It’s been 7 years since I quit Facebook.
Because I thought…
” Why Do I Need Facebook Anyway? “
7 years ago
I had on my friends’ list almost every person I ever knew, met even once, exchanged a smile with or even stood next to in the ATM queue! I was a typical Facebooking twenty-something female scrolling down in search of something I was clueless about. Uploading pictures from my personal life every day and waiting for likes and comments was routine for me!
It didn’t end there!
With the friend’s list that I had, I was constantly bombarded with photos and videos of other people’s personal lives (which I actually had no use seeing, but still had to!). On days that I felt sad or depressed about my life, a happy moment in pictures shared on somebody else’s profile made things even worse!
Women my age looked prettier on Facebook than they actually were in real life and I compared my humble self with them while looking at myself in the honest mirror! Sometimes at 11 in the night, with me clad in pyjamas and my hair tied up in a bun and sometimes at 7 in the morning with unruly hair and thoughts about my self, my life and my looks!
Apart from this, I found myself on the phone right from while waiting for the cab to waiting for the milk to get boiled, from attending nature’s calls (which would spill over to 30mins instead of five!) to passively watching the idiot box sprawled on my couch in the hall room, or even just before going to bed and soon after getting up! In short – I used to be on the phone Facebooking – all the time!
He gave me some much-needed Gyan about how social media is slaying real life, real relationships and how we tend to build strong virtual relationships with people who are seven seas away from where we are but forget to say even a Hi! to someone sitting right next to us!
My counterargument remained to be the fact that I would lose touch with many if I quit, primarily because I didn’t have their e-mail ids or phone numbers.
He told me without pulling any punches that those who really want to stay in touch with you neither are nor will be at the mercy of Facebook. My mind gave supportive evidence by making me remember how I took all the pains in the world to find the contact details of a childhood school friend only to invite her to my wedding and how I ‘didn’t’ include a few others on the guest list despite having all their contact details.
This clearly proved to me that neither people required Facebook to be in touch with me nor did I to be in touch with them!
So, I took in a positive stride the satya vachan of My Man; put a firm foot down and resolved to quit Facebook!
Bam! Only after trying to quit I realised that
‘you might quit Facebook but Facebook never quits you!’
Those guys don’t allow you to entirely delete your account from Facebook. You just log out of it and that’s it! If someday, you get up in the morning, feel crappy, and wish to get onto the fast-moving train of social media then Facebook is right there with arms wide open, welcoming you to step into the bog of virtual relationships and time-killing ideas. Also, it never lets you leave after you’ve made a comeback because by then you have divorced your strong willpower and your devil self gets the better of you!
But, fortunately, and thankfully by the grace of My Man’s support and my ‘strong enough’ willpower I quit (read: logged out of) Facebook to never log in ever again.
Life changed for good. I had more time to myself. I met friends more often. I clicked pictures to preserve memories and not to upload them for everyone to see. I came to know about developments in close one’s lives directly from them and not via their Facebook profiles. Life felt good, peaceful and real.
3 years later
I was a new Mom and a newbie to the world of blogging. I recognized that to make my voice reach others who would really like to listen, I needed to have a Facebook page to promote my posts. Nothing comes for free! Neither did the Facebook page which could be created only if I had a Facebook profile.
So, there I was! I could see Facebook – right in front of me – arms wide open – on its knees – pleading me to make a comeback!
And, I did!
But! I was smart enough to not let the hard work of past 3 years go down the drain. I created a new public profile (and moved on to creating a Facebook page), with no significant details about my life on it. I used it only to help Being Mumma reach out! In a nutshell, according to me, I’m using Facebook for all the right reasons – reaching out to people without bombarding my life onto them and without letting theirs bombard onto me!
As far as my Facebook life is concerned, I started receiving friends’ requests soon after I was back. That’s another thing that the requests are now pending since ages and are piling on day after day. On my current friend’s list, I have a few very close people whom I’m in close contact with even in my real life.
By penning down my thoughts on the need for Facebook, I don’t wish to strike a debate on patent subjects like ‘Facebook: Curse or Boon?’ or ‘Is Facebook Good For Society?’. Nor do I wish to encourage people to quit Facebook. I have no hard feelings about the great Mark Zuckerberg either. In fact, I was one of the first ones to watch the movie ‘Facebook‘! Ha. Ha. So, all in all, I totally respect, love, admire, any-other-positive-and-suitable-adjective him and I’m not against him in any way.
I hate ‘my old self’ that kept on walking on the Facebook treadmill. I sweat out all my mental space and peace of mind owing to my mental workout. This mental workout took me nowhere – neither in reality nor in virtuality. I let Facebook affect my life and that’s precisely where I went wrong.
Fact: There’s nothing wrong with Facebook. You just have to know where to stop; where to not let it affect you.
I’m not a victim of the ‘how-many-people-liked-my-DP’ syndrome. I don’t judge others based on the international vacations they take or the posh restaurants they dine in.
As a mother, I don’t waste time looking at irrelevant pictures when I should be looking after my children.
I am at peace.
What is unsettling is:
Seeing other mothers Facebooking indifferently while their little ones continue to tug at them hungry for attention.
It’s best to let your children distract you while you’re Facebooking, than to let Facebook distract you from your children.
This brings me back to the same question:
‘Why do I need Facebook anyway?’