wannabe Marathon Woman”. It made me accountable and got me out training when I didn’t feel like it. And it gave me something to think about as I ran.

I’ve also discovered some pretty cool running opportunities that have popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. (It’s odd. If you post a lot of stuff about running, Facebook puts running ads in your feed. How do they know to do that?? πŸ™„ )

About a year ago, I deactivated my account. It wasn’t in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Anyone shocked by what came out about all that, clearly doesn’t understand you don’t get something free for nothing.

In my case, I got out after I posted one too many “a trouble shared is a trouble halved” posts in a time of stress which broke a couple of rules and I got in trouble at work. I’m not a fan of getting in trouble. So my response was to deactivate my account.

After two weeks, I reactivated it because I had an attack of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). It wasn’t that I was missing what people were eating when they went out for dinner or photographs of their feet at a beach or pool in some exotic location. I had a fear of missing out on photographs and stories of some special little people in my life that I don’t get to see in person very often. Also, some of the wackiest and most exhilarating running events I’ve participated in have come about because an ad about it popped up in my feed. I didn’t want to miss out on the next exciting night run or crazy cosplay race. There were also a couple of pages that were informational and I was worried about missing out on things I wanted to do because I wouldn’t know about them.

I returned to Facebook under new conditions. I reduced my ‘friends’ by about two thirds, narrowed the pages I was following to just the ones from which I really wanted information and ramped up my privacy settings to maximum level. It at least felt a little safer.

However, I’ve just deactivated my account again and this time I mean it. The only reason I’ve chosen deactivation over total deletion is that I need to maintain a Messenger presence for family reasons. I’m also, for now, hanging onto the Facebook page for my blog so in some ways, I still have a presence there but without all the extra….er…stuff.

So why now? And what happened to FOMO?

The thing is, photos of little people I love will never make up for in-person cuddles and giggles. There are other places I can look up running events I might wish to participate in (and maybe missing a few and not cramming my life so full is a good thing.) I’m hoping friends holding music gigs or workshops will keep me in mind and spread the news beyond Facebook.

Life changes and sometimes parts of your life that have been important come to an end either by choice or unexpectedly. Facebook can have an unfortunate tendency to keep those parts of your life in your face. If the ending was not your choice, it can be painful to be reminded of what you have lost. Photos from outings to which you’re no longer invited, glowing posts about events that you know you will never be involved in again. De-friending or un-following is not always the easy answer.

Maybe it’s also a chance to increase opportunities for real world interactions and sharing beyond just a click on Like or leaving a passing comment.

So I’m choosing to care for me, cutting myself some slack and unbinding from the ‘book.

And the big plus side? In my need for human connection, I’ll come looking for it in the blogosphere. Look out, MOSY is back!

What’s your relationship with Facebook? Avid fan, necessary user or full anti-Zuckerberg?



56 thoughts on “Unbound from the ‘book

  1. Never joined, though I do occasionally look at my daughter’s account, purely to see photos of the grandchildren! Though she rarely posts anything these days. What annoys me most is the competitions, special events or feedback requests that require you to have a fb account. The same with companies with offers exclusive to people with smart phones…

    The more life tries to force me to conform, the more I resist.

    It will be nice to see more of you on the blog H πŸ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

    • The blog is where it will be happening. I’m not regretting my decision. It will probably take a little adjusting but I really am hoping that it means more direct contact with people rather than lurking in the shadows spying on their Facebook page.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Look out, MOSY is back!” – YAY!!!!

    Facebook is such a mixed bag of good, bad, worse and deplorable, that I routinely come close to deleting my account. The issue for me is that, being close to retirement means I have a lot of friends who have retired, and this is how they want to stay i touch. I think Facebook will eventually be the old-age-home of the Internet.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I deleted my account and kept it that way for about 6 months. I did not miss the noise. I came back in an extremely limited way. I joined a few groups related to my interests. And I have been very slow to add friends. I have no intention to use the fb rules to limit traffic. My past experience is the rules are more trouble than they are worth. Using rules etc. just causes other dumber problems. I have added three friends despite constant invitations. I plan on keeping the friend count slow and low. Going to see how this works out. And deleting again remains an option.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Admittedly, I too, have given thought to leaving Facebook but haven’t done so as of yet. I have blocked a few people from my newsfeed, mostly because the content they post is just rubbish or always comes from a negative place. Who needs that!

