Monday, May 30, 2016

Leaving Facebook

Some of my readers may have noticed me around the blogging world a little more often recently. That’s because I quit Facebook on Saturday April 23. I initially joined two years ago just so my kids wouldn’t have to bother to send me text photos of pictures they had posted on Facebook. But it grew and grew. You know how it goes. Someone asks to be your friend, and you think of people you ought to send a friend request to, and boom you’ve got a whole bunch of Facebook friends. There were very occasional requests that I did not accept. But I still ended up with some friends that I barely knew or had never met. I’m not the kind of person to ‘unfriend’ so I’d keep getting information from them. I connected with some high school friends, and just like when I was actually in high school, there were some people I liked and others not so much. A lot of my friends were younger, Margaret’s friends, who so very kindly welcomed me. At first it was loads of fun but then it was not fun anymore. There were too many notifications and too many items in my feed. It was too busy, too quick. 

I’m a sensitive soul who takes people’s troubles (and joys) to heart. I responded with words and not just a 'like' most of the time, especially when I could tell someone needed a boost. Some conversations took place via messages. It all took a lot of my time and a lot of my emotional energy. When I listen to radio news stories, I can turn them off if they are too troubling. There was no turning Facebook news off. Tom has the gift of not paying attention to sidebars or scrolling items. I don't. I read everything and my heart ached too often. 

Five weeks later I feel terrific. I’m calmer, more contented, and I just plain feel easier in my life. The people I love I’ll still be in touch with, but I really can’t take daily contact with hundreds of people. It began to feel like I lived in a noisy, bustling city instead of my quiet, rural home, or that I was at a constant party with everyone talking at once. 

Facebook took up so much time and thought that I didn’t have the energy to write blog posts or to read other postings very often. And I didn’t even have Facebook on my phone! I would come to my desktop and settle in a few times a day, reading and commenting on my friends’ postings. I was always bothered by the ephemeral quality of Facebook. Here for a minute and then a different post takes the place of another. And some people post several times a day. Whew! I just couldn’t keep up, and decided I really didn’t want to. If I miss something I’ll either find out about it or I won’t. Since I've left, there has been a baby born, and a death has occurred. I didn't hear about them immediately but soon enough Margaret let me know. As I said, I feel a whole lot better, and even if all the world is on Facebook, I won’t be. 

I greatly prefer the focused reading of blogs. I love the blogging world for its quiet, contemplative, thoughtful postings. I love the slowness of blogging. If I don’t have time to read one day, I can catch up the next. And I don’t have any of those alerts that tell you there are 200 blog posts waiting to be read. I have a blog list on the side of my blog, in order of most recent postings. I still am not able to visit blogs, comment, and write my own as often as in Tom's pre-retirement days and in our pre-grandchildren days, but that's okay. I do my best, and am no longer split between blogging and Facebook.

I am exceedingly happy about this choice. 

46 comments:

  1. Sounds like a very sane decision...I am slightly introverted myself and just don't look some of the time........

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    1. I think I'm more than "slightly" - haha!

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  2. Nan, I know exactly what you mean! I closed it down too because it totally consumed my life. After about a year I opened a new one at an old friends request so we could exchange photos etc and catch up easier. This time I don't get on it a lot. Just pop off and on and have very few friends. Only the ones that I really want to stay up to date with. The gal I started back up for passed away from cancer a few months ago and I was so glad we had gotten back in touch for that short period.

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  3. I completely understand how Facebook! I don't have it myself but Richard does. I am much like you I think, it is all a bit much for me. Glad you gave it up. If it makes Nan happy, it makes me happy. x

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    1. What a sweet thing to say. Thanks.

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  4. I do enjoy blogging, it is more slow paced and friendly. I am on Facebook for as long as I enjoy it; I can understand that you are happy to have left FB.

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    1. I really love how you described blogging. Perfect.

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  5. I do agree about blogging. FB is not for me. My husband got really involved with FB when he retired, finding all his classmates from 45 years ago He works hard in the yard all day and then comes in and gets a glass of tea and spends a couple of hours on FB. I don't understand why these old guys take so many pictures of their gardens and post them back and forth. It was really bad last summer when they were weighing and measuring tomatoes every day. My husband is happy with his old friends from 300 miles away, but he is not making friends here.

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    1. This is so interesting. It sounds like his use of Fb makes him very happy. He must miss those friends and this is his way of keeping connected. I wonder how easy it is to make friends later in life. I can't think of any 'new' friends I have. I think my newest friendship is 28 years old! You've given me a lot to think about in your comment. Thanks.

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  6. Facebook has never been "my" kind of thing; too much going on and demanding my attention - there is plenty of that all day at work already. Even if it weren't for my professional ethics (Facebook is pretty much a no-no for many who work in data security and privacy protection), I wouldn't want an account there.
    As you say, we can always find ways to be in touch with those people who truly matter to us! The pace of life in blogland suits me much better, too :-)

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    1. I have wondered a lot about younger people (like you!) and their use of social media. I don't have kids at home or a job and yet I felt it was all too much. I can't imagine being a young mother and/or having a full time job and having any time left for living if on social media all the time.

