July 7, 2011

on quitting Facebook...

About a year ago, I quit Facebook. And if I may be perfectly honest, I haven't missed it for one second. I think many people assume that since I'm a blogger (and slightly addicted to Twitter), that I should be all about every social media outlet. Well, I'm not. For a few reasons.

When I first signed up for an account, it was several years ago during that time when everyone was quickly transitioning their focus from MySpace onto Facebook—which was the latest and the greatest thing that ever existed, apparently. Of course, even then I didn't want to be bothered with it. It seemed to me that it would work best for those who either wanted to reconnect with friends from high school (I was homeschooled and my classmates were, well, my sisters) or college (I went to a community college, therefore I kept in touch with literally not even one person at all). However, I was swayed by friends who lived and breathed Facebook. I figured that since everyone else was getting one, I may as well.

So, I caved.

I logged on every now and then. Added a few photos here and there. Reconnected with a few people back home for all of four days until the novelty wore off and we simply remained conveniently tucked within news feeds and nowhere else, really. I'd get lazy and bored sometimes and would poke a few people for no real reason. I got brave and "friended" a few people who I only wanted to add so I could stalk their photos and status updates. (You know, that old chesnut. Don't act like you haven't done it.) I struggled with keeping Facebook exclusive to friends and family, but felt too guilty when I denied someone I didn't technically "know", so my list of friends went from manageable to pure ridiculousness.

For some reason, Facebook bored me a bit. I never really wanted to update it. And, at the same time, it overwhelmed me. Because I never wanted to update it, I felt an insane amount of pressure to actually log on and, well, update it. I always felt stressed when I logged onto my Facebook account because there were ALL THE THINGS TO CATCH UP ON AHHHH. In addition, I hated how I was completely drowning myself in these surface, shallow friendships. I appreciate you taking the time to say, "Happy 23rd birthday—booyah!" on my Facebook wall. I appreciate you taking the time to "like" a photo in which I look like a hot mess, which someone felt the need to tag me in for the fourth time. I appreciate you poking me when you apparently have nothing else to do online.

However, I was always left with that icky feeling of how lazy it made friendships and interactions with those you love. Not to mention those you didn't necessarily love, or even really like.

And it wasn't just other peopleit was me, too. Facebook made me a lazy friend. I didn't like it. I know that some people break into a cold sweat when they even think about deleting their Facebook account, but I realized that my life didn't need 300 sort-of friends/people I once knew. I was doing just fine with several handfuls of people in my life who truly knew me.

Of course, aside from all those other reasons, my decision to finally cut all ties with the world's favorite social media outlet was based mostly on the jealousy. Oh, the jealousy. People never update on the things they don't want you to see. No, you only see their bright, shiny faces and their perfect lives. And immediately feel like your own life is basically poo.

Here are 615 photos of our BRAND NEW five-bedroom HOME! Oh, have I mentioned that I'm only 22 and have never worked a day in my life? And that I shop at Anthropologie every weekend? Oh, I also just found out that I'm pregnant with TWINS and my amazing husband just made me a peach cobbler from scratch and bought me a diamond necklace. PS: Be sure to check out the photos of me looking really tan and skinny from our vacation to Greece last week. PPS: I have really white teeth and my husband and I never argue. Amen.

Um, shoot me. In the face.

Sure, I exaggerate. But so much of what I saw/read/experienced left me feeling really bitter. And comparing my life to someone else's. And feeling like I wasn't doing enough, wasn't good enough, wasn't living an exciting enough life. One evening, after logging out, I tried to remember the last time I had experienced any positive emotions whatsoever while on Facebook. I couldn't even remember. It was just a constant string of jealousy, annoyance and frustration. Peppered with a little bit of stalking. (Obviously.)

That night I decided to de-clutter my life a bit. Why become so attached to something that doesn't offer any positive reinforcement? Why take part in something that just leaves me feeling like my life isn't good enough? Why let myself be so affected by a silly social media website?

