I am taking a break from Facebook and you should too

While I was on my way back to Delhi from Udupi, I wondered if I should upload pictures and tell everybody that I went on a holiday. I briefly logged in to my Facebook account but was in no mood to upload the pictures and then deleted the app from the phone. This was only the third time in over 20 days that I used Facebook. 
I don’t know if it’s just me or there are others who also feel that the interest in Facebook has died down. Although I had been restricting myself to the online social landscape for quite some time, somewhere down I knew the time was coming to quit Facebook, an app that was my gateway to the social world for years but lately started to look like a place where there is no emotional connection in any form. On multiple occasions, I had thought of deleting the Facebook app from my iPhone but I kept coming back to the social network. But this time around, I wanted to take a longer break from Facebook and have no intention to come back anytime sooner.

Ditching Facebook wasn’t on purpose; it happened organically. Perhaps, in my case, what triggered me to leave the world’s most popular social network is the lack of belongingness. Whenever I log in to Facebook, I get a sense that either something is wrong with me or I haven’t done much to change my life. Fears start coming up and they keep multiplying, leaving me drained and exhausted. Being a highly sensitive person (HSP), I feel lost on Facebook because I don’t really connect to the life of what others try to portray on social media. Are they faking their lives? I don’t know. Maybe they are living an alternative life on social media and have no regrets about being a completely different person. Maybe they are not happy in real life but when they post pictures of being drunk online, they feel alive.
Explore life beyond social media. (Image credit: AP)
Whatever the case is, I see a common pattern on Facebook where the emphasis is on either garnering self-praise for something that can’t be achieved easily or posting something that grabs others’ attention. I don’t think a selfie that you have taken outside a gym makes any impact on my life. I am least interested in knowing which phone you got as a present for Raksha Bandhan. The problem is how Facebook puts unnecessary pressure on people to follow a trend and become a part of the conversation. Like these days, everybody wants to comment on The Kashmir Files whether they have seen the movie or understand the core message. These types of behaviour irk me because I am unable to identify who is the real person behind the screen and off the screen.
I may have 3,000 friends on Facebook but do they really know who I am and what I am going through in life? They know me through my ‘social’ profile and based on that they start making an impression of me. My job allows me to travel the world, review the latest tech products, and meet high-profile executives and startup founders. All of this is a part of my job but that doesn’t mean I live a luxurious life where I fly business class and dine in plush restaurants. I have been commuting local transport and Delhi Metro for years, and will continue to do so. That’s the real world for me but for my online friends, I have this cocooned life where everything is larger than life. Facebook, too, thinks I am a rich guy and hence I see advertisements of Dubai’s 5-star hotels on my feed. 

The real problem, however, is how we have given our time and space to Facebook so that it can monetise our profiles and make money out of them. The feed is designed in such a way that it keeps you busy with all sorts of information that I don’t necessarily want to consume. I am not a fan of Kapil Sharma’s show nor I do want to see snippets from Anupamaa at random times of the day. That trending Reels keep going on as if there is no end to scrolling. Facebook’s intention is simply to get you to spend more time on the platform in the name of ‘engaging’ content. 
Len to signals that you get from within and work towards your goals in life. (Image credit: Anuj Bhatia/Indian Express)
Facebook is not a dead platform but its purpose seems to have been lost. I used to enjoy seeing and commenting on photos of friends travelling or getting married. Now I don’t feel like knowing what’s happening in their lives, who they are dating, or how many jobs they have changed during the pandemic. I have stopped caring about every little update about their lives. People share too much information about themselves on social media, so when you meet them in person there is no surprise element left. Their opinions seem forced and don’t come from within the heart. 
As I am getting older and trying to figure out my purpose in life, I am enjoying the current phase where I am spending more time with myself. Facebook is no longer a safe space for people like us who want to guard their private life and don’t really care about ‘likes’ and online popularity. I am not looking for validation or acknowledgement from friends online either. I have accepted the way I am and have no regrets. I want to travel more, make more ‘humane’  connections, and start working on my book.
A recent trip to Udupi feels a lot different from my other getaways in the past. Not only do I feel more relaxed after visiting the coastal town but there is no pressure on me to upload pictures of the trip on Facebook. I am bidding adieu to Mark Zuckerberg’s social media network and I did the right thing. I don’t know if my leaving Facebook has any impact on your life or Zuckerberg’s billionaire status but my motivation to delete the social app purely comes from a space deep within me. 

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