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  7. I do still have my Facebook account but I find it more and more annoying with all the ads. I do still prefer my blog and don't look at Facebook much.

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    1. There's been a lot in the press lately about Fb's manipulation of news stories - they decide what we'll read. I guess they see what stories we read and then give us related ones. I don't know how it all works. And yes, the ads make it so cluttered, so crowded.

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  8. I enjoy blogging so much better than FB. The only reason why I got onto FB is because of my grandchildren who live away. I am able to ignore the rest for the most part until or unless I want to look. I can ignore making friends or accepting friends etc. It is a balance. I am glad that you are here because I never miss your posts even if I don't comment. When you are here you have something to say and I love to read it. Cheers.

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    1. See, that's a reason I would be on Fb! It's a good way to 'see' people like your grandchildren. What a dear thing to say. Thanks so much.

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  9. Like you, Nan, I found Facebook getting to be a bit much. So a while back I went through my "friends" and chose to remain friends with them but not to receive posts from most of them. I've green-dotted people whose posts I really want to see. And because the posts of the people I want to hear from are on top I quit scrolling when I get tired or after 10 minutes has gone by.

    Facebook put me back in touch with a gal who lives on the street where I grew up and whom I have known since I was 10 years old but whom I hadn't seen or heard from in decades. I connected with high-school and college classmates. I met new "friends" who have become real friends, some of whom who have come to visit me in person. Goodreads posts reviews automatically to Facebook. I particularly like the jokes and the art some people post. And I use Facebook to run a book tournament every spring.

    So for me Facebook is a wonderful tool. But as with so much else, I have to control IT and not let IT control me and like you I had to get a handle on it. You have made a wise decision for you. I have, I think, made a wise decision for me. But it's not nearly as valuable to me as my favorite blogs.

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    1. I loved reading this, and hearing about how you use Fb, and how you learned to control it!

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  10. This was such an interesting post and an interesting discussion Nan. (Yours is one of the few blogs where I always always take time to read every comment... you have created a real community here.) I am on FB, for the same reason as others mentioned -- the pictures of the littles (in my case, the great-grandchildren). I have "muted" most of the people who are my "friends" in a process that Mary above describes better than I.

    I too much prefer the pace of blogging -- the fact that I can catch up if I miss a few days, the fact that I learn something from all of my favorite blogs -- something new every day. All the reasons everybody else has mentioned already.

    Along the same line, I used to also love keeping in touch with far away friends and loved ones by E-Mail. Same reasons as with blogging, you could send somebody a message at midnight and know they'd see it at a good time for them..... but now everybody is in to instant messaging, which I hate passionately. I just don't get it!

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    1. I think one of the things is that emails come on phones now, and those little phones are so busy, so full of Instagram photos, and Fb notifications that the emails are left by the wayside. My daughter has thousands of unread emails. And I know this is the norm, at least for younger people. When I email one of my kids, I often text them to say I've sent an email!!

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  11. Ah Nan! Understandable. I never joined myself, mainly because when it all first started, the first request I got was to be a friend.....to a person I had worked with but didn't want it to go further, even over the ether!! So I never picked it up at all. I have a phone, I have an email address, I have a blog. You want me? You can find me if you want to!! Love to you and you'll sure enjoy all that extra time. xx

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    1. That's the thing exactly. People so often become 'friends' who aren't really in real life. Someone friended me because I knew someone (only through her business) that she knew. Some of my friends were people who live right in my area but whom I've not seen for decades, and suddenly there we are on Fb talking away. It felt very weird to me. I am much closer to all my blogging friends. I so hope you come back because I cannot reach you. When I go to your blog and try to comment, it takes me right to google plus which I am not part of. I haven't been able to find any email address. Please, if you read this, could you email me (found in the 'about me' under the blog photo). I think you may have said one day on your blog that people weren't commenting and maybe there are others like me who can't do so because they aren't in google plus. I think I wrote this to you in another reply, so hope you come back this time. I've even thought of doing a blog post addressed to you! And then deleting it if you see it. :<)))

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    2. Hello Nan! thanks for your reply..... I have put my email address in the subscribe by email box (is that what you meant?), so I guess you then are able to see my address? I have ticked notify me for this particular blog thread, so here's hoping!

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    3. I'm so glad you came back to read the comment. The reason I wanted your email was to say that I couldn't leave a comment, but now you know. So please know that I am reading even if you never see comments from me. Google plus just won't let me do it.

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  12. So now I know! FB is a kind of vortex... I'm of two minds myself but I have to admit I live with my phone in my hand these days. Terrible. I just took a twilight walk in the woods and it felt like scarilege to even look at that phone. I will look for you here. I'm glad you're still here.

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    1. I think a lot of people do. No black flies on your twilight walk? They are bad here.

