“Who are you avoiding?”
“Are you okay?”
“How are we going to contact you now?”
If you’re going to quit Facebook, expect these questions on Day 3—or the day your friends will realize you’re not on Messenger and can’t be tagged on 9gag memes anymore. Your profile picture is reduced to a blue silhouette, and your selfies are vanished into thin air. Just like that: you’re a goner.
It’s somewhat flattering when your friends are alarmed that you left the most popular social networking site in the world, but make it clear you’re okay. You have your reasons. Set up a separate group chat on Viber or Telegram instead. If you’re going to deactivate your FB, take your Messenger down as well. Just don’t fall on Mark Zuckerberg’s trap prior to deactivating: “But Friend A will miss you.” (It’s OK, Mark. Friend A and I haven’t actually talked since high school. You just made us connect.)
The first two days can be tricky. Force of habit will make your fingers search for the FB app on your phone, sometimes forgetting you’ve already deleted it. But to form a habit won’t take you two days. Experts believe you need 21 days. And discipline. Based from experience, fasting on Facebook is actually easier than quitting any other vice… like cigarettes or carbs. Mind over matter. Next thing you know, you’re moving on without it.
Day 22, you’ll realize: deactivating is liberating. More time to do your hobbies. I’ve probably pulled out my profile at least 7 times since signing up in 2008, only to come back two weeks later. My current Facebook Fast holds my most number of days without it, and so far, so good. I can’t say I miss it, because I don’t.
Day 23, no Throwback Thursdays. “On This Day” will only make you feel bad that apparently, two years ago, things were “better.”
I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with FB. It’s nice that it keeps track of how everyone’s doing, but downside is, some tend to overshare. Don’t get me wrong: a part of me still lives online. The time I spend away from Facebook, I use on Twitter and Instagram. It’s where I mainly monitor the news now, to know what’s trending and what’s viral. Difference is, most tweets and grams are more zen and sound. Twitter users are more #woke to what’s happening in the world, and they don’t get easily distracted by the political noise. (Plus, they always shut down comments that usually give you cancer. So yes, part of the reason why I temporarily left FB is because I can’t stand fake news, comments from fanatics, and social media propaganda.)
Quitting FB doesn’t equate to cowardice and opting to live in a bubble; it is to practice digital freedom of choice. I don’t contest the platform’s influence as it has a wider reach to your friends, batch mates, block mates, neighbors, distant relatives, fellow fans, and target audience — but some just don’t know how to use it properly. Social media is so powerful that it changed the way how people interact, connect, and live. But at the end of the day, if the bad trumps the good, how does using FB matter?
At the end of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for Jewish people, the Zuck used his social media platform and apologized. “For the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together, I ask for forgiveness and I will work to do better.” He didn’t specify what his mea culpa was all about, but this comes at the heels of mounting evidence that Russians used Facebook to spread propaganda and influence voter sentiment in favor of now-US President Donald Trump.
Day 50. I receive a text from a distant friend. “You blocked me on Facebook!!!!!”
Day 52. I forgot a birthday.
Day 60. I contemplate on going back, just for the hell of it.
DAY 100. I’m forced to go back on Facebook because friends and I have a high school batch reunion to plan, and I’m tasked to chair the Marketing Committee. I’m still fully OK without FB, but something tells me, after my detox, I can resurrect my profile without the pains of growing attached to it.