Why I Got Rid of My Facebook Profile

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Daniel J. Boorstin

I got rid of my Facebook profile the other day.

Actually, I converted it to a “Page.”

Why?

1.) I had been wasting an absurd amount of time scrolling through the timeline. It was my default time-waster. I’d spend an hour or more in the morning and evening scrolling through things that truly had zero value to me. Waiting in line? Scroll through the timeline. I don’t know what I was looking for or expecting to see. I had over 4,000 friends and my feed turned into data with no context. I decided that time is (at the very least) better spent reading specific blogs or online magazines that interest me.

2.) I’m easily irritated by mass behavior patterns that replicate and spread like a disease. (This is what the term Meme originally meant, for those who don’t know.) When a celebrity died, it’s all I’d see for at least a day and a half. For users who only have 150 friends, it might seem important to post a link to the shocking news item. But I’d see it thousands of times. And it wasn’t just the celebrity drug overdoses, it was the phrase “SO EXCITED” when posting about things such as breakfast. How can everyone be “SO EXCITED” all the time about everything? I’m definitely not. I like to believe that people are unique, independent thinkers that are genuinely excited when they say they are. (It’s true to some degree, and not true to some degree, but what began to matter is what I saw IN EXTREME AMOUNTS.) These mass behaviors would ruin my day and I’d continue to dislike the human race, and that’s not productive.

3.) I admit it: I didn’t trust my own willpower to NOT read the timeline. Converting to a Page would immediately put an end to my bad habit.

4.) Not everyone I was “Friends” with was really interested in or understood the topics I was posting about. Daily, I’d get “Replies” from people who (should I say it?) weren’t qualified to enter into the discussion, yet felt compelled to share their Opinion on what they like or don’t like. Often, they felt offended by my analysis of such-and-such (a TV show, a song). It created a loop, where I’d post more and more cynical statements, anticipating misunderstandings and more useless opinions. I’d antagonize. On bad days, I felt a lot of alienation. This is not me claiming that I am “better than other people” in every way, but only in one specific way: I look up the definitions of words and use them intentionally. I don’t have a large working vocabulary (especially when speaking). But when I say PLOT and THEME I mean two different things.

5.) Even with the Facebook timeline algorithm, there is not a lot of high-quality content. What rises to the top is based on the lowest common denominator (those things which the largest amount of people are “just non-lazy enough” to click on). SO: the posts I’d make when in a bad mood would jump to the top of everyone’s feed, as these would get 80 comments and attract more bitter people who wanted to prove their superiority. As a result, I was known for being very negative. Yet a high-quality link to an article on io9 would get zero response. Thanks, Facebook!

6.) Facebook became an Attention-Seeking Video Game for me (as it is for many others). Users are rewarded for how many Likes and Shares and Comments they get. It’s insidious. After years of this behavior, I discovered that I experienced subconscious envy each time I’d see a George Takei post that had been shared zillions of times. This pain of failure, as if I am actually in a race against a television actor from the ’60s who is now “famous for being famous.” And to actually feel bad about that? That’s bizarre.

7.) There were some good things. I enjoyed posting “NAKED MEN!” a lot. And the occasional “HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!” in response to a celebrity death or other pseudo-event. Most importantly, it was a place to dump non-sequitur status updates to make myself laugh. Some got it, some didn’t.

A Page still gives me a platform to reach those who are interested in following me (my behaviors, creations, and thoughts). Hopefully, I will now spend more time making original content, as well as sharing other valuable things I find.

Have a very nice day, you too,

-Carl.

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