Facebook contributes very little outside of socializing, where the same old social ineptitudes that haven’t evolved past high school are played out, says Jocelyn Hoppa.
The final nail in the coffin for me quitting Facebook came on the heels of news that the social media site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s, net worth weighs in at approximately $19 billion.
At the time, my own bank account probably tipped the scales at a meager $19 just.
For months, I’d already teetered on the brink of quitting this social site where I’ve spent the last seven or so years documenting large swaths of my life in pictures and pithy comments.
Honestly, I don’t feel the need to quit other social media sites I’m active on. They don’t time suck or exacerbate me like Facebook does. Even MySpace, where I had a publishing network set up, allowed me to connect with other writers and actually led to one connection that helped me publish my first book.
Facebook, on the other hand, contributes very little outside of socializing, where the same old social ineptitudes that haven’t evolved past high school are played out.
If one were to add up the vast amount of time I’ve generally pissed away on the site, we’d easily see that I could’ve written a book, started a business, or done any number of things that resulted in producing something meaningful. Instead, it’s all been one giant attempt to incite thumbs up from people I mostly don’t see in real life while putting dollars in the pocket of an already outstandingly rich dude.
All that time invested, and what do I really have to show for it? No book and certainly no billions.
The news of Zuckerberg’s insane wealth threw my mind into a tailspin of dizzying realization. The hours wasted. The time spent waiting for validation. That sick side of myself so willing to sit there silently judging others. The wishing the entire scope of my current life made as much sense as everyone’s Kodak moments.
Have you ever been hungry and found yourself walking back and forth to an empty fridge looking for something to eat? Each return visit, you’re standing there, staring, hoping some awesome food item is going to jump out to satisfy you?
That’s what Facebook has felt like to me. Endlessly empty. And yet, I kept going back. Again, and again, and again…
Why? Am I that much of an addict? Masochist?
For a long time, I wanted to blame everyone else in my Facebook feed for my sense of emptiness and unhappiness when visiting the site. At any given point, my time spent on Facebook would feature some version of the following:
- Photo of baby’s first successful crap on the toilet
- Bold yet poorly formed political stance
- A brag of some sort
- A self-inflated view of how awesome life really is
- Over sharing of really serious addiction problem
- Food photo
- Baby being a baby photo
- God is great sentiment
- Confession of drinking too much last night
- A “Johnny Depp is insanely hot” photo
- Witty comment from friend (Like)
- Inane thought about the weather
- A declaration of tiredness
- Check profile and see how I stack up in comparison
- Think for a minute if I had anything to say
Rinse, repeat, ad nauseam. Meh.
Because in my free time I spent too much time on Facebook, I had nothing to add to the conversation and also no idea what to do with myself after looking at it for so long.
This, in the stupidest of all ironic twists, only added to the barrage of banal minutia Facebook fortifies.
So, I quit.
I’ve been without Facebook for about a month now and, like any addict, I only looked back twice before truly letting go. But after a few days, it was easier to live without it.
What have I done with myself since?
Amazingly, a lot. I’ve had the most productive month in terms of my personal life outside of work in a long, long time. I’ve spent time fixing a few broken aspects of my relationship with my boyfriend, and we’re functioning like these new awesome best friends and lovers because of it. I booked a trip, went to a rock show, made some art, got tickets to a theater production, called friends up, or had more meaningful dialogue through email.
Watching others’ virtual participation in life could never cut that kind of mustard and that’s why I have no intention of looking back again.
How people have come to use Facebook, combined with the sheer number of people currently on the site, creates a sense of anticipation. You never know when someone you actually care about is going to announce an engagement, birth, or death. It’s perfectly acceptable now to announce major life events there, and it’s never a good feeling when you’ve somehow missed it.
Because of that, the mere anticipation of an actual meaningful thing occurring on Facebook keeps us coming back again and again, constantly.
But that’s not a very real way to live.
It’s not even a very real way to look at a social media site. But, we do. And then we don’t understand when it’s not delivering what we want from it. It ends up being people we sorta know saying…stuff. This is a big reason why it bums us all out. It’s not about what people are posting, it’s about what people aren’t posting.
I say, eff Facebook. If you feel even a little bit bummed after visiting the site, it’s time to close your laptop and delete the app from your smart phone. You don’t have to be hasty and quit like I did. Instead, just go do something else—I don’t care if it’s folding laundry—stop catatonically staring into your phone and do something that constitutes actual living.
I’m no expert, but I can almost 100% guarantee your happiness lies somewhere just outside of a social media website.
If nothing comes to you, like it didn’t with me for so long, might I suggest you just go grocery shopping?
Grab a loved one. Find some new recipes. Buy all the ingredients. Fill your fridge with awesomeness. Pour yourselves some wine. Make something so delicious you finish your plate and go back for seconds. Sit back. Belch. Rub your belly, fully satisfied.
And then, with all your might, fight the urge to post photos of your fabulous feast on Facebook. Because honestly, no one really cares.
Jocelyn Hoppa is a writer and editor with 12 years experience, working for various publications such as Crawdaddy!, The L Magazine, and ‘Sup. She currently resides in an outlier town of Philly.