This is about ending my relationship with Facebook! I am still a user, active by many measures, but now I control it not them! Thous shalt have my data, but thou shalt never have my attention and time, not if I don’t want it!
Here’s how I did it, but firstly let me go over a few unsuccessful attempts.
Last year: In August 2013 , I asked my sister to change my FB password and never give it to me again. I deleted Facebook app from my mobile, and voila , I was free. Friends could still ‘tag’ me, so my social presence did not suffer, but I was no more getting notifications on ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ or feeling the urge to comment or like! Great..I went 4 good months like that. And then, I had a chance encounter with the dreamy Leo Di Caprio, and I wanted to tell the whole world and share my selfie with him! So, there I was, requesting a new password almost immediately, verifying it through my email and back on Facebook, all within minutes! And the vicious cycle started all over again!
Earlier attempts: Prior to this, I had deactivated my account a few times between 2009 and 2013. All futile efforts of course. If you have deactivated your account or tried to deactivate your account, you must have noticed how hard facebook makes it for you… “Are you sure you want to leave?” *Pics of four randomly selected ‘friends’ pops up*.. “These friends will miss you”… and then the daily digest of what you are missing and just how many days, hours, minutes or seconds it has been since you last logged in. Like a freaking clingy ex…
So, in the summer of 2014, I was nearing the breaking point of my relationship with Facebook. It felt great when I was on Facebook, reading the useless status updates and some useful shared articles.. but it felt absolutely guilt-laden afterwards. I realized I had just been misused for some digital data which will be sold to brands so they can grab a bigger portion of my wallet… What is worse, I had lost some 30 minutes of my life I will never get back!
The break-up strategy:
Get it off your mobile : Because I travel a lot for work, the primary point of my Facebook engagement were my mobile devices. So, the first step was to delete the app and anything related to Facebook (messenger etc.) from my phone and tablet.
Next, overcome the password temptation: I was given a 30 character long, random gibberish temporary password for resetting my account on an online shopping portal. I copy pasted it immediately to my Facebook account password. There’s no way in hell I know what it is, but by golly is it complicated!
Lastly and most importantly : Accessibility on my own terms – I have a large, static laptop from 8 years ago that just sits, always on, in my home office. That stuff has got my Facebook account with password and ‘remember me’ enabled.. So, when I am home and I want to connect, I just login (without having to key in my password), spend some 15 minutes to catch up on weekly news on friends I care about. It’s amazing how less and less every week I use it. And the second step in this one is still having my foursquare app on my mobile phone ( which is connected to my Facebook account). So, if I really want to check-in somewhere or find out if friends are nearby, I still have an option.
As for being connected with friends, those who want to get in touch will always find a way! My birthday earlier in October was full of loving calls, emails and snail mails:)
Security? – My Facebook account is ultra secure at all levels (Pls don’t take that as a challenge!). So the account security is really not top of my mind, though I stay vigilant about it nonetheless.
Trade-offs – I do miss some interesting factoids and articles on science, sports and world politics etc that some of my like-minded friends shared but it is not a huge price to pay for considering how stressful it is to go through pages and pages of junk status updates, baby pics, food pics, selfies, overall narcissism of ‘My life is better than yours” from some quarters…and the temptation of being drawn into that vortex myself
Since then I have spent more time getting work done, keeping my house clean, catching up on the pile of books I bought but never read..I just feel happier!
It’s not easy to get out of an addiction like Facebook but so far, I have done it successfully, 6 months and counting! Eventually, it came down to valuing my time enough to cut off the ties from what seemed like a manipulative, self-serving, one-sided relationship!
(My WordPress is connected to my FB account as well…so I still get to share my opinion with the world! Now that’s one way to make a relationship work for your own self too, don’t you think ;-))