Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Farewell, Facebook!

Hi! So, you might be wondering where I've been. Well, I've been thinking a lot, spending time with my awesome little family as much as possible (Oh, how I adore them!), exercising consistently (Yeah yeah!), serving in my church's youth program, talking on the phone once in a while, Instagramming a bit, oh, and I can't forget sleeping and eating! ;) Basically, I felt like I shouldn't be blogging for a while, so I kept myself busy with other things. But now I'm back, and I have much to say! :)

Today, I want to publicly say farewell to Facebook. Why would I do that, you ask, especially after I just got back on Facebook in October, 2013? (See "My Facebook Experiment.") I have several reasons for quitting my Facebook habit, so I'll share them here—in no particular order. By the by, I'm sure some of you are tired of me posting about Facebook, but I'm writing about it anyway!

1. I care too much—meaning, I care too much about my family and friends. Maybe that seems like an oxymoron, but for me, Facebook and my extremely caring nature is a recipe for a frustrated Adrie.

You see, I never "friended" anyone I didn't feel completely comfortable with. I absolutely had to personally know someone and have (or have had) some sort of a relationship with that person in order to open myself up to them. (Not a formerly-romantic relationship from years ago, mind you, for my husband is the only one I care for!) If I didn't know a person in real life and have a reason for allowing them into Adrie World, I didn't accept their friendship. Similarly, if I felt that someone had crossed my boundary line of appropriateness, I unfriended them. Furthermore, if I felt that someone wasn't really my friend, or they didn't have caring, friendly feelings toward me in real life, I also unfriended them. You know the type of Facebookers that are purely interested—er, shall I say, nosy—in what's going on in other people's lives, like Gladys Kravitz from Bewitched?! My attitude and actions toward unfriending people might sound harsh, but it was the way I could be okay with sharing so much of my life on Facebook. For the record, I unfriended only a handful of people.

Anyway, back to my over-caring...

I spent a lot of time reading my family and friends' posts on Facebook. I loved keeping up with those wonderful people that I care so much about! I read the articles they recommended. I oohed-and-ahhed over their photos. I researched their stances that were different from mine. I commented on their news, be it happy, sad, mundane or exciting. I truly loved connecting with my friends and family and wanted them to absolutely know I was there for them! :)

All of that said, I felt sadness when my excitement and support didn't seem to be reciprocated. Don't get me wrong, I totally get how busy people's lives are. I understand priorities and have mine firmly in place. Yet I let it get to me when my loved ones and friends didn't like or comment on all of my fun news. *And I completely understand that a lot of my friends/family members didn't like or comment on my updates simply because they weren't on Facebook, or their newsfeed wasn't being fed my updates.

2. When it comes to Facebook, I'm a wimp.

Despite what I said previously in my post "Unfriending vs. Unfollowing," I guess I really can't take unfriending as much as I said I could. As pathetic as it sounds, the last person to unfriend me was the straw that broke this lady's Facebook-back! *Remember, I didn't friend someone unless I felt there was a good reason to so. Thus, it hurt when I opened myself up to them and then they ended up unfriending me. And I know there are probably some people out there thinking, "You're such a baby!", but I don't care! These are my feelings and I own them! :)

Many people have asked me, "How did you know you were unfriended?" Well, it's because I went to comment on, or see who liked another friend's post, and saw my prior friend listed with the box "Add Friend" next to their name. I'd think, "I thought we were friends!" Then—despite all reasonable/adult logic inside me (I do have some! Ha ha.)—I felt badly. I wondered what status update or comment I wrote that was so unfriendable. My sad feelings wouldn't last long, maybe a couple hours, but my friends' actions hurt, nonetheless.

My feelgoods (that's a phrase my little family uses in the place of the word feelings when we're telling someone they've hurt our feelings) were hurt a little when people I care about "Facebook attacked" political positions that I completely identify with, or made fun of my religious beliefs. They didn't "attack" me personally to my "face," but there were many incidents when people I care about shared links, or liked other pages/posts—that subsequently showed up in my newsfeed—that bummed me out, frustrated me, or made me feel unhappy/unkind feelings. I truly strove to not feel that way, but after many months of being strong and pretending to not care, I realized I really did care. No matter what logic I tried to put in my brain, my feelgoods still didn't feel so good. When those instances kept repeating, I came to the conclusion that my Facebook use wasn't worth the time or effort I put forth.

