Saturday, May 25, 2013

How to quit Facebook

One of my readers asked the following question:
I have a huge problem with Facebook. I'm very addicted to that site and it's really hard leaving it. I feel bad because it takes all my time, I can't focus on my work, on people I care, on my personal life... It's frustrating when I realize that I have spent hours for nothing, and I could have done something really useful. I can not even concentrate thinking about who have commented on my posts or clicked like on them. Sometimes I feel so depressed... I tried to deactivate few times, and one time I have endured 3 months without Facebook, but over and over again I come back. I feel horrible, and I need help from this addiction. Please help me and give me advice how can I quit it without any pain...
First, I want to let you know that you are not alone.  There are legions of people who know that Facebook is not right for them, but they are compelled to stay on the site for various reasons.  For example, I had a family member over last week who was talking to me about Facebook.  She said that she has considered leaving Facebook but when she logs back on she sees posts from other family members about things that they will not tell her in person.  These topics include her grandchildren being in the hospital, or other family members getting ready to have a baby.  She realizes that if she leaves Facebook that she will probably not be told about many of these events.  Should she leave Facebook?  That's the question that she is dealing with.

The reality is that there is a huge problem when family members and those who we care about rely on Facebook as the sole medium in which to learn about the happenings of their lives.  It is as if common etiquette has been lost.  What ever happened to making a phone call or sending an e-mail?  Has Facebook made us lazy?  That is the question I find myself asking, and is one reason why I am fighting Facebook by not being on Facebook.

I spend too much time on Facebook.  What can I do to not spend so much time on Facebook?

When I used Facebook, I found that I was checking the site multiple times a day.  Oftentimes I would have a browser tab open with Facebook at all times.  I would check it right when I woke up, many times throughout the day, and right before bed.  I would think about it often.  For example, at school I would think of checking Facebook between classes.  I would wonder if something I had written earlier would anger others.  I would wonder if anyone would disagree with something I said.  Facebook consumed me.  At first I thought it was just me.  I thought maybe I was addicted and others were not.  However, as time went on I saw others obsessing over the site in the same way as I did.  I realized that I wasn't even as obsessed as some.  For example, I would never check it in class nor did I feel the need to own a so-called "smartphone" with Facebook on it.  However, I still knew that there was a problem.  I spent too much time on Facebook and the time was nigh for a change.

I felt that it was almost impossible to limit my Facebook usage.  However, I am sure that there are some people who are better at curbing their use than others.  I have known some people who claim to use Facebook once or twice a week.  However, many of these people still complain about the site and are often angered by what they see when they check in on it.  I strongly recommend quitting Facebook altogether.  First, I do not see a net benefit from using the site.  Second, it's easy to fall back into a pattern of obsessing over Facebook.

If you want to cut down on your usage of Facebook, you could consider rewarding yourself for spending less than an hour a day on the site.  You could also keep a journal of the amount of time you spend on Facebook.  By seeing how much time you spend on Facebook, you may see just how much time you spend on the site.  Consider what else you could have done in this amount of time.

Also, consider writing to your friends and family members through e-mail or calling them.  Instead of using Facebook, try to cultivate strong relationships with them so you do not feel the need to check in on them via Facebook.  This is hard if you have hundreds of friends, but the reality is that very few people really keep in touch with hundreds of people on an intimate level.

Limiting one's use of Facebook is, however, a very challenging endeavor for most people, and that is why I recommend quitting altogether.  You will see the biggest changes in your life if you leave the site and focus on becoming who you want to be.

I want to leave Facebook.  How do I quit Facebook for good?

Many people sincerely want to leave Facebook, but that is often easier said than done.  I realized that the only way I was going to leave Facebook was to remove all of my friends and then deactivate.  That way if I did reactivate, I would have no friends.  I felt that I would feel silly if I added all my friends again.  Therefore, that kept me from coming back.

