I Quit Facebook And I Don’t Regret It

This is a follow-up from my distress call of a post from when I quit Facebook cold turkey.  I am now fine with the whole business and not so jittery any more.  I have never smoked, but I believe that quitting Facebook is akin to quitting smoking.  I was truly addicted to it.

By the time I decided to quit Facebook, I had already shaken my addiction to the social gaming on Facebook and that was a steep hill to climb. Zygna the makers behind, Farmville really know how to hook you, under the guise of ‘helping’ your friends.  Leaving these games will leave your friends stranded as they drop in the game rankings with one less friend.  The games are designed such that more friends lead to a better gaming experience. I know of people on Facebook who added perfect strangers so that they could have a huger more powerful ‘mafia’ on Mafia Wars (another game by Zygna).  I wonder how much Zygna is making from all this? Social games like Farmville appealed to my OCD tendencies to design, neaten and beautify my plot of land and that took loads of time.  I was proud of how pretty my farm looked.  It appealed to the mathematical side of my cousin who calculated the best crops she could buy which would yield the most profit.  I have to hand it to the game makers – they are darn clever.  There must be psychologists on the team.  There is also the joy of retail therapy that comes from virtual shopping.  And most of all after all the time and effort you put into your farm, with just one day off you could fall behind in the rankings and that appeals to the competitive side, even in the least competitive person.

Even after quitting all the games (can’t wait for the day my family quits Bejeweled, a game with highly annoying glass shattering sounds), Facebook continued to be a time waster.  I confess that I was addicted to viewing the status updates of my Facebook friends, as it made me feel like part of their lives.  I was checking in too many times a day and it made me fed up with myself.  I also plead guilty to being a Facebook stalker and spying on my cousin’s boyfriend – the one her parents don’t approve of. That was so terrible, but since I joked with my cousin that I was stalking her, I guess it’s ok?  Facebook was making me such a voyeur and making it so easy too.

Also we falsely feel that we are involved in the lives of our friends and family, but it’s not a substitute for a real connection, that comes with face to face interactions over a meal.  Think virtual hug versus real hug.

I feel a huge shackle off me, now that I don’t have to worry about my privacy being violated.  I was very irritated that you would appear on the pages of  friends of friends.  They were then asked to add you which would lead to friend requests and I don’t like ignoring or rejecting people.  It was worse when that included some of whom you don’t particularly like.  The face of someone who was a horrible mean girl, appearing on my page was probably the last straw.  I just didn’t want to be reminded of her. It brought back a lot of negativity which I don’t need right now, or ever.  To some extent I also felt stalked.  It was too easy to get hold of me and the email function on Facebook was starting to feel like texting on a handphone.  There was pressure to reply within the day. It was adding to my feelings of social anxiety and distress.

Quitting Facebook made me realize who my real friends are and they are the ones who continue to contact me through email.  These days I spend a lot more time on my blog with my fellow bloggers and even though I am anonymous, I find these interactions real and rewarding.  I guess like minded people discover each other through blogs and that’s a great thing.  Just so you know, I’m not a total tech phobe. Unless Facebook, blogging feels therapeutic and liberating.

Recently one of my cousins asked me how to quit Facebook and I wanted to do a dance of joy. I feel excited to be a trailblazer.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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29 Responses to I Quit Facebook And I Don’t Regret It

  1. miss ene says:

    Bravo! I really do applaud your bravery. I tell myself that I’m on Facebook partly because of work but at the same time, I also do realise that actually, that’s not entirely true. I’m just too chicken to go cold-turkey. Wey hey, 2 mention of poultry in one sentence. Heh.

    For me, I really should throw away my iphone and delete all the pointless games I have on it. And yes, I was a Farmville addict too until one day, I woke up thinking: Who gives a s*** whether or not my plants wither and die?!

    I hit the ‘delete’ button immediately. But now, I end up cooking random meals and making all sorts of pastries. Then get a tad worried when my real life schedule can’t make time to ensure that these ‘food’ and ‘pastries’ get served on time so that they don’t go bad.

    Ok, seeing that in text makes me sound like a psycho. Yikes.

    • bookjunkie says:

      No worries..I was a total psycho farmer too 😉 Before that it was Pet Society, and I totally loved and identified with my pet. I thought my pet was the coolest girl in town with the coolest prettiest pad. I tried to get all the pink stuff.

      Love the double poultry reference by the way 😉

      • miss ene says:

        I just wanna add on that I recently became addicted to Fruit Ninja. Not on Facebook but on the iPhone. I personally hate (real) fruits so playing the game lets me slice them all apart without any real cost (except for time and the 99 cents I paid for it).

