10 Reasons Why I Deleted my Facebook Account.

Via S.V. Pillay
on Jan 31, 2012
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Today I permanently deleted my Facebook account.

I have enjoyed Facebook since 2008, and have been able to reconnect with a few good friends because of it. I once considered myself a fan.

It sounds silly, caring about a social network, someone’s company…but the fact is, it’s become a basic part of millions of lives, as basic as, say, cars and bikes…but I’m not a fan anymore. I have come to view Facebook as an insidious addition to my daily existence, one that has been sucking my lifeblood, drop by precious drop.

The following is a list of 10 reasons why I deleted my Facebook account:

#1 Facebook’s endless changes largely suck.

I’m glad it’s coming around, though, otherwise I might still be on Facebook. I find the timeline unnecessarily complicated; there is way too much going on at once. I prefer a simple interface. Perhaps, over time, my brain might get used to what I perceive now to be an intrusion, but I find the new layout so distastefully image-centered that I refuse to find out. It’s like watching a commercial of myself. In addition, the idea of delving into the past makes me uncomfortable. Let the past die, I say. There is simply no need to revisit things I said or did last year. Last year was not a good year. Likewise, I’m not interested in what my friends did or said in the past.  I’m interested in now.

#2 I don’t want to hear about someone’s illness or death via Facebook.

Jeez, I don’t want to find out via Facebook that one of my friends is seriously ill or has died.  And I sure as hell don’t want to read the condolences that people will inevitably write on his wall after the fact. I don’t mean to offend people who have done this, or who have taken comfort from doing this, but it’s not for me. I find the whole business bizarre and unsettling. If I died unexpectedly, I would find it ridiculous that people were writing on my Facebook wall. The whole Facebook and death thing is only going to get worse and weirder the more friends I amass.

#3 There is a dearth of insightful interaction on Facebook.

As a once avid Facebook user, I tried to foster meaningful discussions about political or interpersonal topics. These discussions were fun at times, like cocktail party chatter is fun, but they rarely gave me any insight into anything. I longed for these people to be in a room with me with hands waving and passions flaring where they could really let loose. But I kept imagining this nebulous periphery of casual aquaintances sitting in silent judgment of our musings and pontifications, and that freaked me out.

I was continually striving to make Facebook deeper than it was, and I think, fundamentally, that was the roadblock I couldn’t circumnavigate. Even though I delighted in crafting clever status updates and witty retorts, these were not deeply satisfying activities. I found myself craving more profound and actual interactions with my friends, ideas, art, and the like.

For example, I recently visited the Art Institute of Chicago, where I had an amazing time staring at its impressive Monet collection. The effort itself brought me a new kind of pleasure, a subtle and penetrating pleasure. I realized that to see the paintings truly, I had to look at them for a long time and from a distance. I stared at them for almost an hour, and in the process, they became alive and magical to me. There is so much to see within one single painting. And I have since realized that the pleasures that Facebook proffers pale in comparison…wait, what?! Facebook pales in comparison to Monet? I  know, it may seem like an obvious and trite observation, but it’s the simplest things that we tend to miss in our hurry to update our Facebook statuses. To me, this type of attentive interaction is the essence of yoga. Yoga is the ability to maintain an unbroken and profound union with life, with the universe, and with our deepest selves. Facebook can never give me the type of connection I long for with anyone or anything, let alone my deepest Self.

#4 I have ingested too many meaningless things on Facebook.

We are each responsible for what we let through our doors of perception. I no longer want to be careless about the things I allow past that threshold, and there is a glut of useless crap on Facebook. These stupid things get stuck in my brain all the time, and enough is enough. I don’t want to see your Crossfit motivational poster one more time or hear about your kid’s dumb social studies project or read about your crappy lunch. I simply don’t want to let everything in anymore. Even the good stuff on Facebook is not good enough. For instance, I have a friend who regularly posts about Rumi. It’s great. I’d much rather come across her posts than bad photos of someone’s Disney Land vacation or updates about dropped off kids. Nevertheless, even better than reading excerpts from Rumi, is taking my own book of Rumi poems off the shelf and reading one entire poem well. That is the deeper experience, and the one I would like to choose more consistently.

#5 Political action on Facebook is useless.

