Facebook as The Emerald City: Smoke & Mirrors
**This article was originally published on LinkedIn.**
If you’ve been following my articles lately you’ll notice I’ve been making several changes in my life. First, I’m turning my iPhone off more throughout the day, and implemented a “no digital” evening at my house from 6-9PM. Also, I’m getting fit with CrossFit and hitting the gym 5x a week with no exceptions, even when I travel (which is often).
The latest? Getting off Facebook.
When Facebook first came out when I was in college it was a place to share life events, vacations and photos. There were no ads, and my feed was populated with events I wanted to see with my friends. Lately, it’s far from that and I’m choosing to not take place in the toxic environment that my Facebook feed has become.
When Dorothy finally went back to the supposed “wizard” at the end of Wizard of Oz delivering the red slipper, she uncovered that the “wizard” was actually no wizard at all. It was smoke and mirrors, just like my entire Facebook feed. Fake happiness portrayed by "friends", religion, ads, and horrific news that I don’t want to see. Facebook has become polarizing.
Before clicking the “deactivate” button, I did try to salvage my relationship with Facebook. I deleted about 40% of my “friends” – you know, people that I haven’t seen since kindergarten. I also started hiding friends that post things about politics and other issues I don’t want to see. I unfollowed a bunch of companies I ‘liked’, and even started reporting ads I didn’t want to see anymore. Even with all of that, my newsfeed was still toxic.
Sure, everyone’s virtual life portrays the best version of themselves; I’ve been guilty of that, too. But it became too much for me. I’ve decided to go off Facebook and actually have real relationships with my friends and family.
I won’t allow my mood to be determined by how many people ‘like’ a photo I post, or a status I post. I don’t need affirmation. I don’t want my Facebook notifications to distract me throughout my day, 24/7. I don’t want to check Facebook to see what someone is up to; if I’m that interested I will reach out to them personally.
With all of this being said, I’m taking a break from Facebook. Will I be back? Likely, one day. With major restrictions that I’m still marinating over.
Here are some things I’ve noticed since going off Facebook:
- I’m saving hours in my day clicking my Facebook app on my phone. I used to do it mindlessly, and since removing the app I’m much more productive. I’ve replaced the app on my phone with the ‘notes’ app, and now when I click it out of habit I’m forced to write down new article topics I plan on writing about.
- I don’t need affirmation from my friends on my daily activities or posts.
- My friendships are closer than they’ve ever been; I actually have relationships versus a virtual co-existence.
- I’m no longer worrying about digital theft in posting pictures of my family, especially my children. Who knows what Facebook is doing with intel and pictures we’re putting out there…
- I’m less distracted having the Facebook tab open while I’m working. I had created a terrible habit of going back and forth between work and Facebook and consistently refreshing it.
- I’m not spending creative time thinking about witty statuses or photos to post; instead, I’m turning my ideas into productive articles and content.
If you find yourself in the same position as I was, consider deactivating Facebook for awhile, or at least removing the app from your phone. You’ll feel free and I promise your productivity will skyrocket. If you want to take it to the next level, consider a detox from your phone for many hours during the day.
You are capable of more than you know