        And yes, I had a pet on Pet Society too and would faithfully scrub, shower, play with it. The hubs would kinda laugh at me in an endearing manner whenever I complained aloud that “my pet is so dirty/hungry/lonely!!” but I think he secretly thinks that I need help.

        • bookjunkie says:

          my partner had a pet too and that’s what made it so fun! I think that’s why social games really hook you.

          yeah I wasted so much time scrubbing, bathing, feeding, visiting just to see those gold coins fall 🙂

  2. notabilia says:

    Good for you! I am a big fan of FB and I use it, as I do with all technologies, in the ways I want. I am a big proponent of not letting technology consume you, get the most of you. I have lots o’ privacy settings – most people *I know* can’t find me – and I only interact on it in the ways that make the most sense for me and my limitations. (I don’t play any FB games, so I don’t know what all this Farmville Mafia stuff is about ;).)

    • bookjunkie says:

      Wow I admire your self restraint when it comes to the Facebook games….they are really visually appealing and quite addictive once you start. It all begins with a request from a friend to join.

  3. Crystal says:

    I have a bit of a facebook addiction.

    My games of choice are bejeweled (sorry) and sorority life…both of which are stupid. I know this. But I keep playing them.

    I try to make smart choices with facebook. Generally, I’m only friends with people I know in real life (although that does include some bloggers I’ve never met, but whom I feel a connection and kinship with). I do keep my posts and most of my photos friends only or friends of friends.

    But that false feeling like I’m part of people’s everyday lives? I NEED it. Living 10,000 miles away from friends and family whom I can’t just hug over the dinner table…I need those stupid updates. I like hearing that a friend hated the service at a restaurant or scored a great deal at Target. It makes me feel less removed from them. Sure, to some extent it’s false intimacy…but I’ll take what I can get.

    Although, to be fair, I was just as much an addict when I lived in the US, so while it’s a good excuse as an expat, I don’t know what my justification would be in the US. Other than knowing that I’d find one.

    I think it’s much more of a challenge to do what you’re doing instead of giving in. But it’s a challenge I’m not sure I want to take up.

    • bookjunkie says:

      hahaha, my mum, my sis, my aunts and cousins….all play Bejeweled…if I started I will be hooked too (love tetris/bubble bursting type games)…it’s that enticing… I can tell. I believe 40% of gamers play this so the San Francisco company behind it must be making loads.

      I guess the person I missed the most on FB was my cousin who is miles away and I think for you being away from home would be worse. My cousin is annoyed by Facebook but like you it makes her feel less homesick and more connected. Her account was recently hacked into so she too is getting wary and tightening all her privacy settings.

      I think watching the movie The Social Network was another catalyst that lead to my quitting.

  4. Kirsten says:

    I really need to get away from Facebook, but I can’t! It’s ridiculous how much time I spend hooked onto it doing nothing. But I can’t completely go cold turkey because I also occasionally help moderate/post on the Facebook account of TheOnlineCitizen, and I run quite a bit of my campaigns on it.

    So far I have managed to cut out most of the games (except the occasional Bejeweled Blitz and – gulp –Restaurant City) but I still need to spend more time off it. If only it weren’t one of the main ways I keep in touch with my boyfriend!

    Then again he said he should use Facebook less too, so maybe it’s time for us to find alternatives.

    • bookjunkie says:

      It’s hard at first but soon you’ll discover the joys of simple email again 🙂 Somehow email messages are longer and more personal cos they are one to one. Facebook status updates just feel so public and impersonal. It’s akin to going to a dinner with a group vs dinner with just a close friend where you can really converse.

      • Kirsten says:

        I kind of like the public status updates though because once in awhile someone you haven’t spoken to just comments on it and you end up reconnecting (of course they might just as easily go away again, but for that moment it’s fun). And of course I’m a busybody who likes to know what’s going on with people – sometimes I get ideas for stories or blog entries from them!

        Also a lot of the issues that I end up blogging about I first come across on Facebook…

        • bookjunkie says:

          There are cool things like that – so it’s hard to quit. It’s useful for spreading the word on social issues and for businesses.

          Unfortunately I have a hard time controlling addictions – it’s an all or nothing thing for me.