I immediately deactivated my account and felt lighter within seconds. It sounds silly, but I haven't regretted getting rid of it for one moment. I have so many things filling my life right now and I refuse to let myself become swallowed up in something that leaves such a negative impact on my emotions and self-worth. I know there are people who are able enjoy Facebook in all its glory, but I know for a fact that there are many, many people (mostly my age) that feel the same way as I do. The constant comparisons of my life to your life to his life to her life...it's exhausting. Yet, we carry on because everyone seems to do so.

I, for one, am glad to say I'm Facebook-free. Kind of out of the social media loop, but still. Happily so.

A few people have asked me why there's a difference between my being on Facebook as opposed to being on Twitter, as well as actively blogging. However, it's hard for me to even compare them. Twitter is the simplest form of social media (in my mind) and, therefore, very easy to step away from. Also, unfollowing someone on Twitter (usually) involves much less dramatics as opposed to unfriending someone from Facebook. As far as blogging goes, the main reason I blog is for myself. And I can always step away from reading other blogs for a while if I feel those silly tingles of jealousy and need to get some much-needed perspective. Any time you log onto Facebook it's like an assault of updates and photos and videos and such, whereas if you want to just take it easy and read a handful of blogs for a few weeks, it's much easier to do so. I just find both Twitter and blogging much, much less intense than Facebook. And much more fulfilling.

So, that's my story.

(And although I didn't bat an eyelash at the thought of deleting my Facebook account, if I were to delete my Twitter account I would surely spontaneously combust. I'm no hero. Just ask Jay. He definitely judges my affection for what he refers to as "the twitters".)

54 comments :

  1. hahaha this just made my whole day. facebook is the biggest time waster ever. it's like the black vortex of time. i should delete mine too but i'm scared. :P

    a simple, peaceful life

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  2. Wow.. I completely agree with you. I got rid of my facebook three years ago mainly because I didnt want pictures of my daughter on the internet AND I just didn't care about the mindless updates and the need for everyone to "out do" the next guy. Very well said!

    :)

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  3. Good for you! I've had a lot of the same issues with Facebook, but have made the "hide" feature my bff. Now, I only see things from people I actually do care about. It's been the best way for me to keep in touch with some of my family, and the easiest way for me to get updates on my nieces! But I really admire you for knowing it's not for you, and acting accordingly.

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  4. totally agreed! I've talked with a few friends on wanting to give up all social media, because when I go "tech free" on the occasional weekend, I really enjoy LIFE more. I've seriously thought about giving up blogging for good. Blogging has been way more of a problem in my life than facebook has. :-/ Not that is hasn't been great though too :)

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  5. I absolutely love and agree with this completely. Perhaps I shall delete mine. It would be nice to go back to doting on the people who truly care about you rather than the fake surface relationships where people just want to see how you turned out.

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  6. Good for you! I'm not a fan of Facebook for many of the same reasons you mentioned. Someone once phrased it in a way that I really like: Basically, Facebook is for friends that have become strangers, and Twitter is for strangers who should be your friends. There's definitely some truth in that for me, which is why I've grown to love Twitter so much!

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  7. I agree. My Facebook is filled mostly with people i went to high school with and am a bit jealous of. I'm not sure I can make it through college without it. I guess at least I should make a better effort with friends & family offline though. :)

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  8. I'm actually on the other side of the fence.
    Sometimes I feel like I should think more about deleting my facebook, but the truth is all the facebook stalking I do actually makes me pretty damn happy.
    It's a time waster, and there are some people who's posts drive me crazy, but for the most part I enjoy it. And that fact sometimes makes me feel guilty.
    I personally have more trouble dealing with my jealousy of blog friends and tumblr ladies. It's probably my own fault for following people with trust funds and fancy city dwellings and Important Jobs. It's like my own prettier version of the tabloids. I know I shouldn't read them, but I do.

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  9. You've genuinely made me kind of want to quit Facebook. For all the reasons you listed.

    That, in and of itself? Is a fete!

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  10. I keep FB restricted to the close-at-hand, but I have seriously considered giving it up entirely lately. It's more a photo-dump for me these days than anything else.

