It’s time for a rant. This is something I think everyone should strongly consider!!
I remember the day in 2005 when my small private art college was FINALLY accepted onto a new social website called Facebook. It was hard for my school to get on board with the site, because we were so small. All my friends at major universities were already on Facebook. I was jealous! At the time, you were required to have a college email address from an approved college in order to create an account. (It was initially intended to be an ‘online yearbook’ for students.) Then my nerd friend told me that sva.edu was finally an accepted school email address and I signed up right away!
Fast forward a year to when the iPhone was first released, and the era of the smartphone began. It took me a while to get a smartphone, but when I finally did I regarded my phone as a status symbol. I could now reach the internet regardless of my location! Of course, Facebook was one of the first apps I had on my smartphone.
It’s something about the NOTIFICATIONS. They draw you in. You feel compelled to check them, even when the content they are notifying you about is most likely the most unimportant thing you need to read. On Facebook notifications are literally a RED BOX begging for your attention in the corner. They show a number if you have multiple notifications – “Oh jeez why do I have 43 notifications??” You suddenly feel both popular and important, but also overwhelmed and anxious about having to review them all, and possibly follow up in some way. How did we suddenly feel the need to be this busy?
Our society has developed a form of self-imposed ADD. I noticed this around 1999. When I was in high school I was in a video program and we had some film history workshops. One of the directors I studied was Stanley Kubrick. If you’ve ever watched a Kubrick film, you might recall that the movies feel ‘slow’ by today’s standards. Kubrick’s movies were edited in a way that was not rushed… shots would linger on for many seconds before cutting to an actor saying a line… then another long pause… It was about soaking in the imagery as much as it was about telling the story.
But as the “MTV” style of editing began to gain traction, fast edits were everywhere. If a shot lasts more than 5 seconds on screen today (other than news), I am shocked. It’s constant, flashy cuts with moving transitions and letters flying across the screen… there is no stillness. There is no pause. There is no time to soak in anything. You must pay full attention or it’s likely that you will miss something. So what happened? Commercials got shorter. Today there are commercial spots as quick as :6 seconds long. And that’s just TV – there are flashier ads and content on the internet. You don’t even realize it when you’re watching, but this is so that companies can sell more ad space and shove more content down our throats!
I’ve decided I’ve had enough of this self-imposed ADD. I can’t do much about changing how advertisements are created and sold, but I can control what content I am looking at on my smartphone. I decided to delete the Facebook app from my phone. This doesn’t mean that I deleted or deactivated my account. (The Glux Blog Facebook Page is still there and I have no plans of taking it down!) Honestly, I use Facebook to log into other sites, that I just can’t be bothered with dealing with that headache if I were to delete my account. And I don’t want my friends to think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth, so I still repost my IG photos to my FB profile.
But, Facebook has actually been proven to be detrimental to the mental health of young people. I’m pretty sure it’s also not great for Facebook to be so ingrained in the lives of everyone else, regardless of age. There is a toxic mix of FOMO, Keeping Up with the Joneses, having to be perfect, politics pulling people apart, internet trolls, cyber bullying and mind-rotting memes on Facebook. I’ve had enough. I don’t need to argue with random people about sports and politics. I don’t need notifications distracting me during the work day. I just don’t need Facebook in my life.
Not to mention the recent scandal regarding the privacy concerns with Facebook!
So I deleted my app on Sunday. I still have Messenger to talk to my friends. I still have Instagram to share my photos bc that’s mostly what I enjoy doing on the internet these days (besides blogging of course!). I realize that these apps are both owned by Facebook and my little ‘protest’ isn’t exactly sticking it to Zuckerberg… but I am already seeing positive effects in my daily life. I am not wasting time looking at memes. I’m not getting anxiety because I can’t afford a lavish vacation, fancy car, new kitchen, huge game collection, or whatever else people like to show off on their newsfeeds. I can focus on my own happiness without comparing myself to others. I can focus on work without constant distraction. Not to mention… my phone battery lasts longer now!
This is my Facebook Detox. And I like it. 😎