    I look forward to seeing your presence here and hope is is a more effective way way for you to stay in touch😘

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I took some people out of my newsfeed so I wouldn’t be reminded of things but I kept finding myself sneaking into their page to see what they’d posted and then, of course, feeling sad all over again. De-friending was not an option so in the end, the best course of action was just to walk away altogether. I’m looking forward to coming back into the blogosphere more regularly and hanging out with my peeps. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m glad to see your post today – I am thinking of rejoining the blogs. Not to replace FB, though I wish I could say it was so. I’ve toyed with the idea of giving it up but since I am the social media “coordinator” for several non-profits, I cannot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, being responsible for the social media can be such a bind. I wanted to leave a while ago but I needed to stay on long enough to promote our Trailwalker effort as I was the only one on Facebook (properly – a couple of the team are on but in limited capacity). Ironically, however, it was a direct appeal by email that got the donations flowing after posting about it on Facebook for weeks with little response. So there you go.

      I hope you do rejoin, Maggie. I’ll be waiting eagerly for you!


  6. A friend of mine curses social media in several languages and would avoid it altogether if her volunteer job didn’t require her to access their webpage. I do envy you your strength of will to sever the strangling cord. (Eww, that was a gruesome analogy. Forgive me, lying down and resting has apparently ruined my brain.)

    Be well and do the million things that you’ve missed while surfing the pointless beyond.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maintaining a social media presence for an organisation is fine if you’re a social media kind of person anyway but having to do it when you can’t stand the thing must be awful. My sympathies to your friend.
      It’s embarrassing to admit that it’s a bit like a drug and I’m currently in withdrawal (and cold turkey – I also left Instagram and Twitter) but I know I’ll feel healthier for giving it up.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Vell, dullink, BRAVE MOVE ! Goodonyermate ! πŸ™‚
    Now to see the suffering after giving up: hard for an addicted person to be without, I should think. Reminds me of CS’ giving up smoking: he was so vile that I had to insist he took it up again. Only for a bit, but. [grin]
    Seriously, having used it for familial reasons and the like, you will now need to Make Contact Instead, yes ? Gluck with that.
    Love ya, H !

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am deeply, deeply embarrassed to confess that I’ve accidentally opened the app on my phone as a sort of automatic action. Definitely time to give it up! Yes, I am hoping (hoping!!) that this will mean more direct and real life contact with people. (Or I may just find myself living even more hermit-like because no one actually wants to talk to me but we shall see.)


  8. I’m being driven bonkers: WordPress won’t allow me to click the ‘Like’ button ! It keeps saying I’m not signed in, and I have to go through the details-filling-in stuff every time. Even then I’m not pemitted to click that bloody button !!!
    I LIKE THIS POST, Heather !!!!!!!


  9. Every word of that resonates. And I do apologise for that pic of my feet and the Broome-fest and Fiji.

    Personally, for the first time I’ve found recently that I’m overwhelmed by the minutiae of other people’s lives and cannot cope with their distressed. I needed to distance myself. I’m not outta there, by any means, but I’ll hold it at arms length – fling out the window if need be xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have mixed feelings about Facebook. On one hand I can live without looking at my Facebook feed, but I use Messenger to keep in touch with many people. So I can understand why you didn’t deactivate it fully (I learnt something new here; thought deactivating means deleting but it’s not). Definitely no substitute for human connection. Many more laughs and real laughs, real emotions and always, always more jokes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Messenger is the communication tool of choice for the extended family when organising get togethers so I was relieved I could get off Facebook but hold on to Messenger.
      I’m really hoping this step leads to more face-to-face communication with friends but we’ll see. I’m not really the social friend for most people. I’m the one you call when you have a tech problem or need a babysitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. [Hi! I found you via joey’s blog. As a way of introduction, so I don’t seem like some rando person chiming in here…]

    I was on FB back when it first started via an educational invite; I remember my friends & I thought it was nonsense. We closed our accounts within weeks of opening them. I tried it years later as just a person and tried to like it… lasted about half a year… but didn’t get it so I deleted my account. I’ve never regretted it. My point in answer to your FOMO? I don’t miss FM and its nosy policies, having found that the people who care about you will stay in touch with you outside of the FB. Just saying…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ally. πŸ‘‹ Thanks for the intro. I don’t mind randos if they make a good comment. 😁 It’s the ones who say ‘Great post! Follow my blog!’ that get short shrift from me.
      Thanks for your perspective. Your last point is the best and key to my decision. I’d really like to find out who the real friends are and I’m interested to see who makes contact.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m an old fogie using Facebook. The main reason I stay with it is to keep in touch with friends that I see very rarely. Sometimes its my only interaction with certain individuals. I recently came close to deactivating, but only because of political posts. Since March, I’ve been scrolling past the politics on FB and in my Google feed and much of that now rarely shows up or has disappeared. I will continue in this vein as it has made me a lot happier.