    Part of me fears that if I cut off that contact, what contact with my friends will I have at all? Granted, I suppose they aren't really friends if I need FB to update them, but still ... I am a coward and I worry.

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  11. I'm always debating whether or not I should delete my facebook - it's made me such a horrible friend. I've always hated talking on the phone but facebook makes it so I don't HAVE to talk on the phone - I think that's the only reason I still have it. I feel jealousy tingles reading blogs quite often these days. Sometimes it seems like everyone else's life is perfect while mine is anything but. I just keep telling myself they're only posting the good things - the nice pictures - their houses aren't ALWAYS 100% clean and perfectly decorated, and they're not ALWAYS super fashionable. Everyone has morning hair, right?

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  12. Facebook sucks. Plain and simple. If I didn't have to use it for work, I would most certainly delete mine. I actually did for about 6 months prior to getting the job I have now. And, it was awesome.

    p.s. I hope my Greece pictures on my blog are not offending you. Ha.

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  13. I'm a social media whore, and I've totally considered deleting it, not with the intention of never using it again, but with the intention of just starting over. I still consider it.

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  14. Good for you. I have a facebook and do enjoy it because it lets me keep in touch with my faraway friends in a way we wouldn't otherwise be able to. I have purged my friends list several times though and I don't really feel like I'm addicted to it.

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  15. I'm strongly considering shutting my facebook down. Not sure if I'd delete it or just shut it down so that no one can see it but keep my pictures there so I can access them if I lose then on my computer. It came in handy with the myspace account I never use. I have been slowly cutting back & not using fb much. Then yesterday I decided to take a 2wk break. After that break I'm going to close it off unless some big crazy thing makes me wish I hadn't skipped out.

    I'm glad to hear that you've been happy with your decision. It makes it easier for me to do so.

    Also, caiti has it absolutely right about the fb vs twitter friends. That's exactly how it is for me.

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  16. I quit facebook two years ago because I woke up one day logged on and asked, "how many people actualy know when my birthday is without logging onto my page?" After that I just stopped because I had family issues that had to be tended to plus a then-budding relationship. So I signed off feeling a huge sense of relief from getting rid of all the drama. Nowadays people immediately ask for my facebook page. I remember when it was a cell phone number.

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  17. I use FB the way you used to use it... I log in occasionally, check some of the latest updates, stalk somebody, leave a message on someone's wall and leave.

    I really don't understand how people have time to keep up with the constant stream of updates, games, wall postings and whatnot.... I usually get overwhelmed when I log on because I can hardly catch up on all that I " apparently missed" .

    I really only keep FB around in order to get in touch with people that I don't usually talk with and in case I do want to write someone a message (and don't have their email). I am the kind of person who will randomly send messages to old college buddies, high school friends and sport mates.... :)

    That's it. Besides for that single reason, I could just as well delete my account.

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  18. I totally know what you mean. While I haven't deleted my entire Facebook, I just unfriended about half of my "friends," who are people, like you said, that I just stalk and don't really interact with in any significant way.

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  19. Oh, facebook. I have a rule about facebook friends and that is: would I call this person on the phone? If not, then I don't friend them. That simple. Sometimes I feel guilty about not accepting a friend request from some person that I knew in high school, but I want to keep enjoying my facebook, so I just say no.

    Also, my husband and I have a rule: no opposite sex friends that the other person doesn't know and approve of. ie. no, you can't friend your first girlfriend from elementary school. Works well this way.

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  20. Very good post. I toy with this idea all of the time (of shutting it down) but my family who lives all over the country likes that it keeps us connected. I have decided though to make it just very close friends and family only.

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  21. Your reference to jealousy is was hit me the most in this meaningful post. I am always compraing myself to others and that does not make my life any better, I started doing it in real life too, and I can assure it's addictive. It souds so stupid but it can ruin a day, and actually it can ruin most of your days. However, I cannt refrain myself of comparing with other bloggers too. I am doing it (blogging) for myself, but, hey, other girls seem to have everything. My conscious, rational part knows very well that noone shows everything, the worse parts, the negative ones, but my brain seems not to accept this idea. I hope I will wake up one day and quit facebook, I think I won't ever feel bad about it, but I have to learn blogging just for myself and refrain all that comparing.
    Great post, Kerri, I liked it a lot! Thank you.
    Juliette

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  22. I love your jealousy rant, especially the part about shopping at Anthropologie every weekend. If only!

