It has now been four years since I completely deleted my Facebook account, and I have no regrets. Every so often, there will be a story on the news of how people will try to go a year or without Facebook as an experiment. Or, you will hear tips on how to decrease your usage, such as putting an app on your phone that will only allow you to browse for so many minutes a day.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome when living without Facebook is the fear of missing out, or FOMO. I will admit, that I have had maybe one or two instances of FOMO over the past year or so. However, when I sit there and seriously think about whether I want to rejoin Facebook, the negatives of the social media platform far outweigh the positives for me.
Most of what I want to know I can find in other ways. I listen to the radio and read the newspaper. I live in an extremely rural community, where over half of our population physically lacks internet access, so I am not missing anything by not being online.
If there is something I want to see “on Facebook,” most pages have a public setting and I can still see them. Examples are businesses. Without a Facebook, I cannot interact with the pages. However, one of my biggest complaints about Facebook is the sheer number of people who just lurk without doing anything. So by not having an account and viewing public pages without interacting, I guess I am just doing the same as everyone else.
For people with whom I used to interact with on Facebook, I now communicate by either text message or written letters. Yes, there is still such a thing as putting a stamp on a letter and putting it in those blue boxes you see in places. There is also such a thing as printing a few select photos of importance. You can mail them to your friends and they can put them on their refrigerator with a magnet. Old school or ground breaking?
The one or two times when I felt like I was missing out in the past year did not have to do with news or existing friends. Living in a rural area tends to be lonely and I would like to meet people. So sometimes I do get FOMO, thinking that if I was online I could meet new people.
However, I can tell you that after one very disastrous attempt with a dating app that meeting new people online is horrid. First, there is this thing called catfishing, where people you meet on the internet are not real. That is a scary thing. Second, many of the people that I would meet on the internet are far away. It’s not like we can get together for a cup of coffee or tea. I do like pen pals, but it is also nice to be able to see people in person every once in while.
Loneliness in a rural area is an age-old problem that has yet to be solved. Most people just move to a city to meet more people and be less lonely. Unfortunately, that is not an option for me, so I need to focus on my family and the people I do have around me. This is where I live, and m ability to travel has been curtailed by my disability, so this is where I am.
I definitely do not miss Facebook drama.
I have enough drama in real life being a home owner. I do not need online drama to add to it.
In the novel I am reading for book club this month, there is a comment about people being so in tune with their phone screens and computer screens that they fail to notice real life that is going on around them. Then, when their screens break, people die from an overload of life.
I can definitely tell you, that I have a full life. I may be lonely, but I have plenty of things to do that keep me busy. There is a difference between being alone and being lonely. I do not need to add online drama to my already full plate.
However the concept that people would die from an overload of life if their screens break is an interesting one. People are so used to the fake world they create online that they no longer have the skills to deal with real life in person. This may be why people lack job skills and we see more violence. People no longer have the skills to navigate life because they are stuck in a fake online world.
Four years after Facebook, I still have no regrets. I live in the moment, experiencing my life and my emotions fully. I am fully present for my family and the people in my life. I am not distracted by phone notifications and do not sit for hours in front of a little screen while there are so many things to be experienced around me.
Some people experiment going without Facebook for a year. For me, it has now been four years. I do not anticipate going back. It is such a waste of my time and creates more stress than it does help.
What about you? Do you live without Facebook? Do you find any positives in it?