I’m taking some time off from Facebook.
I’ve “detoxed” from websites in the past, most recently Reddit, after getting disgusted with its typical user behavior. (After I returned, I removed every default subreddit subscription I had, and the experience has been much improved.) However, my reason for my “trial separation” from Facebook is different.
The “Fear of Missing Out” (or FOMO) is a documented phenomenon that’s made worse by social media. I laughed off the linked article when I first saw it — I mean, how can a little success envy negate the increased connectedness that Facebook provides?
There’s a saying: “Don’t compare your B-roll to another person’s highlight reel.” Unfortunately, Facebook enables it to an extreme. Nor does it help that I have a lot of successful friends. A steady stream of wedding announcements, vacation photos, and awards can be discouraging, especially if people self-censor their less-than-wonderful moments. I occasionally see the friend having a bad day, or someone with a broken stove, or someone whose car broke down in the middle of a road trip, but the ratio is definitely skewed.
Lately it’s become a trigger for some mild self-destructive behavior. My apartment has recently been invaded by Little Debbie snacks and my fridge with soda. When you hear about the umpteenth publishing contract a friend was offered compared to your sad litter of form-rejected stories, it can suck the enthusiasm right out of you.
I want my friends to be successful, no doubts about that. But I need to be more removed from that if I’m going to find my own way.
I’ll be off for a couple weeks to start, possibly longer. I’ll still answer Facebook messages, but I won’t be posting links (other than this one), liking or sharing posts, or looking at my news feed. I’ll be on Twitter and posting here.