Why I left Facebook
Is it possible to leave Facebook behind and stay connected?
Recently, I've been going through a bit of a discovery period in my life. I've been going back and forth on a lot of things; especially on whether 28 is either too old to be on a journey of self discovery, or too young to be having a midlife crisis. (Which one am I having, nobody knows!) It started, or rather kicked into a higher gear, when my wife launched a start-up to sell her photography, which she has gotten many praises for in the past (and if you happen to be in the market for some wildlife photography and want to incidentally help some animal shelters, check out www.realitysimperfections.com). Things like that tend to be contagious, so naturally I felt an urge to resurrect my writing.
I opened my document folder and found my old fiction file. The date modified read 4/3/2012, I would have had to dust it off of it like an old box in the attic if it wasn't in an electronic format. Inside, I found so many half started and incomplete stories that I was disheartened. There wasn't a single completed story in the file. If I didn't have the discipline to finish a single story before, how could I finish one now that I have a full time career, marriage, house, yard, pets, and my wife’s new start-up to take up my time. I closed the folder and procrastinated for another week. My guilt eventually got the better of me though, and I decided to write something to see how it would go. I found one of my old ideas that I really wanted to work on in the past and started in. I had fun, but quickly ran out of steam as interruption after interruption bogged down my progress.
To make this work, I was going to have to treat this differently than a hobby. Taking some cues from the last couple months, I decided to treat it like a start-up. Every day I would need to sit down, away from distractions and write until I was “off the clock” so to speak. This didn't last very long, as we decided to foster some three week old puppies for an animal rescue group. The puppies were left without a home when the original fosters backed out at the last minute. The puppies took the last of my free time out back and straight up murdered it with their barely erupting puppy teeth.
Getting back around to Facebook. I probably sealed my fate with the social networking site from the very beginning. I am notoriously introverted and never really used it for more than birthday reminders. When my wife began the start-up, however, I knew that Facebook would be an invaluable asset to getting her name out there. I started using it more, I read some posts, threw out some likes, commented on a few things (got into more than one argument in the comments section…I really do try my hardest to avoid politics). I was also posting a few things every day. After I figured my Facebook presence was reestablished, I started sharing and liking Reality’s Imperfections posts and photos. I got nothing back, not a single like, much less any shares, and her GoFundMe got zero traction. My wife had a bit more success from her end of friends and connections though.
I like to think that my family doesn't completely overlook me, so I did some research. It is ridiculously hard to find any real information on things like Facebook’s policies on the internet with all of the conspiracy theories about Facebook floating about, but I did seem to get a consensus about Facebook trying to keep you from seeing anything you may deem offensive (I don’t think they have a great track record on that one). Well, my old friends and most of my family are pretty conservative, so anything coming out of my liberal mouth probably didn't make it to their pages. About this time, the puppies came along. I was completely fed up and decided to delete my account. As of this writing, not a single person has noticed my absence.
Upwards of 25% of all internet traffic is directed through Facebook, and it made me practically invisible. I know that there are also many sites that force you to use a Facebook login. The only reason I can post this on Medium is because they also allow for a Twitter login, which is new to me as well. With the monopoly that they are constructing on the internet, Facebook may be the first company poised to make it impossible to boycott if you want any exposure. If I can stay the course with my writing, after the puppies are adopted of course, I want follow this up with my experience of Facebook-less internet exposure in the post Facebook world from someone with truly no previous exposure.