It’s been a long-time coming. In the beginning, you were exciting like any other new relationship. At every corner, you revealed a new surprise—a new friend, an interesting article, a funny picture or meme. I approached our relationship cautiously, only logging on every once in a while. Then came the long winter days and I found Farmville. And Words with Friends. You helped me stay connected when I was alone in a new city. You were funny, entertaining and insightful.
You’ve been like a big brother.
You watched as I got married.
When I had my first child.
And my second child.
You were there for me during those scary first days of motherhood and helped me stay connected when I was sure there was no one out there. You allowed me to share images of our most joyous and proud moments as our babies grew bigger, allowing family and friends to ooh and ahh over how much they’d grown.
As technology evolved, I no longer had to access you through a computer. Now I could see what any one of my 750 closest friends were doing at any time! In line at the grocery store. While feeding my babies. Between episodes of The Wire or whatever my husband and I happened to be binge watching at the time.
Direct communication and relationships with friends began to wane. I no longer felt like I needed to pick up the phone and call most people to check in and see how they were doing —I knew what was happening through their Facebook activity. You were great at helping me remember important events, like an upcoming concert or friends’ birthdays. Now I could offer a wish of “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMY!” on her wall instead of a card or an email.
When I found an interesting article or captured a particularly cute picture of my child, I’d share it and watch anxiously as people “liked” it—each occurrence a validation that I had posted something good. While I didn’t post often, the process always offered a type of high. I’ve always been a “pleaser” of sorts, so shares that generated a lot of likes seemed to grant a type of social currency. It was exciting and I felt loved. Shares that didn’t perform weren’t entirely disappointing, but made me wonder why people didn’t like it. Did they even see it?
And then the elections happened. And while I have always appreciated how you’ve always brought me views and opinions I hadn’t considered, I began to see something new. You gave rise to a new movement and helped normalize complete falsehoods and “news” that wasn’t legitimate. And on articles from legitimate news sources, I read through countless comments of people “trolling” the media and attempting to undermine what was said.
As the elections grew closer, “friends” began trolling and attacking one another. It seemed like someone couldn’t post an article supporting one “side” or the other without commentary from an opposing vantage. And most of the time, it wasn’t a substantive comment or counterpoint but just a talking point they’d picked up from the campaign.
Facebook, you’re no longer fun. You bring me a lot of anxiety. You make me sad and frustrated. Our country is divided, but you magnify it and stoke the fire. And in a country that’s already so polarized, I don’t need to spend my time—my time with my family, my time working, my time I could be focusing on things that make me better—reading through a continual stream of anger. I want to be surrounded by ideas and things and make me better. Not content that fuels my distrust.
I also don’t want to live in a world of “siloed” information—where you share the type of news and information your algorithms say I want to see. I want to take back my news and identify the media outlets that I find to be the most legitimate. I want to take back my friendships. I want to call my friends and family again to hear what’s actually going on, not just what they choose to share through Facebook.
Settings –> Security –> Deactive Account.
Why am I leaving you?
“I no longer find you useful.”