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 new layout sucks.

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. bobo says:

    this girl really has emotional problems! jajajaja remember everything in excess is bad.

  2. Robert says:

    I understand every single point you make and think it is 100% valid. Here's my perspective as an artist/photographer. Facebook has allowed me to welcome the world into my living/breathing/ongoing creative flowing studio. There are times when I feel a bit self-conscious that I am putting out too many images. I try to release, on average, two works of art a day.
    HERE"S the most important thing that has kept it clean for me: I do not look at the newsfeed, EVER.
    I have a few friends I check in on – they don't post nonsense. I follow paths of information, on occasion, through their pages. The newsfeed does not exist in my world and this is what has saved me. The challenge for me is to learn how to use it mindfully because it is a remarkable vehicle for putting poetry (that life is hungry for) into the world. But, there is also nothing wrong with eliminating it from your life completely.

  3. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks, Bobo, thanks. 🙂

  4. Very good read… You need to go to Giverny, France and view some Monet’s from his home town…

  5. Lucy says:

    Exactly! It all depend on ourselves!

  6. YogiChic says:

    Totally related to your story. I deleted my FB account, too, but realized there were sites (such as Elephant Journal) that I enjoyed reading. So I created another FB account using an alias, "liked" the organizations that I wanted to continue to connect to (if I didn't do that I would not have read your story!), and have only one friend…my son.

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks, Wilona! Wow, and yea, I do need to go to Giverny and have my mind blown. Great idea. 🙂

  8. Sunita Pillay says:

    That's funny. Glad you found a healthy way to make it work for you.

  9. anjali shinde says:

    i FOUND this off of Facebook….

  10. beastybat says:

    Actually, Facebook outrage helped push the Komen foundation to reinstate their funding to Planned Parenthood. So, no, individual political action won't make much of a difference, but opinions that go "viral" can orchestrate change and bring pressure. Just my two cents.

  11. Sunita Pillay says:

    True. And then there was the Egyptian revolution. Apparently FB was instrumental in organizing aspects of that. But for me, the cons of FB far outweigh the pros.

  12. LIZ says:

    I believe that with the invention of FB, real relationships and meaningful exchanges disapeared. Posts and posting to multiple listeners is an unfulfilling way to relate as a human being. I mostly use it as a phonebook and to keep track of people and read articles but to think that having "friends" on FB is real support is a mistake. When my dog died recently, only two people made comments and I began to delete people and came to the conclusion that FB has ruined friendships and relating in a human way forever. The only way to get it back would be for FB to disappear.

  13. swedishfish says:

    I love the Art Institute… I try to visit every time I'm in Chicago.

  14. Jenn Chic says:

    I loved your article – and I totally agree with you. It boggles my mind that more people don’t see Facebook this way. I lived in Japan for 2 years and craved long talks and connecting with people in a way that I was used to but was quite uncommon in the Japan that I experienced. There was that language barrier but it was more than that. When I returned home Facebook was just taking off and I couldn’t believe my friends down the street would FB me rather than calling or stopping by. Something was changing in how we communicate. I long for hand-written letters and phone calls from long lost friends. Sigh. I’m getting ready to cut the FB ties in order to connect deeply with those around me now and to practice presence. Thanks for the kick in the pants.

  15. Kelly says:

    I stopped using FB 18 months ago and it was the best thing I ever did.

  16. diane Hudock says:

    I so love this!! When did it become work to keep your ‘friend’s’?

    Maybe you’ll start a movement! 🙂

    Peace

  17. Sunita Pillay says:

    Smart lady! 🙂

  18. Sunita Pillay says:

    Wow, Kelly! Glad to hear that. -Sunita

  19. Sunita Pillay says:

    Seriously! If I do start a movement, it wouldn't have been intended. But wouldn't that be fun? 🙂 Thanks for reading! -Sunita

  20. Dr. O. P. Sudrania says:

    I agree with her. These are social open websites with a crowd more in indulgence than diligence. Hence a selective judicious use is the best option.

  21. Rick says:

    Excellent!

    I agree with your ideas completely!

    Facebook is a total brain drain. I did the same a couple months

    ago. Liberation!

    I never was much of a FB user but tried for the sake of my business. It did

    Nothing for that either. Because I was a popular high school teacher for 7 years ( i taught ceramics) I had all my former students as friends. Bad idea!

    I have essentially seen them all in college, at a party, drunk and usually in their underwear. Yuk!

    Political ranting and activism fell on hollow, self agrandizing ears as well.

    In the end it was my old buddy that made me sad and disgusted. He’s in his 50’s and posting 50 times a day about the minutiae of his obviously terribly

    Lonely Life.

    The constructed ego persona created by people using (anti-) social media is precisely the fundamental disconnect of mindfulness and from reality.

    Back to, as Suzuki roshi would say: ” things as it is”.

    Thanks for the voice of reality!

  22. guest says:

    Opted out of FB almost a year ago (for almost all of the same reasons) and haven't looked back… Great article. Thanks!

  23. Ruardt Prozesky says:

    Thanks for a great article!

    I also deleted my profile a few weeks ago and at that moment it felt like social suicide. To the contrary it was actually a very easy adjustment. I believe we are spreading ourselves too thin. We can’t possibly be in touch with that many people on anything other than a superficial level. Let’s rather focus on who and what we have with us now.