One of the reasons I enjoyed Facebook was the exchange of political articles and ideas. Initially—naively—I thought I could help affect political change via Facebook, but simply clicking and typing is a waste of time unless there is concrete human action behind it such as a phone call, a letter, or a protest attendance. Furthermore, political passions get watered down on Facebook by snarky, cutesy posts. These posts are cute and often funny, but they don’t do anything to foster actual change. There is no shortcut to live political action. None of my posts or well-intentioned political discourse achieved anything significant.

#6 Facebook offers even more distraction for my distraction-prone mind.

In this age of distractions, I scarcely need another one. Facebook consistently broke my concentration, and I began to resent it. I realized when it was happening, but I simply did not have the discipline to keep myself off it until my work was done. I found myself unconsciously logging on to Facebook throughout the day. That’s how addiction operates. Somehow you end up with that drink in your hand or the pipe in your mouth.

#7 With Facebook, there is less time to manifest my heart’s sincere desires.

There are many things I want to accomplish before I die; some of these I haven’t even discovered yet. And the more time I spend on Facebook, the less time I have to do them. That is a very simple fact. It’s not like these things have to be monumental accomplishments. They could be as simple as writing an essay, taking a class, reading a book, or cooking a dish I’ve always wanted to try. Nothing I do on Facebook could ever be as fulfilling as what I can do in real life.

#8 I don’t need to keep in touch with every person I know via Facebook.

If I see someone’s photos or status updates, it makes me think I know what’s going on with that person, and it quells my desire for deeper communication. However, if I have not heard anything from someone I care about in a long time, I might be more prone to write her an email or perhaps even a handwritten letter. Keeping in touch with people should be an organic process and not like amassing matchbooks from restaurants. Some people are meant to be in our lives only for a short time, while others stick around longer. Either way, we’re all going to kick the bucket and lose touch eventually.

#9 Facebook was making my ego bigger.

I am not an ego-vilifier. I believe the ego has a value, to a certain degree. It’s an excellent and necessary tool. Nevertheless, I’m striving to see myself as more than my body and my “likes.” The more I stay on Facebook, the more I see myself as only “Sunita Pillay.” I have gotten disturbingly attached to my opinions and photos of myself, but this preoccupation with image is bullshit. I want to work on expanding the radius of my Self—capital ‘S’ intended—beyond my ego.

#10 Mystery is a beautiful thing.

Once upon a time I liked to imagine what the people I used to know were currently doing, but Facebook has revealed that mystery to me, and I have to say, my imaginings were in many ways more entertaining. Likewise, I don’t want my life and musings to be a click away anymore. I’d much rather be a wonder away. As in, “I wonder what ever happened to Sunita…”

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About S.V. Pillay

S.V. Pillay is a former high school English teacher and current freelance writer in the great city of Chicago. She enjoys writing about religion, spirituality, art, endangered species, the environment, and social justice. She is American by birth (want to see her birth certificate?), South Indian by DNA, a student of yoga, and a proud Generation X’er. She prefers interactions with real human beings as opposed to social networking. And although she owns her share of MP3s, she still listens to records, tapes, and Cds. S.V. Pillay is currently working on her debut novel, a book of poetry, and a bunch of short stories. Click here to follow her on Twitter. Click here to read more stuff.

Comments

108 Responses to “10 Reasons Why I Deleted my Facebook Account.”

  1. Donovan Moore says:

    Very good observations. Perhaps I may do the same. But what about my 1061 friends. Won't they miss me 🙂

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Thanks for sharing, Sunita, but I will miss you there!

  3. Vision_Quest2 says:

    For someone who learned SO MUCH by reading Facebook feeds, I am now one of the most disappointed with Facebook. Sometimes, you could be defriended on a whim if other FB members are dogmatic and disagree with you …

    I do want a place where there is interaction, since my life is fast and isolating. There are SO many social networks to choose from … I will just stay off of Facebook … I was invited to join Diaspora* …

  4. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks for reading, Donovan. And yes, they'll miss you, but they'll get over it after a few clicks. 🙂 You can get the email addresses of people you really want to keep in touch with..?

  5. Sunita Pillay says:

    Yes, it took me a long while to figure that out, Lisa!

  6. Sunita Pillay says:

    You would, Mark. Thanks!

  7. Sunita Pillay says:

    We'll just have to keep in touch via email, Tanya! 🙂

  8. Sunita Pillay says:

    I'm not suggesting everyone has to leave Facebook, but it was the right choice for me. Maybe there is a way for you to do more social activities, instead of virtual ones? Just a thought. Thanks for reading!

