Why I Deactivated my Facebook Account (and Will Probably Delete It).

Nov 30, 2011 by

This entry was written by , one of the OxonDigital members. The author's views below are entirely their own and may not reflect the views of OxonDigital.
Why I Deactivated my Facebook Account (and Will Probably Delete It).

To set the background for this blog, a bit about me. I spent 3 years of my university life studying the critical role the media plays in creating and influencing culture and society in the contemporary world, focusing on concepts such as representation, identity and power and how these areas embody much of popular culture. I’ve always been an early adopter of new trends and technologies and with Facebook I was no different; I created an account in the second year of my undergraduate degree, before many of my friends had even heard of it, the majority soon followed suit and it became a must-have student accessory. People stopped exchanging phone numbers and it became the norm just to add people you met on Facebook.

2 years later, I left university and continued to use Facebook to keep in touch with housemates and course mates and to organise reunions. In this transitional period of life, I enjoyed seeing updates from friends, some of whom were travelling the globe and posting exotic pictures from the other side of the world, while others were writing status updates about new jobs, new relationships, new houses or moving to the big city. A status update soon replaced a text message, email or phone call. For that year or so post university, Facebook still had its place.

However, during the next couple of years, I became increasingly aware of the 300+ friends every time I updated a status or uploaded a new photo album, and started to question if I wanted all these people to actually have this much insight into my life. I also found the same updates, which I had once enjoyed reading like a friend declaring their new relationship or new job now had the opposite effect and started to tap into insecurities. Everyone was projecting in their own way how they are conforming to the unwritten rules of society and making a success of their lives. Facebook was no longer growing with me but against me, in some cases informing me of things I’d prefer not to know about! It was during this phase I started to “delete” friends who I hadn’t seen or who I’d added in the “honeymoon” phase when activating my account.

Why I Deleted My Facebook Account

During the last year, I started to ask why I was still investing time and energy into something which was actually starting to irritate me. A number of friends said, “Why don’t you just NOT use it?” I thought the same thing too. However, there is something psychologically empowering in being able to say, “Facebook: Not only do I not need you but I’m cutting you out of my life.” While your account is still active, there’s always the temptation to log in, but once it’s deactivated, it stops interrupting your thought process!

As I was considering leaving Facebook, it frequently occurred to me that being on Facebook almost equated to actually “being”; “I Facebook, therefore I am” might have been Descartes philosophical statement for our times. With this realisation, I decided to de-activate my account and was pleasantly surprised to find how easy it was. I exported my events, contacts and birthdays onto my laptop and Facebook insisted I told them why I was leaving, They also confronted me with pictures of my friends with the words, “Kate will miss you” etc.; desperate measures which actually reassured me that my decision to leave was the correct one.

Since then, I honestly haven’t looked back and have no desire to return. I feel free without it and now have the time to invest more in the people and things I enjoy,. It hasn’t had any detrimental effects on my friendships; if anything it has made me more pro-active to pick up the phone and speak to them. This authenticity is something Facebook will never be able to re-create.

During my studies, I read Jean Baudrillard’s work on Simulacra & Simulation. In this work, Baudrillard puts forward the argument that everything now is just a hyper-reality – i.e. we’re absorbed by references without an original (a simulacra). It begs the question, if Facebook is just a simulation of actual human interaction, why are we all still using it as a substitute for the real thing?

Certified Scrum Master & Agile Project Manager at award winning Oxford based web agency White October.

5 Comments

  1. Holly , interesting piece….Im interested to know what insecurities were being tapped into? I see facebook as a complimentary tool to my interaction with my friends.

  2. Jenny Clark

    Here is someone who is willing to put the time and effort into real relationships rather than allowing a website to simulate them on their behalf!
    Good for you Holly!

  3. Sarah

    Hi Holly,

    I am a third year Communications BA student doing my undergrad dissertation on leaving Facebook. I found this post through Google.
    It would be great to speak to you about this in more detail if you don’t mind? I have left my email address so you can get in touch with me that way if you would like.

    Thanks,

    Sarah

  4. Hi Holly,

    I really enjoyed what you’ve written, it’s kind of giving me confidence in the fears I have always had about Facebook (and other Social Media for that matter). I don’t use Facebook (yet), but do use other forms of social media – it still scares me! I wrote a blog about it a while ago, love to get your thoughts (or anyone else’s) here’s the link http://thenewbroccoliblog.wordpress.com/blog-2/i-hear-the-coffee-is-bad-in-the-social-media-cafe/ Happy reading and well done with being anti-Facebook too! Thanks

  5. Holly

    Hi David,

    Just read your blog post, really enjoyed it! It’s funny how different social media platforms almost have different persona’s, like you said Twitter doesn’t seem “scary” at all, perhaps it’s because it’s probably the most anonymous? I had an email from Facebook today reminding me of what I’m missing by not logging in, despite my account being de-activated I had still been tagged in 434 photo’s! Needless to say it back-fired, I logged in and deleted my account permanently and sometimes that’s just as scary as having one of them in the first place!

    Social media should be an enhancement not a replacement of real life interaction, it should make it easier to connect to people we don’t know in the first instance but then stimulate and encourage good old fashion tea and cake type conversations too. If it’s not doing that, then I think you’re better off saying thanks but no thanks…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close