Sometimes we must take big steps in order to stay away from something.  Merely deactivating a Facebook account will not keep most people from coming back.  It's too easy to go back to Facebook.  Even though I removed all my friends, I could easily make a Facebook profile again.  Therefore, I must keep reminding myself why I left Facebook.  Maintaining this website works well for that.  Whenever I think of going back, I first realize that I would look really silly if I added all my friends back again, and second, I would look like a hypocrite for going back after maintaining this site.

When you do leave Facebook, keep a journal of what you have accomplished since leaving.
  I recommend a notebook or some physical journal.  Title the journal "Life After Facebook" or something similar.  Compare your life and accomplishments since leaving Facebook to how your life was before.  Take advantage of the time you have at your disposal.  Don't merely spend the time you spent on Facebook with a similar endeavor.  Instead, create a list of things you want to do and spend your time moving toward your life goals.

As you see that your grades are improving, if you are more creative, if you spend more time reading, exercising, and living well, write it down.  Keep an eye on how your relationships with others are.  Are they improving?  How?  I found myself becoming angry at others for the things that they would say on Facebook.  Facebook had challenged my view of people.  Many people would share their personal life stories with everyone in the world as if it was a soap opera.  There was no reason I needed to know some of those things.

In order to quit Facebook, you have to want to quit.  It is ultimately your choice and nobody else's.  Do not let anyone sway you into staying.  Do not give into the popular idea that those who are without Facebook are devious.  Do not let anyone tell you that you are missing out.  Many people who have left Facebook have healthier lives.  Many of those who will not leave Facebook barely remember what life without Facebook is like.  In the end, remember, it's up to you to leave or not.

Also read: How to permanently deactivate your Facebook profile.

How can I stay off Facebook once I leave?

Staying off Facebook is often the hardest part.  That's because anyone can deactivate for a while.  Furthermore, you can make a new profile at any time.  However, it's so easy to go back and each day will be a challenge.  Facebook is everywhere.  There's even a Facebook phone that recently came out.  Facebook really wants everyone to be hooked up to the site, and it seems that most of the world agrees.

So, how do you go about staying off Facebook once you deactivated?  Well, the way I do it is by reminding myself what life was like when I was on Facebook.  Another way is in telling myself that my life would not be nearly as good with Facebook as it is without.  It took me some time to prove to myself that life without Facebook was better than life with Facebook.  It was hard to stay away, with all the advertisements telling me to use Facebook or all the friends and family members who wanted me back.  However, I would sometimes see that others did not have Facebook accounts.  I would sometimes read how certain people felt no need for Facebook, and that reassured me that I made the right choice.  Whenever I thought about going back to Facebook I would remind myself of what my life was like on Facebook.  I spent so much time after leaving Facebook with writing, blogging, traveling, finishing school, improving relationships, losing weight, improving health, and achieving my goals that sitting in front of the screen and poking old high school chums did not appeal to me any longer.  Of course I get very curious about what others are up to, and the reality is that I will not know what is going on in the lives of many unless I sign on to Facebook.  But does it matter?  No.  Why would I need to know what was going on in the lives of every single person I once knew?  If I found out would it make my life better?  Of course not.  In fact, I may find myself becoming jealous of some or angry at the way many are acting on the site.  In the end I know I would feel like a fool for going back to the site and that is enough to keep me away from it.

If you want to quit Facebook you have to take it one day at a time.  Leaving Facebook is in many ways like giving up an alcohol or drug addiction.  It is very hard for people to stay away because there is a certain drive in the brain to go back.  Facebook has purposely been designed to be addictive.  We all want to show off what we have done.  We all want the acceptance of others.  We crave "likes" and praise.  It's hard to give all that up.  Yet, giving Facebook up is something that is necessary for some people.  Many people feel angry at themselves for their use of Facebook.  Some are more addicted to the site than others.  Many want to be off the site for good.

Keep track of each day you are off the site.  Keep a calendar and mark each day.  Try to go a week, then a month, then half a year, then a year.  Can you go three years?  How about five?  Will Facebook still be popular then?  I hope not.  The longer you go without Facebook, the easier it will be to stay away.