  9. Well done, Sunita! Every day I tell myself I will limit my time on social media but … ugh! I, too, have so many things I dream of becoming and accomplishing. I do find Facebook is a great way to share my writing. However, I wonder: Are people clicking like as a way to just say hi I was here or hope that I click like on something they posted? Or is it because they thought it looked interesting because of the headline and/or picture? Or… did they sit there for 3-5 minutes actually reading what I wrote? A quandry!!! I admit I have a problem and, reading your post, helped me get back in touch with that. LOL. Yet, not really so funny.

  10. Chandrika Farrell says:

    Well said my friend, I like #6(can totally relate). Will miss ya on fb. but look forward to meeting up with you sometime in person!

  11. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks, Lynn! I know all too well how you feel. My goal was simply to offer food for thought. That said, let's grab brunch one of these days. It would be fun to reconnect with you in person. 🙂

  12. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks for reading, Chan! Yup, number 6 is a killer, huh? We shall mos def meet in person…soon!

  13. ValCarruthers says:

    Agree with you about Timeline, Sunita. Being confronted by those ginormous banner images pixelating into focus on my laptop makes my head want to explode.

    May your departure from FB better enable the pursuits you have yet to envision.

  14. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks, Val! I already feel a weight lifting from my shoulders. And thank you for reading. 🙂 -Sunita

  15. Suri says:

    Couldnt agree more i deleted mine a couple of months ago ….i was so tired of all the nonsense and irrelevant BS people post …and like you said Revisiting the past is creepy .

  16. Hector says:

    "9) Facebook was making my ego bigger.

    I am not an ego-vilifier. I believe the ego has a value, to a certain degree. It’s an excellent and necessary tool. Nevertheless, I’m striving to see myself as more than my body and my “likes.” The more I stay on Facebook, the more I see myself as only “Sunita Pillay.” I have gotten disturbingly attached to my opinions and photos of myself, but this preoccupation with image is bullshit. I want to work on expanding the radius of my Self—capital ‘S’ intended—beyond my ego."

    This happened to my wife.
    I kept pushing her to get on Facebook and it was the biggest mistake I ever made.

    She STILL uses it to make her ego bigger while she is pretending to be spiritual (while I actually attempt to teach people how NOT to do this with mine.)

    For proof, just look here: http://tinyurl.com/shewhoshallnotbenamed

    I will admit I will always regret this mistake, after being able to read the journals left behind by her and learn she is a narcissist.

    I see more and more yoga fanatics on Facebook whom have lost the way and do not understand the first thing that is the common sense that is the 8 limbs of yoga.

    Due to her, I made it my mission to take my 20 years of life in buddhism and attempt to have others understand they are not on the path, yet they can be, if they were honest with themselves…..

  17. Jeanette Dunphy says:

    Good on you for moving beyond FB. For me though, it's been a boon. I use FB to network with other Astronomers around the globe. It's given me opportunities I never would have had opened to me otherwise. I relish getting my science as it happens, from the source, before the media stir in their sensationalist garbage.

  18. Hector says:

    That having been said, also, due to her, and her stealing every penny we had from me while also ensuring I would be unemployed from my secure and well paying position due to her actions, Facebook is my only interaction to the world until I can actually afford to use my passport to travel again.

    Not everyone has the luxury (or funds) to just pick up and go at a moment's notice (something also seeming o have been forgotten by the current "trust fund spiritualists") and, let's face it, Facebook is all we got.

  19. Thank you for the article, I have been considering doing the same thing for some time now.

  20. elephantjournal says:

    As Facebook values itself at 100 million [correction: 100, er, billion!] (what, 8 times what Apple is worth—Apple makes muuuch more money), some spiritual types opt out. I read the reasons, can't say I'm convinced. Meditation and the spiritual path isn't about navel gazing or avoiding distraction, it's about using the phenomenal world to wake up so we can better be of benefit. Still, a timely post, whatever our view.

    #
    Philippine Yogi i thought it was 100 Billion? elephantjournal.com

    #
    Tina Neidig totally agree "it's about using the phenomenal world to wake up so we can better be of benefit."

    #
    Hippie Cupps I am not convinced either, facebook is what you make of it, and if you don't like what someone has posted or something you are reading then either don't read it or delete it. i have gained alot of insight on here and met alot of great people , and found alot of places to go, places to support, found where the best local foods are etc. so to me it has been a good thing, its all how you percieve things and how you decide to have your page. Just one user's opinion!

