February 27, 2020•414 words
I quit Facebook (what I've called bookface for ages) at the end of 2018. I'd announced it to my contacts there about a month in advance, but apparently people either thought I was joking or didn't see the post thanks to bookface's feed algorithm. The experience itself has been quite interesting. I'd slowly weaned myself of checking in on the site over a month or so prior to deleting my account, so it wasn't like I was going cold turkey. The best part has been the way I've freed myself from a lot of potentially toxic interactions. Aggressively blocking and unfriending people helped to an extent with this issue, but didn't fix things like disappearing entirely. Social media's effect on mental health has been in the media quite a bit over the past few months, and I have to admit that mine improved since I quit. Maybe not for the expected reasons though - it wasn't the fear of missing out on everyone else's experiences that caused a problem, so much as the fear of bookface misusing my personal information, as it's had a habit of doing on a mass basis.
What's changed since then? I now have a much smaller social circle. A lot of people seem to have forgotten that I exist now that I'm no longer a click away on bookface, for better or worse. I'm still on Linkedin, email, and a wide range of chat apps, but I never realized exactly how much most people have built their communications around bookface's offerings. Probably because I never really bought into them myself. A smaller social circle isn't a bad thing. I haven't had much luck making meaningful friends on my own in the UK, and this prevents the awkward bookfaceconnectionwithsomeone with whom I no longer wish to interact. It also means that the relationships I maintain are more actively maintained: there's no more passive reliance on posts and likes, but actual interactions. This is something I longed for with bookface, and while I wish I could have these sorts of interactions and relationships with more people, particularly those who have played a meaningful role in my life in the past, having a few good friends keeps things from becoming overwhelming. I can't say I don't have regrets though - there are several people with whom I am no longer in touch, whose perspectives on life remain valuable to me, and I suspect will continue to do so far into the future.