Also, ask your family and friends to not talk about Facebook to you.  Resist the urge to ask about what others are saying on the site.  Your friends and family should respect your choice to leave.  If they don't, send them to this site.  If you keep Facebook out of your mind, you will start to no longer mistakenly feel that you need it in your life.

If you still need help with leaving Facebook, e-mail me at
  I am available with any questions you may have.  If you want to talk about it with others, I have created a forum for those who want to discuss leaving Facebook behind and how they are coping.

You have to have faith in yourself and your abilities if you want to make a meaningful change in your life.  There is no reason why you can not, in the end, be free from Facebook and (a)social networking.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Twitter: Now Just a Way to Get You to Buy Stuff!

One of the most putrid pastimes on the internet is moving away from being a place to share your life, your joys, your girls and your boys and toward a way of trying to thrust consumerism upon the unsuspecting masses.  Twitter, dear readers, is fast becoming more about advertising and noise than about whatever the heck it used to be about.   In fact, still to this day I can not get my mind around what the heck Twitter's purpose is.

What is the purpose of Twitter?

Even informational sites like Wikipedia can not formulate a straight answer to this question.  While many people ask this question, few actually know.  In fact, along with the location of the Arc of the Covenant and Aladdin's lost lamp, Twitter's purpose baffles many.  Twitter, it could be said, is a purposeless waste of time.

Yet many have invested thousands upon thousands of hours Tweeting.  When I tried Twitter I found that people were posting about a wide variety of subjects, such as products that they were selling, anger at the media, hate speech, and whatever Twitter deemed to be "trending" at the time.  Twitter was a tool in which the poster could express themselves in a limited amount of characters, cross their fingers, and hope that the rest of the world was listening to what they had to say. 

But, as time passes, less people are listening to each others Tweets.  Twitter, like it's amalgamated step-cousin Facebook, is slowly declining.  Why is that?  Well, first of all, people are starting to wake up and realize that they do not want to literally sink their lives into such sites.  Second, Twitter and Facebook are no longer novel and new.  Third, (a)social media sites like Twitter are now just ways in which people are trying to sell you things.  Much of what the user sees are products being peddled.  Many people don't like that.  They started using these sites to express themselves and be unique.  Whether or not that purpose was actually achieved is up for debate.  However, the reality is that the modern Twitter is a wasteland of, well, putrid waste.  It's the sludge of the internet at its absolute finest.  Twitter, like other (a)social media, has infiltrated the internet and the time is nigh for a clean up. 

An Electronic Superfund Site?

In fact, it could be argued that the internet is becoming somewhat of an electronic superfund site.  Sites like Twitter have caused a back up of garbage to accumulate on the internet.  The internet is full of spam and sites like Facebook and Twitter are factories that produce incredible amounts of it.  Many users of Twitter are asking: "Is Twitter losing its popularity?"  Yes.  I do think so.  Yet, there is a long way to go.  Even if a few hundred people leave the site tomorrow, the fact remains that Twitter is loaded with people who are absorbed in the site at any given moment. 

The next time you log into Twitter, take a long look around.  Have you noticed that much of the posts are trying to get you to buy something?  How much of what you read on Twitter is just noise?  Does being on Twitter really do anything for you?  Think about it.  Does the amount of time that you spend on Twitter pay for itself?  Or are you just allowing your mind to grow more numb by the second?

I left Twitter because, like Facebook, I found that it did not belong in a healthy and meaningful life.  If you are spending hours a day on these sites instead of actually living your life, you may want to reconsider your priorities. 

Is Using Twitter to Advertise Worth The Hassle?

Many people think that Twitter is an integral part of selling a product, whether it be something on their Etsy store or a book that they published and sell on the internet.  The reality is that Twitter does very few people that much good.  Here is why:

1.  In order to make your product stand out, you have to also stand out yourself.  This takes an inordinate amount of time and effort that may not be worth it.  For example, ask yourself: Is it worth the time to create thousands upon thousands of Twitter connections, something that can take months of time, just to sell a few products?