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  13. I made the same choice as you and left facebook a couple of years ago, and it was amazing how much more peaceful and calm I felt..I did not realize how the endless information coming in through the endless feeds, etc, was giving me stress and anxiety! It's great to just read different blogs, much calmer..it fits a calmer lifestyle and personality..just wanted to say I really resonated with your post and feel the same as you do about the decision to leave facebook1 Love your blog, by the way!

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    1. And your words could be mine! Thanks so much for leaving me a note, and I'm so pleased you like my blog!

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  14. Welcome to the non-facebook club. My husband and I deleted our accounts a few years ago. It was taking too much of my time, staring at the screen, and like you, feeling I need to respond to posts. One of the main reasons we got off was the drama. Please don't post things like "Nothing ever goes right, I am so sad." and use that as "bait" for people to flock and ask what is wrong. My daughter-in-law was famous for that sort of thing. I would be upset that she was upset, meanwhile the issue at hand would be solved but that wasn't shared. No thanks to that drama!

    Now I can blog when I want, visit when I want and experience life firsthand. Like you, I will hear the news when I hear it. By the way, I am still old fashioned enough that i write letters. By hand. haha

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    1. Boy oh boy, you are so right about Fb drama. And the little secrets facet of many postings. Like 'please pray for me - trouble today' without ever explaining. It was like certain 'friends' were in on the secret but others weren't. And rarely did anyone write of the resolution of upsets, sicknesses, etc. Wow, you brought up some things that I had practically forgotten about why I didn't like being there!

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    2. I had to comment again after reading what you said about Fb allows us to be in touch with old friends. You said if we really wanted to do so, we wouldn't need Fb, so true! I keep birthdays logged on a calendar and I actually send real cards, through the mail, what a concept, huh? People are so happy to get a card in the mail. Ok, my rant is over 😊

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    3. Since I quit Fb, I've sent one birthday card and one anniversary card! I would have just sent those wishes on their Fb pages. I have a birthday book - an old Susan Branch Days From the Heart of the Home - and it is open all the time to let me know when someone has a birthday.

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  15. Nan, thanks for a lovely post — I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Facebook. I joined Fb about a year ago, after a great deal of thought. Before I did, I promised myself two things — one, I will never post or comment on controversial issues like religion and politics, and two, all my posts will be original, in the sense that I'll have actually written them. So far so good. I mainly write on books, films, childhood memories, nostalgic stuff, English language, and self-improvement. I will continue as long as I enjoy the medium. However, I agree, Facebook and Twitter take up a lot of time, especially reading and writing time, and sometimes I feel like dumping both. For now, though, I lack the courage to leave.

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    1. I'm sure that your Fb posts are as thoughtful as your blog postings. Would that everyone there were like you! I've never tried twitter.

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  16. I am glad you are happy with your choice, because I enjoy your blog, and I have never been on facebook. Even if I was I would not have that many friends, I haven't kept in touch at all. But I am on the computer all day at work (even at my advanced age), and blogging is just the right amount of time to spend on the computer at home.

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes people say that Fb helps them to be in touch with old friends, but there's a little voice inside me that thinks if we really wanted to be in touch we wouldn't need Fb to do so.

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  17. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking post, Nan. I really do understand. I am finding that I am spending far to much time on Facebook, with nothing to show for it. I actually encouraged my garden club to to have a FB account. It is a good way to show a presence and to advertise events. Since I was pushing it, I figured I should be on it as well. Sigh. I miss the more frequent blogging and its many longer lasting aways and have been easing back into more of a regular schedule.
    All that to get around saying that I'm pleased as punch to see you writing more.

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    1. I thought of you this June 1 morning! "Nothing to show for it." That is so very true, Penny. I felt like everything everyone posted (including my own posts) was here and gone. I'm just not that kind of person. I like the meaningfulness of blogs. Thank you for your last sentence. It means so much.

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  18. We were on the road yesterday, heading home from visiting the Minnesota contingent. Tom did remember to Rabbit Rabbit me in the morning and I thought of you, too. You are very welcome, Nan. I meant it.

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  19. You describe Facebook so well — that's exactly why I'm not there. I prefer to visit with a few friends at a time, both in cyber space and in reality.
    Margaretha

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  20. I sporadically visit Facebook for similar reasons. Also sometimes people post divisive content, which starts a dramatic exchange of opinions (most of them just quick insults)... so I kept my account but only use it to sometimes wish people a happy birthday or look at a friend or relative's new photo album. For similar reasons, I keep Twitter at arm's length. I have an account, but if I tried to keep up with all the feeds, it would just be hours sucked up.

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    1. Sounds like you are doing it just right! I'm actually sending out bday cards again!

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  21. I admire you for doing this, and I love that you are visiting blogs more now as a result. I've always loved and appreciated your comments, so it's lovely to have you visit more often! You inspire me to do more commenting on blogs, too...I have visited but not commented far too often!

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