    You are correct that seeing people in person is tons better than photos on FB. I’m glad to see MOSY is back. Very glad. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great working the algorithms, M-J! 😁 I totally get the need for the service of keeping in touch with people you don’t see often. I’ve used the same reason myself in the past. I guess in a way I’m conducting an experiment to see if people will make direct contact if I’m not on fb. (I’m not holding my breath.)

      And you’re not an old fogie. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Facebook is a love-hate thing for me too. I unfriended the most irritating people, so mostly my feed is a positive thing.
    Twitter is a lot more fun. There are some really interesting, funny people on Twitter!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I hate Facebook. I’d love for all my family to get off and go back to actually calling or visiting.

    My FOMO re-activation was because it was the only place anyone updated their major life news. :/

    Of course, I’m not ensuring I call them all about my news…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess we’ve become lazy in a way. If you can write one post to tell everyone a piece of news instead of multiple calls. I’m lucky in that we have a monthly family dinner where I get to hear news so hopefully I’ll keep up with some of it.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I recommend setting a regular date (for us it’s the 3rd Friday of the month) and then people know not to schedule things on that date. Sometimes things come up and that’s okay. We go ahead with whoever’s available. If there’s a date that clashes for a number of us we negotiate another Friday or if we can’t we just skip that month and meet the next. It’s good to keep things flexible. Everyone brings something for the meal. We always have it at my mother’s but we’ve also moved it to other people’s houses on occasion. Oh, and two of my siblings don’t come but that’s their choice and we don’t fuss about it.
          Good luck! Hope you end up with something special like we have. (Ours has been going for about 30 years!)

          Liked by 1 person

  15. I used to LOVE FB. Then everyone else joined. It’s not that I don’t like all the people I’m connected to, but I used to be connected only to people who were also broad-minded and varied in their topics. It had been a place to have fun and now it’s a place where people are all cause-oriented and politically-minded and well, it isn’t a positive experience. These days I don’t love FB and spend less than an hour on it per week. I play Scrabble there, stalk my mommy and a few other people I adore and then I close it. I don’t have it or Messenger on my phone. I did make some serious cuts in who can interact with me and that helped a bit, but still, not as fun as it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s like some quaint village you used to love to visit but then everybody else found out about it and now it’s full of loud mouths in flag shorts complaining that the shops don’t stock their favourite cereal from home and why don’t they speak English and sure, your favourite cafe is still operating and you drop in occasionally but it’s just not the same place.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hmm, I have a Facebook account. Originally because I was persuaded that if I wished to be taken seriously as a writer this was a necessity. Like you, I have used it mostly to keep close to special people and see their career events. I have a tiny number of friends, mostly relatives, and simply ignore new Friend requests. I visit the page if there is an email from someone I care about (5 times a week?), I post about five times a year. I don’t EVER look at anything that is advertised or add to the info on me. I see our new miraculous family additions (6 months and 1 month) on a 4 person WhatsApp group, which is very satisfactory. None of this ever goes onto Facebook or my blog. Would I miss it if I closed it? Probably not.

    I look forward to more posts from you!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Facebook is like inlaws. Useful, sometimes great and sometimes a darn large thorn in your side. De activation is good when you need a break from facie but I rarely post anything there now. I received abuse for sharing something someone disagreed with and a comment was misinterpreted. That was it for me. So good on you for deleting . You can still like me, have a profile for the purpose of checking events, couldn’t you?
    I really much prefer the positivity in the blogosphere.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a ‘secret identity’ that allows me to keep the Facebook page for my blog but it has no friends, no liked pages and the highest level privacy settings. It does let me check into public pages for info if I need to.

      I’m not missing Facebook. It is much nicer out here in the blogosphere. 😊


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