2. If you try to friend too many people on Twitter, your account may be banned.  At the very least, you will probably get a warning.  Twitter wants people to add connections, but there is a double standard.  You can not add too many people at once.  This is a way in which Twitter gets you to have to spend days in order to slowly get a following.  What a waste, huh?

3.  The more people you follow, the more noise you hear.  Many of your "connections" will be on Twitter merely to sell their own products.  Many will not even be reading the tweets from the thousands of connections they already have.  Your eyes will be sore.

4.  After searching the internet, I found that Twitter has developed a reputation as being a place that is hard to sell on.  In other words, good luck turning those obnoxious Tweets into sales conversions.  However, that doesn't mean that MILLIONS of people are not trying to do that already.

5.  You may find that many of your followers will eventually no longer be interested in following you or your product if you are pushing it too heavily.  On the flip side, if you don't push it heavily, your posts will be lost in the sea of Twitter noise.  Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!

In short, unless you are somewhat masochistic, you may want to find other ways in which to advertise your product.  (A)social media is an overrated method for selling.  However, the sites would never tell you that.  After all, that's how they make millions of dollars.  Without users peddling products and paying for ads, these sites would buckle and fall into the abyss, along with the almost forgotten fads of the past.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Living Double Lives on Facebook

Sometimes people want the world to think that their life is better or more exciting than it really is.  For example, there is a member of my family who is having a hard time in her life with her third marriage.  She outright stated that she purposely makes her life seem perfect on Facebook although in real life it is far from what she wants it to be.  While those who live close to her realize that her life is, in many ways, shattered, family members and friends who live far away see her life as being something to envy.  In short, many of those who view her Falsebook profile are only seeing a false life that has been, in short, made up.

They are seeing a life that exists only in the deepest sanctums of her imagination.  And they believe it is reality.

Many people live double lives on and off of Facebook.  I found that, when I used to be a user of the site, that my life often seemed more exciting on Facebook.  I would sit back and ask myself how others must view my life.  It made me feel good for a while, knowing that those who I knew in the past and generally no longer talked to that much probably thought I was living an amazing life.  Although I am very happy with my life, it is not all glamor.  For example, while I do travel very often, I oftentimes stay in places that many people would probably never set foot in.  Yet, I would rarely show those places when I had a Facebook profile.  Most people, I found, were envious of my life, as if it was something unattainable.  I realized that I did not like people thinking this way about me, but I found it almost impossible to not live a double life on Facebook.

Most people want to be viewed in a positive light.  It is very easy to be viewed this way when you are twisting and morphing a Facebook profile.  Unlike real life, which is full of challenges and ordeals, one can paint their life in any color they choose while on the kingpin of (a)social networking.  While it may be very challenging to have a perfect marriage, one can create such a thing at the push of a button on Facebook.  No wonder many people would rather live their lives in front of a computer instead of in the big bad real world that exists just beyond the screen.

But living one's life on a computer comes at a cost.  First, it is incredibly addictive.  Second, when a person spends an inordinate time in the fantasy world of Facebook, real life issues invariably emerge.  It is not uncommon to see people gaining weight and encountering serious health problems because they neglect their bodies, instead opting for the computer.  While one posts about their double life they may find that they are instead ignoring their real life.  Many ignore their families, friends, skills, career aspirations, and dreams.  Sure, you can pretend to live your dreams on the internet, but it will never result in you actually achieving them. 

Unplugging yourself and staying off of Facebook is the hardest part.  Many people get to the point where they can deactivate the beast, but it's not coming back that most fail at.  Even I have battled the want to go back to the site that the world is obsessed with.  It is only through reminding myself of what my life was like when I was glued Facebook that makes me stay away.  We are told we are sinister or somehow unsavory for not being on Facebook.  Yet, that is not true.  Do you see the biggest creators and achievers in the world glued to Facebook?  Facebook is a pacifier for the masses, nothing more.  It is the biggest waste of time in the modern world (and, in the end, it is truly a waste).  When people can not go a series of minutes without checking the site, you know there is a problem. 