    #
    Harleigh Quinn ‎"9) Facebook was making my ego bigger.

    I am not an ego-vilifier. I believe the ego has a value, to a certain degree. It’s an excellent and necessary tool. Nevertheless, I’m striving to see myself as more than my body and my “likes.” The more I stay on Facebook, the more I see myself as only “Sunita Pillay.” I have gotten disturbingly attached to my opinions and photos of myself, but this preoccupation with image is bullshit. I want to work on expanding the radius of my Self—capital ‘S’ intended—beyond my ego."

    This happened to my wife.
    I kept pushing her to get on Facebook and it was the biggest mistake I ever made.

    She STILL uses it to make her ego bigger while she is pretending to be spiritual (while I actually attempt to teach people how NOT to do this with mine.)

    For proof, just look here: http://tinyurl.com/shewhoshallnotbenamed

    I will admit I will always regret this mistake, after being able to read the journals left behind by her and learn she is a narcissist.

    I see more and more yoga fanatics on Facebook whom have lost the way and do not understand the first thing that is the common sense that is the 8 limbs of yoga.

    Due to her, I made it my mission to take my 20 years of life in buddhism and attempt to have others understand they are not on the path, yet they can be, if they were honest with themselves…..

    #
    elephantjournal.com Award for record-long comment HC! I'll move to the blog.

    Phillipine, good call, huge typo, my bad! ~ Waylon.

  21. Nick says:

    Oh yes, I'm sure your 1061 "friends" will really miss you…. if they ever even notice you're gone.

  22. bob john says:

    I'll never be a Facebook member. I detest it's supposed founder.

  23. Ross says:

    Brilliant article, some great observations which I share. I have 120ish friends (once 600+, many of whom I’d never met!) and I think they should all read this.

  24. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Agreed! I am isolated because of my lengthy commute, lack of bankers' hours and support of inveterate traveler boss who could be a contender for the most-traveled CEO (the Guinness holder actually is from Silicon Valley, and not MY boss but you get my drift) – thus obviating my ability to take time off. I have to keep Facebook account because immediate family is on it.

    But Timeline turns my stomach, and I will be on some other social network including Diaspora and SparkPeople (even if I succeed in losing my regained weight), checking in from time to time to see how FB f*ks my profile up …

    Not what was imagined by the planners, huh?

  25. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Incidentally, there are alternatives to social networking that, essentially, serve the same purposes … such as OnSugar network and any blog with a large, large following …

  26. Lucy says:

    I agree with some of the things she said and I respect her decision. However, in my opinion, the most important thing is that we are AWARE of some of the negative things that facebook have. If we are aware that facebook is making our ego bigger and wasting our time instead of doing something that is more useful, then using that awareness we can learn how to gain control of ourselves. Some of the things in life we can't just delete or avoid, if deleting and avoiding become your pattern in life then you are not living.

  27. Vision_Quest2 says:

    All those yoga asana poseurs and braggarts are on my current blogsite, too, Facebook already being old hat–they put their entire practices and "instruction" prescriptions I disagree with … Sometimes you can't do too much about all that, but ignore them. The worst that could happen is they defriend you. If I'm long gone from Facebook, would I care? [I currently post v-logs of myself to my blogsite, but all I do is talk about nutrition.]

  28. I respect your decision Sunita, however it is nothing wrong with facebook.
    Manage your time and select the info/activities that you want to share. Make it simple

  29. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Not 100% true. Depends on what you need and where your incentives lie. For instance, I certainly have much more incentive to avoid Facebook than someone who telecommutes, has a cottage profession or does not report to any job at all …

    Avoiding Facebook helps me keep my job, in a better way …

  30. Sunita Pillay says:

    Yeah, the new layout is such a bad idea. I don't understand the logic behind making something more complex. Thanks for reading, Suri! -Sunita

  31. Sunita Pillay says:

    Hi Hector, that's too bad about you and your wife. (Ironically your link takes me to Facebook : ) Personally, it is not my mission to make others do anything or change anything about themselves. I believe that's a losing game, brother. They are who they are. The only person I can change is me, ultimately. If others come along for the ride, cool, but that was not my intention in writing this piece. Anyway, thanks so much for reading the piece and sharing your heart. Peace to you, Sunita

  32. Sunita Pillay says:

    Now that's a cool reason to be on Facebook, Jeanette! Alas, I had no such cool reasons. 🙂 Thanks for reading the piece and sharing your thoughts. -Sunita

  33. Sunita Pillay says:

    I understand your need for connection after everything you've gone through. Circumstances will change; life will get better. It's the nature of things. Keep your chin up.

