“It’s career suicide”
That’s a direct quote from a comedian friend when I said I was killing Facebook. Another guy said “It was nice knowing ya,” as if we would never see each other again. I’ve never quit college, but I think my parents would have taken that better than my friends did hearing I was leaving “the book.” You’re gonna ruin your life! You’ll be the fry cook of comedy. You need Facebook to get a job!
I’d been thinking about doing it for a long time. Specifically when I would login to 30 notifications for shows I wasn’t on, fan pages I didn’t have any interest in, and games I had consistently declined. I began to boil over, wondering what value is this bringing to my life? How is aimlessly scrolling through status updates enriching me in any way?
Why am I still here?
It was hard to admit but I was addicted. I needed that feeling of connection even though it was hurting me. If I went a day without going on Facebook I would get antsy. I took the app off of my phone to quell the desire to check it, but I’d login via the internet instead. I would check FB before going on stage and while waiting for the subway. During breaks in conversation...I used Facebook the same way most people say “um.”
Something needed to change. I realized that I was only on Facebook because it was comfortable. I was used to the sensation of checking events, looking through messages and saying HBD to people I barely knew. It was my thumb and brain combining to form a nervous tick created from muscle memory.
The more I checked it the angrier I got. Why did he get that show? How come he never got back to me when I know he read the message? Why is everyone moving up the ladder but me? It was like a recovering alcoholic who willingly puts himself in bars and watches his friends and enemies drink.
My final straw came when I got an event invite for a show I was supposed to be on, only to discover I wasn’t listed. When I asked the booker about it, she said next month; 2 months later I hadn’t done the show. I had been completely forgotten. That’s when I realized something had to change. To everyone in Facebook land I was killing it. I knew how to wag my dick and look like a big shot.
In real life my career was stalling. My mood was sour, my attitude felt like the lyrics of a Staind song. I contemplated moving just to escape the nagging feeling of “not doing enough” that New York instills in you.
I deactivated Facebook because I had to.
I have never followed the status quo. It’s a consistent pattern in my life. When I lived in Seattle, I never drank coffee. When I lived in Denver, I never skied. Now that I live in New York, I’ve never been homeless. I don’t do what I’m supposed to just because others do.
If something isn’t enriching my life I detach from it. I have moved twice on a whim because where I was living wasn’t working. Facebook is just the latest example. When they stopped allowing me to block event invites from specific people, when they expected me to pay so fans could see my jokes, when Facebook simply wasn’t fun anymore, I knew.
It was time to take the red pill.
Now that I am finally off, the response has been interesting. People ask, how does it feel to be free of Zuckerberg’s chains? Are you out of the loop? Are you lost?
I feel detached from the rest of the world. In some ways it’s scary but in most ways it’s amazing. I feel calm. I feel zen. (As much as a socially anxious jew can). Every day people tell me “good for you.” Another common response is “I wish I could do that.” I can tell they are experiencing the same struggle I was. Plenty of people have told me I’ve inspired them. They’ve been thinking about it for a long time and just needed that push.
It’s not only entertainers. When you’re single and all your friends are getting married, you feel it. When you’re broke and your newsfeed is filled with pictures of vacations, you experience it. Everyone knows the ugly feeling of Facebook jealousy. The person we portray online isn’t real. It’s the highlights, the cliff notes. It’s what we WANT people to see.
Not having Facebook has made me work harder because I no longer have a crutch to rely on. I have to hang out at shows because otherwise I won’t have a way to get booked on them.
I’ve started using other social media more like Instagram, Twitter and of course Medium. I’ve found new ways to connect with fans that I wouldn’t have otherwise tried like Meetup and Craigslist.
I’m doing things the old fashioned way. Getting numbers and talking to people face to face. Before social media existed comedians did comedy, and they did it well. It can be done.
I logged in a few days after my official quit date because I’d heard I missed a few messages. Over 100 notifications awaited me. None of them good, or pertinent to me. I felt that familiar anger wash over me. The rage built up inside. I immediately deactivated again before it consumed me.
Perhaps quitting Facebook was the wrong decision. Only time will tell. But for now it’s never felt more right.
If you like what you just read, please hit the green ‘Recommend’ button below so others can enjoy it.
Want something less serious? Read some of my jokes on Twitter