Recently over winter break, I deleted my Facebook account. Also, I’m not really sure why I did, it was an impulse decision that I didn’t really give a lot of thought to. I was in San Diego when I checked my phone and saw someone’s ridiculous status when I decided right then and there that it was time to stop giving importance to people on Facebook and start giving myself some importance. Two hours later, I deactivated it and haven’t returned since. The interesting part of this story is not why I deleted it. Most people know why I deleted it because most people think about deleting their Facebook accounts quite often. For instance, a lot of people are tired of constantly being bombarded with nonsensical statuses and pictures that force you to ‘like’ it. People are becoming restless reading updates of acquaintance’s lives, opinions that aren’t backed up, and pictures that we don’t really want to see. These things always manage to just pop up on our news feeds though. And somehow, some way, we always refresh the page to see more.
I did not delete my account with any intention of what my future would be like without Facebook. But the more I go on not checking updates on Facebook, the more interesting the story gets on what happens after I deleted it. The first thing I got was questions. A lot of questions like, “did you delete me?” from friends and family as if I deleted them from life. People took it really personally and figured that I did not value our relationship anymore. Others didn’t understand why I did it. And a few don’t think I exist anymore. After all, I stopped posting pictures and other tidbits of my everyday activities for them to see. All of this really helped me to understand a true bond in a relationship. Now I just communicate with friends and family the old fashion way, by texting.
After reading Attention versus Distraction?, Vishal is better equipped with doing work digitally because he has a passion for it and was brought up in the digital world. However, he and his peers get distracted by all the digital media just like most students do. After deleting my account, I realized how much of a distraction Facebook was for me on a whole different level. When classes started, I was bombarded with readings to read so quickly. Without Facebook, I noticed that I could read articles, essays, and even books for fun in peace. No distractions. When I don’t know a definition word, I open up the Internet page, look up the word, and go back to reading. While having a Facebook account, this would never happen for me. I would open up the Internet, subconsciously go on Facebook, scroll through the news feed, see repetitive posts, and then go back to the reading while forgetting that I had to define a word.
Another thing is that I’m more productive with my time. I read more than I did last semester, or even last year. I enjoy reading the articles I have to read for class, books that I brought from home, the news, and other blog sites. I do all of these while having school work to do but I get it all done. The more I’m able to be surrounded by “digital silence” from Facebook, the more I’m able to connect with my thoughts, reality, my career path, interesting political topics, and opinions. Instead of checking the lives other people are living on my Facebook app when I am on the bus, I read the news, or listen to music. And my phone has been less of a bad distraction and more of a good distraction. What I mean by this is that I use my phone more to educate myself by watching videos, reading the news, or reading articles while I use it less for things that won’t educate me.
Now I don’t have to read what people think is important. I just ask myself what’s important and focus on that. I used to give people a bigger importance than they really are. For example, I wanted to read my friend’s opinions rather than formulate my own. I focused on what other people were doing rather than putting an importance to what I was doing. And after deleting Facebook, I truly believe that I can focus on myself more. I’m not distracted by other people nor I let myself get distracted by people. I’m not sure if I will bring my Facebook back, it’s a great way to keep in contact with old friends but for right now, I like being in my mind thinking with my own thoughts and no one else’s.