3. The way Facebook operates continually frustrated me.

Up until the day I deactivated my account, I was annoyed at the way Facebook allows everyone's newsfeeds to receive certain posts, but not others. I've written before about their blasted algorithm and my feelings haven't changed. I mean, when I friended someone, or someone friended me, I expected to see their updates! I didn't want to have to check each friend's page every time I wondered about what was going on with them.

Similarly, I didn't want to have to check the "receive notifications" section for each of my friends because then every time someone posted something, my notifications window would have gone bahzonkers-busy. Then I would have had to uncheck all of my notifications each time I logged-on. It would have been so much easier if Facebook would have allowed me to receive all of my friends' updates while simply scrolling through my newsfeed. And I remember it being that way when Facebook began.

That's another frustration I had with Facebook: they were constantly changing their program/standards. It's like one week they were this way, another week they were that way. I'm all for upgrades that actually help people, but many of the "upgrades" Facebook instituted were just a big pain to figure out and get used to!

Oh, and I despised the fact that my friends would see anytime I liked or commented on a public post, or if they were friends with my friend whose status update I interacted with. It's like I had to save my likes and comments so I wouldn't clutter people's newsfeeds. Also, I didn't want to see all of my friends' interactions. I simply wanted to see their personal status updates! Com'on, Facebook, this idea is not difficult to grasp!

I seriously debated about deactivating my FB account for several months before I actually deactivated it on March 9th, 2015. Yet I kept my account active because of my public Enthusiastic Fantastic Facebook page. In case you're wondering, Facebook won't allow anyone to have a public page without having a personal account—which is another big issue I had with Facebook. People should be able to create a public page without having to have a personal account! *Granted, I know I could have used a different email address and created a new account for myself and a new public page, but it really wasn't worth my time!

I honestly thought creating a public FB page would have created more traffic for my blog, but it sooo did not happen...silly me! I hoped I would make some money for my blogging with a public FB page, but that didn't happen either. I think I gained one "like" outside of my personal circle of friends and family. (Thank you to whoever liked my page, that was super kind of you!) I also thought more of my family and friends would have "liked" my Enthusiastic Fantastic Facebook page, but they didn't and their inaction hurt a wee bit. (Refer to reason #1 for an explanation as to why their liking inaction hurt.)

Frankly, I was dismayed to learn about the way Facebook operates its public pages. Before I created my public page, I had zero clue as to how different they are are compared to personal accounts. I didn't realize that FB wouldn't feed my Enthusiastic Fantastic posts to all of my public page's likes/followers. I was frustrated when I realized that even though I had 45 likers, my updates/posts were sometimes fed to only six newsfeeds! Anytime I uploaded my typographic designs to my Enthusiastic Fantastic Facebook album, my posts were only shown to like two or three people—three out of 45! That totally bugged. Yet once I started sharing my public blog posts through my personal timeline, FB showed that my posts were usually shown to about 29 followers. 29 is better than six, but it's certainly not 45!

What was most annoying was this: Facebook's favorite thing to tell me was something like, "To share your post with more of your audience, create an ad (i.e., an advertisement)!" Duh. I didn't realize until I created a public Facebook page just how much they are all about the money. It took a while, but I finally internalized that my personal timeline posts were probably not being shown to as many of my friends/family as I thought they were. And while that made me feel a little better about the lack of reciprocation, I was mainly thinking, "Duh! Facebook really is just a research and marketing machine! They want to keep us guessing so we'll spend more time on Facebook, thus we'll end up sharing more information with the companies who receive our data for marketing purposes!"

It might sound wacky to some, but I think people are working for Facebook for free, and they don't even realize it! Maybe many people realize it, but they feel the benefits are worth the trade-off, or, maybe they just don't care. Yes, I still believe Facebook has some benefits, but I'm no longer willing to sacrifice my time, energy, happy feelings or personal data in exchange for those benefits.

