I deleted Facebook today.
I’ve been on Facebook for 15 years now – I first got on it in 2007. It’s been a huge part of my life for that entire time. And it’s generally been nothing but a drain on my mental health.
The final tipping point was a direct result of my violating one of my cardinal rules – never friend a coworker. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I make sure that people know what they’re getting into when they friend me. And I keep my personal and professional lives as separate as I can. But it was still a mistake.
The problem with social media is that it encourages parasocial relationships. If you aren’t aware of what a parasocial relationship is, it’s a relationship that is one-sided. You can “interact” with people that aren’t really all that interested in you – and you can also be interacted with by people with whom you aren’t particularly interested in interacting with. Sure there are some exceptions, but by and large, that’s what it’s about.
Well, that’s one problem. The other problem is if you actively avoid parasocial relationships. Then you’re free to just troll around and make an ass of yourself. Which is something I also did. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it can become problematic when the entertainment of trolling people is the only thing of value that you get out of it.
So, it’s gone. And it says a lot about my psychological dependence on it that the first thing I wanted to do was announce on Facebook that I’d deleted it, and wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself when that avenue was gone. But that’s also a strong indication that leaving was the right thing.
There was a psychological reason I needed it, or something similar, though. I guess I need to explore that further.
Bye, Facebook. I won’t miss you.