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  23. Oh man, I loved the rant, too. I was just telling my sister that I will tear my hair out if I have to read even ONE more status update about someone claiming to have "the best husband in the world." What are people trying to say about the rest of our husbands? Or are they just trying to convince themselves of something? Bleh.

    Anyway, I'm always torn, too. On the one hand, I completely agree with you. On the other hand, I've actually had some cool plans made with people whom I know I wouldn't have made plans with if it hadn't been for chatting on Facebook. If I ever start feeling its negative effects more strongly than the positive ones though, then it's out with the ol' Facebook account. : ) Excellent post!

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  24. I quit facebook last march, and this week I got on my husband's account to look up someone's email address (that's right: email. I don't care if it is 2011). Immediately, I had these feelings of jealousy and frustration crop up. I know it's my own fault, but like it or not, those feelings exist. And they're not healthy. Ignorance sometimes really is bliss. These months without Facebook have been marvelous. Sure, I've lost touch with a few people. But in exchange, I've been able to focus on some "in-person" friendships -- and now I can ask someone how they are, and not already know the answer. So thanks for putting into words the reasons, I too, made the decision to quit Facebook. And here's to many more months without Facebook stalking and status scrolling.

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  25. i definitely agree with you on the jealousy thing. I've deactivated & reactivated my account numerous times. :/ but mostly i do it for family. family that lives far away. for sharing pictures with them. i go through & "unfriend" anyone that's not really my friend on fb every couple of months or so. it feels good. if they don't like & ask about I'll tell them that we're not really friends to begin with so i didn't really care to see pictures of them in their bikini. i'm harsh like that i guess. lol thanks for sharing your point of view, if it wasn't for family, i don't think mine would be activated either.

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  26. Yes. Although I have an account, I certainly don't love spending time there. Not sure why, but it just bores and/or annoys me!

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  27. i just created an account about a month ago after caving because all my friends were begging me to get one. but i'm really not sure what all the fuss is about, i mean, the vast majority of it is so superficial and i also feel the same thing about how rapidly my friend pool is expanding. and i hate how it's a social status symbol, to have the most friends, to have the most likes on your status....i don't know. i'm not ready to delete, but it's certainly not the love of my life.

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  28. I hear so very many people make this same argument about facebook. Even though I have "maintained" my facebook page for several years (I started it my 2nd year of college), I keep my friend-count below 100 people. It is limited to people I know and interact with IN REAL LIFE. And mainly, all we do is exchange funny videos or make plans to go out together. But it's easier to group message on facebook than via email (whatever happened to the potentially awesome googleWave?) and when I posted the two or three pictures we took from our elopement last May, my nearest and dearest really wanted to see them and it saved me the trouble of being That Girl that pulls vacation photos out at the next party.
    So, yeah, I can see that people who care too much about what other people think, can fall easily into the trap of the negativism of facebook; and although I do get annoyed by it when people request my friendship that I just met once at a bar a few years ago or some girl who sat behind me in one of my college or high school classes, I feel no guilt rejecting their request and wandering elsewhere on the web.
    -K

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  29. AMEN, sister! i couldn't agree more! i've deleted (and subsequently reactivated) my fb account several times in the past couple of years and love the time off!
    you stole the words from my mouth. it's refreshing and inspiring to know i'm not alone in my feelings toward fb and its affects on relationships. you've convinced me. i'm going 'off the grid' (mind you, still blogging and on "the twitters") for good. thanks for the push i needed!
    ~randa (www.fromunderthewillowtree.com)

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  30. I love that you put that it is "lazy" friendships...and it is. I quit facebook in February and the only time I ever feel "bad" about it is when someone leaving work and they say, "Well don't worry. I'll find you on facebook" or in a dance class they say, "We posted these pictures or these events on our facebook page". I'm out of a loop there. BUT on the other hand, I feel so empowered when I say, "I missed that. I don't have facebook." The looks I get are as if I said, "My pet dinosaur is at home with my flying car in the garage."