Don't get swept up living a double life on Facebook.  Instead, resist the temptation to spend your life on the site at all costs.  You are not a bad person if you don't use Facebook.  You are not somehow unsavory or socially devious just because you realize that there is a real world beyond the computer.  Don't give into the hype or peer pressure.  A life without Facebook is the optimal life.  Many of those who say otherwise have not lived a life free of Facebook in years. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

It's just too hard to leave Facebook...

In my last post, I asked the question, "does Facebook make people anti-social?"  Perhaps it does with some people.  I talked about a certain family member who was hurt by what her daughter said to her.  My wife told her that it may be best to take a break from Facebook for a while.  She kind of agreed and was considering leaving.  However, she did not.

Facebook's gravitational pull is too great for many.  A life without Facebook is terrifying to many in our modern world.  People are expected to either be on Facebook or be viewed as social pariahs.  Furthermore, there is often a backlash from family and friends who are on Facebook when one leaves.  "Why did you leave us?" they cry.  In fact, when a Facebook user goes to deactivate their profile, shown is a few friends with text saying that each one will miss you.

Instead of leaving Facebook, the individual has set herself up for more heartache.  Similar situations have erupted on Facebook over the course of the last few years.  Some people use Facebook as a medium to control others.  Others use Facebook as a medium to make others feel awful about the world and their lives.  For my sister-in-law, she uses Facebook as a way to tell her family (particularly her mother) how they raised her wrong all of her life and to brag about her adult life.  Happy mother's day.

My wife's mother has battled with the idea of leaving Facebook for a while now.  In fact, she once stated that she was not addicted to Facebook.  I think that most people are.  In fact, I believe if someone 'battles leaving Facebook but does not' then they are addicted.  There is no way around it.  To the addicted, contrary information, such as this website, is ignored.  Many addicts have no want to hear that they are addicted, nor do they want to change.  In fact, even with the heartache that Facebook causes these people, a fear of the world outside of Facebook makes them too afraid to leave.

My wife's father, however, did leave Facebook.  He realized that Facebook was not conductive to a real adult life in a real adult world.  In fact, he was sick of the behavior that many hardcore users exhibit on the site.  The strutting around like an internet rooster.  The behaving like a donkey in the barnyard.  The incredulous lack of judgement that many Facebook users show.  The internet brings out the worst in people.  From message boards to internet chat rooms, people can be downright vile on the internet.  Facebook makes it worse, because, many of these people are doing it to their families and best friends.  Those who society says we should love the most.

In the last few years, I have seen both my family and my wife's family fall apart.  From outright cheating on spouses to using Facebook as a medium for the disowning of siblings, Facebook has wreaked serious havoc.  Before leaving I constantly read horrible things being said about family members right on the site.  Family fights erupted for the world to see.  And yet people ask me why I am not on Facebook.  I believe that we become that which we behold.  I did not want to turn into such a person.  I did not want to be a part of the negativity.  I had found that Facebook was a very negative website across the board.  Sadly, many people do not see it.  Instead, they think Facebook is just a way to keep in touch.  Yet, there is an element that brings out the worst in humanity there.  Perhaps it's the war to get likes.  People will destroy each other for a few likes.  Facebook likes are like cocaine to some.

My wife's mother eventually sent an e-mail to my sister-in-law and within seconds replied and invited my wife's mother to yet another birthday party.  They went.  Perhaps out of fear of the backlash that would be caused on the site if they said no.  Perhaps they truly wanted to go, even though the daughter humiliated her and made her feel like a genuine buffoon and certified lummox.  Everything should be a-ok for the next few weeks.  Of course, the Facebook pawn will show herself again and rape and pillage for the world to see.  That's how it goes down in Facebook town.