  34. Sunita Pillay says:

    Hi, thanks for reading. 🙂 I too believe in baby steps changing the world! Perhaps not via FB, though. You seem to keep FB within healthy boundaries, but I couldn't do that. FB and I had an addictive and toxic relationship. It seems you have it under control and not vice versa. -Sunita

  35. Sunita Pillay says:

    You can do it! 🙂

  36. so I'm not really "trying" to snarky — but the thought I had was this…so am I expected to share this on facebook? and does reaching people with this via facebook make this a mute point?

    I respect your decision to leave and even understand why you did to a point but i'm always a bit fascinated by people denouncing the very thing that is promoting them? Like a tv show talking about the evils of tv…it seems a bit odd is all.

    PS I love time line — I love seeing my friends pictures I love knowing what their life has been as well as what it is…ignoring the past doesn't mean you are living more in the now necessarily — the past did happen and we can learn from it and grow.

  37. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks for reading, Ross!

  38. Sunita Pillay says:

    Hi Lucy, for me FB became addictive and toxic, and when you have an addiction you have to cut it off at the roots. In this case, there was no way to live with moderation. But in general, I appreciate your viewpoint. Thanks for reading! -Sunita

  39. Vision_Quest2 says:

    And, assuming one is relatively young, possibly college-educated and/or a reformed debauched partier, etc. but involved in the competitive straight-job marketplace, Timeline will be sure to enrich reputation management specialists' coffers …

  40. Sunita Pillay says:

    Easier said than done, Falatehan. For me, there was plenty wrong with Facebook, thus the article. Moderation works for some people regarding FB, but not for me. Thanks for reading! -Sunita

  41. Yogi says:

    I respect your decision as well. But as a freelance writer, I'd imagine FB is a conduit to disseminate your information. I will not be sharing this to my couple thousand friends of FB because the irony would be too great. I think the timeline is wonderful and I choose very consciously to stay connected on FB to the many people whom mean a great deal to me but I know would rarely be able to connect at this point in our lives in any other way.

  42. Sunita Pillay says:

    Hi Yogi, yes, I did agonize over the promoting of my writing aspect of all of this, but I realized my mental health was more important. And I believe my readers will manifest through ways other than me being on FB. This article is a case in point, I suppose. The irony, to me, is fun. I'm a fan of irony. Thanks for reading the piece and sharing your thoughts! Peace, Sunita

  43. Lifeissweet says:

    Do not ding me for the typos, ha, I recognize there is no such thing as a negative compliment. Or maybe there is if you have a sense of humor. My intention above is to share my growth and to note I agree with the author's observations. My intention is not to say this is the only way or to expect millions of people will withdraw their membership. That really is none of my business.

  44. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks for your comment, Lifeissweet. Life sure is sweeter without Facebook, hehe. I figure the non-FB POV is not often voiced and deserves to be heard more often, you know, just to equalize the playing field a bit. No judgment here. Hey, I've still got my good buddies and beloved family members on FB. Thank you for reading! -Sunita

  45. Sunita Pillay says:

    Haha, point taken. We are NOT trying to get people to leave Facebook. I repeat: we are NOT trying to get people to leave Facebook. LOL

  46. Vision_Quest2 says:

    And, you know,IPO timing, and controversy ….
    http://www.sodahead.com/united-states/public-opin

  47. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Technically, that forum is considered a "social networking" site … forewarned is forearmed!

  48. Don says:

    Facebook is a tool which can be used for good or bad.

  49. dan says:

    The most worrying scenario MacKinnon conjures is not an Orwellian world of Big Brother censorship, but one more along the lines of that envisioned by Aldous Huxley, in which "our desire for security, entertainment, and material comfort is manipulated to the point where we all voluntarily and eagerly submit to subjugation." ~http://motherjones.com/media/2012/02/review-consent-networked-internet-freedom