Deciding to unhitch from Facebook or to break the chains and leave any other social media may not be as simple as you think; be prepared.
Fashion a plan
I suggest you fashion a plan, an exit strategy which allows for a graceful bowing out. I say this because once you’ve gone, you’ve gone. You need to be sure and clear about what you are doing.
Once I made the decision to leave I realised it was not going to be as quick and simple as dropping a laden bag off my shoulder. Depite my desire to instantly let it go and heave a sigh of released relief I realised there was a process to go through.
How I went about it
Groups: I genuinely valued some of the groups I belonged to. I posted messages to say goodbye and acknowledged the help and support I had received. I also offered people who might wish to stay in contact with me, another way to do so by sharing my email, website and mailing list as options.
Pages: On my business page I explained what I was up to. Again I offered other ways to stay in touch. On two other pages where I shared the admin, I explained that I was off and then was able to leave it to others.
Personal: In common with many people I have reconnected with some old friends on FB, and also made new friends. I mainly used messenger to stay in touch so I made sure I had other ways of staying connected before I quit.
Posts: Apparently it’s pretty easy to download your Facebook data which includes all your posts. I found it confusing but apparently have it somewhere now. I’m not that interested though. Now I’m on the other side, it seems far less important than it did before I left. If however you are keen to know the data FB hold on you there are plenty of sites which show you how to find it.
Likes: I went through all the pages I had liked and made, what turned out to be a fairly short list, of those I genuinely wished to follow. I downloaded a Feeder app, mislaid the list and now find myself remarkably uninterested in most of what I previously thought I needed or wanted to know about.
The Facebook itch
Although I have no intention of returning any time soon, if ever, I have experienced an itch, an impulse to check or share. Through repeatedly thinking and behaving that way over the last few years I had created a habit.
This feeling gnawed at me for the first week or so and occasionally still pops up. It’s not a massive cold sweats or muscle cramps withdrawal, more of an echo of something, a background sense of loss and periodic mild discomfort.
I also felt a sense of missing out which I will write more about in another blog as I feel this curious feeling deserves some space and exploration.
Thank God for mindfulness and the awareness is brings. Instead of blindly caving in I have been noticing myself. I’ve had little impulses that previously would have taken me to my screen. Between me and the action is a mindful gap of awareness.
I have been hugely grateful for this especially during the first two weeks.
Two weeks to change your mind
When you delete an account it is a permanent move. However there is an interesting little catch which could and may foul a few folks up. Initially your account is suspended not deleted and you have a two week window in which the simple act of logging on will reactivate your account.
Voila! You are up and running again as if nothing has happened.
Cooling off period
I guess you could call this a cooling off period. Whilst it may be useful, especially for people who delete their accounts on the spur of the moment, my inner cynic assumes this is the carefully planned time frame in which we are most likely to buckle in and log back on.
Delete or deactivate
I have crossed over that threshold now, my account is deleted. All my personal and business information, videos, photos and posts have gone for good (well that’s what they say). It feels great; more clutter cleared from my life, hallelujah!
It appears you can unhitch from Facebook and survive.
There is however another option, you could deactivate your account. This suspends it. People can’t find you but all your information will be up and visible again through the simple action of logging on.
This option doesn’t make sense to me, it’s like playing at deleting rather than doing it. All your information is still there just hidden.
Why would you need to do that?
More disciplined than I am
I know……..it’s the option for those of you who need to take a break, for those more disciplined than I am. Perhaps you want to disappear for some reason, take time out, or maybe you want to experiment and see if you can do without it.
Whatever your reasoning deactivating will require discipline because it’s so easy to log back on. I knew I couldn’t do that. I’ve tried in the past and found myself plugging in my password like I would to enter any other app or account, it’s a doddle and I did it.
All or nothing
For some things I need the all or nothing approach. As some of you already know I am interested in the concept of radical self-care. By radical I mean fundamental change, real and lasting alterations to how things are. It’s a big and far reaching subject but in this context it means that tweaking is too timid, it just just doesn’t cut it when we are caught in the social media trap.
If we want our lives to change sometimes we have to take massive action. A leap of faith is required and for me deletion was that. Only you can weigh up what is right for you but if you suspect your life needs some essential and foundational transformation why not catapult yourself into the unknown. After all it’s only Facebook or other social media we are talking about here.
Much as it might seem essential to life, it’s a myth. Life goes on when we are completely free of social media.
A simpler, calmer life
As some of you know I am creating a simpler, calmer more deeply connected life for myself. This is a process where I most often take baby steps. On occasions however the only way forward is by way of a radical stride.
Brene Brown’s book The Gift’s of Imperfection contains a subtitle that spoke to my heart regarding this matter. It says:
“Letting go of exhaustion as a a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”
The time I spent on FB definately contributed to my whizzing around. I rode that merry-go-round of too tired and too busy way more than was comfortable and I am hoping that inhitching from Facebook will contribute to a calmer way of being here on planet earth.
So many of us are exhausted and constantly talking about how busy we are as if it is something to be proud of. It’s not, it’s a dangerous and disasterous symptom of modern life, an indication that things are way out of whack and social media use has a part to play in that.
I am glad I have gone, I want different things in my life, real connections with real people being one of them.
How about you?
Would you unhitch from Facebook?
What would you choose to deactivate or delete?
How much does being on social media contribute to your busy life?
Other FB articles
I previously wrote about Coming Off Facebook – Awareness, Discomfort, Freedom. The next articles will address addiction, manipulation, lonliness and belonging amongst many other issues which surfaced once I left social media.
Radical Self Care
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