  5. I wish I could quit FB too! Social networking does come with perils for me…When I was single, I saw all the wedding pictures of friends, and I wanted to get married. When I am married, I see all the pictures of friends’ babies, and I feel that I should have babies. Then there are people whom we add because we don’t want to reject them, and some of these are people who were mean to us in school or who clearly didn’t want a friendship with us (judging from history..) but add you anyway because social networking is impersonal. And then we assume that we are keeping in touch with friends just by looking at their updates (with zero interaction). It’s a little scary. But I am too weak to quit, because I use it as a way to keep in touch with all at home. Now that communication has gotten very lazy, the only way to get involved and not to be forgotten seems to be through FB or my blog for instance.. SIGH. Can’t win! I applaud you for your decision to quit.

    • bookjunkie says:

      yes the main part of my withdrawal came from suddenly feeling totally out of the loop and lonely. But it soon passes and is replaced by the people you really want to keep in touch with. Just had a wonderful phone conversation with my friend E, and now I am just happy 🙂

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  7. mrslimvoyage says:

    As an member of facebook anonymous, I applaud and admire you for your move to quit it. I am weaning off facebook but find myself sneaking a peek every now and then. I blame the iphone too. Evil Steve has made it so convenient for me to get my doses. Together with Evil Mark, their inventions control my life now. Boo…
    I nearly delete my account once. But the thought of never able to read about new mums generously sharing their breast feeding experiences, admire pictures of acquaintances’ daily breakfasts , learn their precious opinions about our weather (“today very hot!” or “wah orchard flood again”) , how they have just missed the bus, etc.. again horrified me.
    Till the day i am brave enough to follow your steps, i shall continue to sneak peaks during my toilet breaks to spy on others. T_T

  8. Queen B says:

    You’re brave! I don’t think I could ever quit Facebook.

  9. lampoondish says:

    Agree- as useful as fb can be, it’s most times too much of a tiresome, distracting, slippery slope. The anonymous exchanges of longnote on blogs away from the social arena of other people’s eyes are usually far more rewarding. Good luck, and hope you’ll have a great year ahead with very much less of facebookness : )

    • bookjunkie says:

      I am already enjoying the time I got back. I used to obsessively check facebook statuses and it made me feel so lonely and the interactions were distant. I much prefer the discourse on blogs. Thanks so much for dropping by lampoondish!

  10. Ah-bin says:

    I left it five days ago! Only nine more days of not logging in before it is gone for good! Perhaps they will keep some things of mine though, who knows? I can’t say I miss it. I suddenly remembered that most of the friends I keep in touch with didn’t even have it yet, and I was getting annoyed with some other people constantly posting rubbish on it. I wonder if the world has reached Facebook peak yet? It won’t last for ever, nothing does. Look at Altavista (actually I just went to look for it and found it still exists…but not for much longer, it seems!)!

    • bookjunkie says:

      That’s great….good luck. The withdrawal symptoms were hard at first but I was glad to get my life back. It’s a great marketing tool, but not for personal use.

  11. BEVERLY says:

    I just deactivated my facebook account. All those wasted hours are gone forever, and I do think they have hidden messages that entice you to PLAY those games! I had become an addict. I just want my life back and don’t carehow many visitors come to my farmville home.

  12. mimi says:

    I deleted my account two weeks ago because I moved to a new house and didn’t have the internet on at home which meant I’d have to go to the local library or internet cafe…I just couldn’t deal with the curiousity and the intense need to have to check facebook (as I dont have it on my phone)…of course when I did it was boring, the same old people writing statuses or posting constant pics of themselves . I then decided to delete it. I now have the internet back on at home but haven’t bothered to reactivate my account and I guess that’s because I feel like having a new start. I dated some guy and since deleting my account, he has shown his jealousy/insecurity even more because he assumed I had blocked him…so he turned nasty and abusive (obviously he was like that anyway)..so it seems the whole experience has taught me a few lessons and it was very much a case of ‘sorting the wheat from the chaff’. The only plus side of FB is that I can keep in touch regularly with my family abroad and that is the only reason why I might reactivate it at some stage..but at the moment Im just the enjoying the break Im having from it. I really think some people use FB to get to other people all the time…I also feel that it’s like it takes away any kind of mystery and leaves you feeling exposed, like people know all your business, have an idea of whether you know lots of people or not etc. and so abusive types may feel they are free to treat you how they like. I agree about having a nasty reminder from the past too when you see friends of friends…all in all for me FB is just a headache. Well done to you…how long has it been since you deleted it? How are you feeling about it now?

    • bookjunkie says:

      I realise that things like Facebook are an addiction. And it was an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ situation and all good. Initially you miss it a lot….just like any addiction I guess. Thanks for sharing your experience Mimi 🙂

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