    I love being different. Also, while I am here...thank you for the marriage wisdom. You are my favorite Old Married Lady friend. ;)

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  31. This post is so interesting - I've always wanted to ask you about it (reasons and how you felt after). At one point I accepted any and every request til I was at a ridiculous number. One night I went through and unfriended a ton of people. I felt better about it for a while, but now I'm at that point where I don't like it anymore.

    I think it allows people to feel like they "know" me when they actually don't. An acquaintance wrote me a very judgey email the other day. I just don't think they would have done that if they didn't follow my updates on Facebook.

    Well this is getting too rambley - thank you for making me think, Kerri! :)

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  32. I'm deftinely feeling you on this. I mean, I pretty much think that Facebook is kind of sily. Updated your 'status' and all that, doesn't mean anything to me. The only reason I still have a Facebook account, is to connect with family and friends. With I don't really do, since I hardly ever log on to Facebook. Well, that's not true. I do log on at least one a day. But I don't even know why, since no one ever says anything to me on it. Bascially I'm still on Facebook because I just am.

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  33. Thanks for writing this post. I really would like to quit the book. But, I feel like I can't. I have a HUGE family and all my cousins aunts and uncles from around the world are on there and basically it is the most communication we have had in soo long. So for that, I am grateful for it. But, for the shallow people that I might have went to high school with, I totally understand....I am jealous of people who are not on the book....but I feel like I would become an even lazier friend :)

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  34. Good for you!
    For me Facebook serves no useful purpose other than to suck the time of those who want to play those innane games. I would rather have a MEANINGFUL communication with someone who actually cared what I was doing (I don't think anyone on facebook cares about anyone else) rather than trying to get the attention of ANYONE on my "friends" list. I have been constantly criticized by my MOTHER for not doing more on Facebook -- apparently she felt that my "best" friend didn't know enough about what was going on in my life (the girl lives in the BAHAMAS I doubt she cares what goes on in MY life anymore) because I never update and the friend updates every time her baby eats a new food!!-- but the thing is my life is so boring I have nothing to update!
    I would rather people contacted each other, emailed, phoned, skyped... anything but simply leaving a comment on Facebook hoping someone picks it up

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  35. I never had a facebook account and I am damn proud of it.

    For one, I work in a HS and just didn't want my kids to find me. I know you can fix settings, etc., but I also just didn't want to get sucked in for all the reasons you mentioned.

    What happened to the good old email?

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  36. I totally understand your reasons for quitting Facebook. Sometimes I think about doing so myself, but I do like seeing pictures from my cousins and sister-in-law that I wouldn't see otherwise. If it wasn't for pictures I would have quit long ago.

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  37. I couldn't quit Facebook if I tried. Almost all party invitations people send out now are via Facebook. :/

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  38. I've been using Facebook less and less, thinking about deleting more and more. The page for my blog/shop is what has kept me there, but I've taken the first step towards walking away. Thanks for the encouragement, whether you knew you were giving it or not!

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  39. hahaha even though I'm probably never going to quit facebook, I totally agree with your sentiment there, especially the FB-bragging part. i've learned to take it with a grain of salt though.

    Anyway, great entry!

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  40. Thank goodness I am not the only one who feels this way! I usually want to cry after I see other peoples updates. And for some crazy reason I haven't deleted my profile...yet.

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  41. I also struggled with Facebook before but I'm still there with just 56 friends: people I know in real life and some of my penpals.
    I still have people trying to add me as 'friends' and when I get their requests I say: 'I'm sorry, but I have no idea who you are' and they go: 'you are so and so friend's' and I say again: I don't know you. Sorry.
    I deleted ALL my ex classmates and people who were friends of friends. I found it helpful to keep in touch with people who live really far away, but I didn't stop being who I was just because we have Facebook and a little thing that tells you when the person is having a birthday. In my life there's still the handmade card, the phone calls, and bunch of other things. :)

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  42. I feel the EXACT same way. Beautifully said my dear Kerri!!! ♥♥♥

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  43. YES.
    I quit about 6 months ago and feel like a new person. It's sad that it took quitting a SOCIAL MEDIA SITE to make me feel free {pathetic, really}, but it did.

