The FB Tradeoff

One of the more life-defining choices I’ve made this year, is the decision to go off Facebook. It started from December last year, after India, when I realised that I didn’t need FB to have a good quality of life, and was in fact better off without it. So 2017 started without FB. Jan, Feb, and now, March. This post is in celebration of my 3 months without Facebook ๐Ÿ™‚

The pros:

  1. No more aimless browsing. How often have I sat in the train, and, without even thinking, reach for my phone and tap on the FB app. And started scrolling. Down, down, down. How much of what I saw and did on FB contributed to my peace of mind and quality of life? Hardly. I still do that on Instagram now, sometimes, but I’m much more mindful of it, and make effort to occupy my time in other ways instead. Even just mindful breathing is more beneficial than mindless scrolling…
  2. Less struggle with comparison. I don’t like to admit this, but I guess it’s true. Even though it’s easy to say that we shouldn’t compare with others, FB provides us with the perfect platform to do just that. To see what others are up to, and then (consciously or unconsciously) see how we measure up. Especially since I’m starting on a new job, I thought it’d be wise to protect myself from this for the time being. Life is hard enough without having to struggle with more inner demons.
  3. Lessย emotional roller coasters. I know FB is a source of news for happenings around the world. I know I’d be no different from a mountain tortoise if I did not make effort to find out what’s happening in the world. But I always get so affected by news. The videos, the flashing images, the negativity, the judging, the tragedies… Not being bombarded by depressing images the minute I open an app, needless to say, has had strong impact on my peace of mind too. And I’m sure that would be a greater contribution to world peace than being updated with every single bombing that goes on.
  4. Safe. I didn’t like how FB was showing me ads and sponsors for things and items that I’d be likely to buy/patronise from. I’d like to decide for myself as much as possible thank you very much.

 

The cons:

Facebook allowed me to live with the illusion that my social life was wider than it really was.

By consistently liking posts of an ex-colleague, I could send the message that I still cared about what was going on in their lives. By tagging friends and responding to tagged posts of articles and links, we could still ensure that we were still on the same wavelengths and worldviews, even if we didn’t meet up. A simple thing such as responding to each others’ posts gave us the warrant to tell mutual friends: “Yeah, I still keep in touch with so-and-so… she’s doing…” And the list goes on.

Now I’m realising that I have a group of friends that I had only “kept in touch” with through FB, and without FB, there is a possibility that the “friendship” could be lost forever. I feel like I have to make a decision between letting them becomeย close friends, with whom I would make the effort to meet up with every once in a while, and the “lost into oblivion” category. FB provided the comfortable middle ground of virtual socialisation, which I would not have access to now by virtue of this decision. So I realise that a lot of people are being sucked out of my world.

Not that I’m complaining. I’m happy with my circle of friends and support – thankful for them everyday. It has always been quality over quantity, and I don’t think it’s something that will change soon. I’ll just eventually come to terms with losing this virtual middle ground, and accept that people come and go. That’s life. As long as I don’t forget the ones that truly matter.

 

Conclusion:

I’m so much happier without FB, and it has brought much more pros than cons – at least that’s how I feel for now. No urge to get back into it anytime soon – or ever.

Let’s see how things go. In the meantime – instagram ;p

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