  24. Dee says:

    I liked this so much, I shared it on Facebook! 🙂

  25. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks, Rick. As a former "popular" h.s. English teacher, I can totally relate to the horror of having your students as friends, ugh. The story of your buddy is sad; I too had friends who posted too frequently instead of connecting with the real world. There is so much stuff to do before our time's up! Again, thanks for reading and giving your thoughtful feedback. Peace, Sunita

  26. Sunita Pillay says:

    Good for you! Thanks for reading! -Sunita

  27. Sunita Pillay says:

    Yes, it was easier than I thought it would be. I too wondered how it would be not to be "in touch" with all those people. Looking back, it's like this strange trip I took for a few years. And yes, the now is so important. It is always worth a reminder to come back to it because we are forever forgetting about it in our rush to do something in the future. But now is all there is! Thanks for reading, Ruardt! -Sunita

  28. Sunita Pillay says:

    Thanks, Dee! I love the irony of sharing this on FB. 🙂

  29. Hugo says:

    Thoughtful commentary. Makes me revise the way I am dealing with friends after FB. Not calling or visiting them anymore. Strange behavior to
    revisit. Thanx again.

  30. Slava says:

    Interesting – I like your perspective.

  31. lolyeah says:

    Is easy to delete FB when you are ugly

  32. […] This entry was posted on February 21, 2012. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a […]

  33. Marlana says:

    Best article on this I've ever read on facebook. Wonder how much money people could make just by not getting on fb.

  34. Marlana says:

    you don't look at newsfeed, ever? you should get self control of the year award. only times I've stayed off newsfeed is when I wasn't on facebook.

  35. jagme says:

    moot point

  36. Yvonne says:

    I appreciate this post. I am begining to embark on my own facebook deletion and am considering putting up a post like this of my own (somewhere, I’m not an avid blogger). I have come to share almost all of your feelings regarding facebook except for one. It seems to me that political change can and is brought about through facebook. This can be for good or ill, but either way I find it unsettling. Political images, statuses, video links, etc. can go viral on fb in a way that does affect group consciousness like newspaper editorials never could, but it seems to lend its way to mob mentalities and mass hysteria faster than anything ever has before. Even when I agree with a position being promoted through these methods I tend to question where I’m coming from with it. If I click like or repost am I helping promote something I believe in, or am I merely spreading a cheapened version of something I feel strongly about in a quippy ‘viral’ form? My uneasiness was heightened when I watched the nbc mini documentary ‘The Facebook Obsession’. In one brief segment, Mark Zuckerburg was shown with several prominent world leaders, all of whom were turning to him for advice. I don’t really understand how this is, but facebook just seems way to powerful to me now.

    All that aside, even if facebook is an innocent cyber-entity in every regard, it is still a heinous life-wasting time suck. I am gone.

  37. Psycheplay says:

    Sunita, you've written what I've been telling my friends why I deleted my facebook so well that I might just forward them this blog

  38. […] I permanently deleted my Facebook account several months ago. I’ve detailed some of my reasons here. […]

  39. Trollslayer says:

    'Is easy' to troll when you are unidentified…
    And, your aesthetic sensibility is horrible.
    Yutz.

  40. Agnes says:

    I did it tonite:-)

  41. […] I permanently deleted my Facebook account several months ago. I’ve detailed some of my reasons here. […]

  42. Less Is More says:

    I am right there with you. I enjoyed reading your story. I deleted my fb account 3 months ago and never looked back. I am so excited I did. I became addicted to it too and felt so narcissistic and that is not what or who I want to be. I enjoyed it for a while and then got sucked in and it was in so many thoughts of my day, that I knew i was an addict. Since I left I feel free. It started to feel totally unnatural to see what people from hs were doing on a daily basis. Anyhow I enjoyed reading your post! Thanks for sharing!

  43. @prassh says:

    I did the same about a year ago and feel great about it, though I hate explaining to people why I had to do it.

  44. Jenni says:

    #s 4, 6, and 8 summed it up nicely for me, but it's all true. Well, that, and some bugs in my account that I just didn't have the patience for trying to solve or contact technical support over pushed me over the edge into deleting altogether. Another thing that drove me nuts is that some people whom I think a lot of and spend a lot of time with think no experience counts unless everyone on Facebook knows about it. I mean, really, how enjoyable is it when one person at a lively dinner stops the spontaneous, rich experience of enjoying each others' company by saying "ooo, ooo, we need to take a picture and post it on Facebook." And then another one chimes in with, "ooo! Don't forget to tag us all!" Gah. And when they started doing the "check-in" thing, that's when I knew it was the beginning of the end for me. I disabled that feature so people couldn't check me in, because I thought it was embarrassing and that my FB "friends" would be sneering at the idea I would think any of them would give a rat's ass where I was … Boy, was I wrong, because they were all checking themselves in everywhere. Scary.

  45. nancey says:

    I am curious whether you actually deleted your FB account, or deactivated it? My understanding is it is impossible to delete the account. I ask because I went through this process a few years ago and deleting the account was not an option.

  46. @MenaYoga says:

    It's serendipitous that I come across this article tonight because I was mulling over the same points as above and thinking of deleting my Facebook profile. If not delete then at least limit my use of it and keep it a bare minimum. The point that stands out most from above is that there really is a "dearth of insightful interaction on Facebook". Kudos to you for treading out of the shallows and into the deep!

  47. T.S. says:

    #5 ''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.'' The Egyptian uprising started from a FB post .

  48. Sean Arington says:

    Announcing on FaceBook that you are quitting FaceBook is just another attempt to get attention via FaceBook. Look, if it is taking too much time, you don't have to delete your account. Just walk away. Let it rest for a week, or a month. Allow yourself a half hour a day, or a week. Whatever works for you. All things in moderation.

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