    3 cheers for the twitters, though.
    i love it.

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  44. I am trying to step back from Facebook but it has really been a huge help during certain times when I needed a place to stay during an unexpected layover during a vacation and just had to message a long-lost friend whose number and/or email i didn't have. However, I do not like how some people use it to stalk others - especially family members who think they don't have to call ever, since we are friends on FB. That's just wrong and has made me think about deleting this whole thing as well.

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  45. Hi Kerri! Hope you are doing wonderful. I love your blog!!

    I deleted my Facebook account 2 years ago. And I was afraid to explain it to my friends why I did it exactly. Because I thought no one would understand me. Reading your post made me feel I'm not alone. I got really insecure about sharing stuff over Facebook because I thought my life was really lame compared to others. After I deleted the account I was so relieved and happy. Thanks for sharing!!

    P.S. I did get a new facebook account to get info on some event recently. I dont share status or pics. My only friend is my husband. And I intend to keep it that way. :)

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  46. Do you find that the blogs you read give you a raging case of the jealousies? For me that is waaay worse than facebook! ahh.

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  47. I've been thinking about this post a lot and at first I agreed with lots of it and then I thought about it a little more and I think I disliked FB (well then it was MySpace) when everyone else's life looked more perfect than mine. I wanted to be engaged, or married, or pregnant. But now I feel so thankful for my life that maybe *I* am that person who gags people with how seemingly (and actually) wonderful my life is. Being a stay-at-home Mama FB is my connection to the world and even if I didn't leave the house I still feel like I talked to someone. Maybe Twitter can fulfill that for you, otherwise you might reconsider FB once you are home with le bebe ;)

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  48. I did the same thing this year at Easter. It was mostly because of the people who only used FB to brag. I had "friends" who quite literally pasted their social calendars into their status updates—it was nauseating. All of these people using it as a tool to project some perfect image of what they wanted everyone to think their life was like. And the funniest part was looking at some of these people's pics and status updates and knowing what it was really like for them behind closed doors. FB became such an unhealthy activity; bragging, stalking people to compare your life to theirs, fawning over trips you wish you could have gone on, posting pictures for no other reason than just to show off, etc, etc. We were at home with my husband's family for Easter when I really put things into perspective, laughed at how ridiculous FB had become and deleted my account. Hallelujah.

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  49. This is pretty much perfect, especially the italicized fake update.

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  50. My family and I took a road trip to CA for two weeks and my only Facebook activity was to "check in" once from a Mac Store in Beverly Hills. I really did not miss it one bit during our trip as I spent some real quality time with my wife and kids. When we returned home I just never "got into it" again, when just before the trip I was on FB at least an hour a day.

    Whenever I posted status updates I liked to make them "count", and my last post was my biggest statement. I scheduled an actual event titled "Steve is Leaving Facebook" and invited everyone on my friends list. After engaging in quite a bit of chatter that this generated, I paid my final respects, took a bow, and made my final exit in style.

    I am approaching two weeks Facebook-free with no ill effects. I encourage any of you that are close to deleting your account.. DO IT! You enjoyed life before Facebook, and you will enjoy it more with out it.

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  51. Facebook is designed to make you feel like shit. I dont know anyone who does not feel that way, myself included.

    I saw a notice this morning on my page telling me that I would be on timeline soon and if I wanted to alter my page, I had 7 days to do it. Well....fuck you facebook! Not only was I given a time limit, I noticed that they had stuck all of these old pictures and posts that I had *DELETED* years ago! So, facebook stores your deltes?

    How creepy!

    It took me seconds to delete my account. No more and I feel so liberated!

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  52. sooo soooo true! I feel the same way. I deleted my account and couldn't be happier!

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