No, really, it’s gone.
I’ve been dreaming about it for a while; this break up has been slowly coming for years.
It began four or five years ago when I deleted it from my phone. I wanted one less thing to waste time on so I removed the Facebook app.
It was probably around 2016. I was beginning to see stuff from people I was friends with that I didn’t like. Stuff that made my heart hurt, things that made me angry, things that made me lose respect and patience and love.
I didn’t like those feelings so I limited my Facebook access to my computer.
The two things keeping me on Facebook at the time: Facebook was good for my blog, for my writing career. And it held a lot of old pictures and videos I loved.
I began sharing less on Facebook. The past few years, I’ve probably posted something once a month? Maybe less. I stopped sharing most things about my kids online because they’re older now and it doesn’t feel like my place anymore. One day they’ll be able to see the things I’ve posted about them online. And while I don’t think there’s anything bad, they’re their own people with their own stories to tell and I want to give them the freedom to do that.
They still show up on blog posts and Instagram, but it’s very intentional and only with their permission. But mostly, I just avoid sharing about my kids now.
I choose to write about and share my life on the internet. They get that choice too.
As someone who runs a “business” on Facebook, things have changed a lot since I first created that Facebook page in 2011. So many things.
In 2021, I had 2,000+ followers, but none of them got to see the things I posted unless I paid Facebook to access their feeds. More than 2,000 followers and, on average, about 100 people would see a post organically.
I just don’t want to play those games.
Granted, I don’t rely on my blog or social media accounts for income. I blog for no other reason than I enjoy it. This is the exact same reason—maybe with just more focus and intention—I started this blog in 2008. (Shout out to Blogspot and all the dedicated people who used to read all the weird crap I wrote there! I’m slowly going through my archives and taking down lots of things I wrote a decade or more ago. There’s a lot of dumb stuff out there.)
I like writing so I write. But maintaining a website and an email list and a server and other website-related things costs me more than I make from blogging every month. I am always in the red running this space. (There was a time when I made a good income from blogging; I stopped doing that a few years ago because it’s not how I want to spend my time. Maybe that will change in the future. Who knows.)
But I pay those costs, because I like to have a place to write. A place where I don’t have to play games or figure out the latest algorithm changes. A place where I’m in charge, said the Enneagram Eight. (And, yes, I understand Google and ranking and how I’m still a part of the game in some ways, but I don’t make choices to influence those algorithms. I’m purposefully ignoring them.)
No matter the plan or goal, it’s bad business sense to build a business solely on platforms you don’t own or control. When Facebook went down this fall, I loved it. Everything was so quiet. I felt a sense of relief.
That’s when I knew it was time to get rid of Facebook for good.
Full disclosure: I have the job I love—a writing career—because of Facebook. Facebook, in its heyday, shared my blog posts widely. I gained thousands of email subscribers from Facebook. The site visits from Facebook allowed me to work with companies that paid me well to share their products. I got to collaborate with businesses that boosted my resume and byline. Facebook gave me Instagram and Twitter followers. Facebook let a former work colleague post about a contract job she had that led me to the full-time writing job I’ve had for a few years now. A job I love and feel really lucky to get to do every day. I am grateful for Facebook. For what it used to be.
But I don’t need it anymore.
Will my blog visits go down? Absolutely.
Will this move cost me money? Yes.
Will it bother me? No.
I’ll just keep writing here when I feel like it. I’ll still keep posting on Instagram when I want to and keep ignoring it when I don’t. Someone asked if I felt like I was still part of the machine since Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp (two apps I still have and use). My answer is yes, but on my terms.
I still find joy and value in Instagram. I follow who I like, unfollow who I don’t, and spend intentional time there with boundaries. Facebook was not like that for me. I constantly had to hide friends’ posts because they were racist and horrible. I lost respect for people I used to look up to. I saw too much ugly from people I was trying to love there. Plus, it seemed to be more and more a place for people who didn’t understand social norms still applied on the internet. That we don’t gossip and share misinformation and things we wouldn’t say to people’s faces. Facebook has become a place where all the ugly parts of people’s hearts were proudly displayed, commonly in the name of Jesus. Facebook became a dark, dark place. In the name of Jesus. How ironic.
Also, I’m not sure we’re supposed to know the innermost thoughts of a 1000 people we casually know. That seems more harmful than helpful. We know our brains aren’t made for that much information or that many relationships, all of it becomes surface level and fake. Facebook is a mess. Its influence on our culture and relationships and hearts is destructive and concerning.
I don’t want to be a part of that mess anymore.
It’s only been 30 days, and I already feel lighter.
I was able to request a file with all my data from Facebook, so I didn’t lose anything I was worried about. All the pictures of baby Ellie Graham and our yearly Beech Grove pub crawls are safely saved on my Google Drive. I hit delete in the early morning hours of November 1st. Facebook was worried about my choice. It asked a few times if I was serious. And they kept my account available for 30 days just in case I changed my mind. (The only things I will miss are Facebook Marketplace and keeping up with community and school news for our small town. But really, I lived without those things before, and I’ll do it again.)
In the 30 days since I deleted Facebook, I’ve noticed I mostly only used it when I was bored or trying to distract myself from the work I was supposed to be doing. It was a crutch, a really convenient crutch. I’ve only thought about Facebook when I’ve been bored or wanted to escape something. And that realization means I made the right choice for me.
Today is the last day I’ll have access to my old account, all my “friends,” business pages, photos, and comments. I know Facebook hopes I’ll come back. They made (and continue to make) a fortune off their users. A “free” website isn’t ever really free, you’re paying with your information, your time, and your dependency.
I don’t want to pay them anymore.
What does this mean for my other social media apps? Right now, nothing. The cost of using Instagram still comes out in my favor. That might change one day, though. I’m not making any promises. If I’ve learned anything from reading all those old blog posts from years ago, it’s that we learn and change and grow and do better when we know better. And the next step for me was deleting Facebook.
I guess we’ll just have to see where all this growing takes me from here.