I stopped using Facebook the day after the U.S. presidential election in early November. I just couldn’t stand to read anyone’s comments. (This while I obsessively read traditional news and analysis.)
Later, a friend told me how to deactivate my Facebook status, which effectively made me disappear from view while leaving open the possibility for me to return at any time. That same friend suggested I offer the nicely activist “fake news” as my reason for deactivating.
The more distance I have from social media, the more queasy I feel about it. There’s the conduit social media provides for the spread of fake news. The ease with which we further streamline our information sources to reinforce our existing beliefs (because of who we friend and follow, cookies and algorithms). The fact that we grant Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram royalty-free, worldwide license to content we post unless it is already protected under intellectual property laws. Selfies. Cyberbullying. FOMO and other kinds of anxiety. Distraction from real life. Clutter.
If you are simplifying in order to live in closer alignment with your values, it’s good practice to look at your social media use the way you would closets full of stuff. Ask yourself: Am I using social media intentionally or out of habit? What benefits does it bring me, what are the trade-offs, and do I need to change anything? If I cut back on social media, how else do I want to use that time?
I’ve tagged this post “Five-minute simplifying” because disconnecting is that easy. For instructions on deactivating or temporarily disabling your accounts, just Google the service name and “deactivate.” Don’t forget to remove apps from your phone and bookmarks from your web browser.