Now I'd like to explain why I'm okay being done with Facebook:
  • I finally feel truly settled in my life—for the first time since I've been married! This tremendously happy feeling helps eliminate my need for Facebook because I feel connected to my friends and family who have stuck with me, despite how many times we've moved. Those dear, wonderful people who have stayed in my life mean more to me than they'll ever know! Thank you, thank youmy peeps, from the bottom of my heart! :)
  • I've discovered Instagram! This lovely little app would have been highly beneficial to me the first time I quit Facebook. Yes, I know Instagram isn't perfect either—one can find inappropriate images if they barely try (Of course, I avoid those like the plague!!), but for the most part, I think Instagram is filled with positives! Here are a few reasons I like Instagram: It's only photos. Then my heart doesn't have to hurt like it did when I was active on Facebook. Instagram takes up much less time. It's so simple to just page down my Instagram feed, look at and like my friends'/family members' photos, and then log-off! Things are so organized on Instagram by hashtags and names, there's never been anyone I couldn't find—unless they didn't want to be found. *Unlike Facebook, I receive ALL of my friends' updates on Instagram, and I know they receive mine! :) I love never having to wonder whether my friends/family saw my posts, or not. I know the only reason they wouldn't see something I shared is if they didn't log-in for more than three days. I've been able to connect with so many new people on Instagram—more than I ever did on Facebook!
  • My soul is much less cluttered, which makes me feel so free!! I didn't realize just how much Facebook filled my mind and heart until I was no longer on it. I've been pleasantly surprised over the past two weeks that I've not missed Facebook one bit. I didn't miss it the last time I got off, but I was a bit concerned this time that I would miss it, so I'm really grateful I'm totally fine! :) Again, I think Instagram is greatly helping in this area because I'm still connected with many of my friends and family. I love that we can still see each other's photos!
  • I asked my little family if any of them would ever be on Facebook, and they all firmly said, "NO!" Knowing that my beloved husband and children will never be on Facebook made my decision to deactivate my account super easy. Again, I don't want to miss out on updates from the most important people in my life!
  • My husband, Greg, loves the fact that I'm not on Facebook anymore. He's never liked it, never will like it, but he supported me when I was on it for so many years. That tells you what kind of a stellar guy he is—always supporting and loving me, no matter what! I enjoy knowing I've done something that makes him happy! :)
  • I still have my blog! :) I will always have my blog! I love Enthusiastic Fantastic, it is my happy place! I have many other happy places, but you know what I mean. Blogging has always been much more beneficial to me than Facebook ever was. Hmm...beneficial blogging(!), I've just created a new phrase! Yay me! Ha ha. Anyway, I don't write perfectly, but I love knowing my words will last for my loved ones long after I'm gone. :)
  • I've continued having good contact with my family members and friends via texts, emails, phone calls, Instagram, and in-person. I enjoy asking them, "Hey! What's new?!" and really meaning it because I didn't just see everything they posted on Facebook! Ha ha. No, it wasn't as bad as all that. Despite what I just said, people aren't incessantly on Facebook. :) But it really is fun talking with others and organically finding out what they've been up to. It honestly feels just like the good ol' days! As my youngest son always jokes—in his best grandpa voice, "'Back in my day,' we used to have face-to-face conversation! None of that new-fangled walkie-talkie-ing through that little rectangle in your hand there!" Ha ha.
In conclusion, when I first perused Instagram with my public Enthusiastic Fantastic account, I found a lovely little saying, "Defend your tenderness." I immediately latched onto that sentiment because leaving Facebook is one way I've chosen to protect and defend my tenderness! Off to YogaX I go! :)

*Update, 05/13/16:
I just read this fascinating article on the New York Times, "Facebook’s Bias Is Built-In, and Bears Watching," by Farhad Manjoo. I highly recommend reading it because it shares even more reasons I'm so glad/relieved/happy I quit Fakebook! Yes, I refuse to be manipulated! #feistyAdrie! Ha ha.

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