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Its Been A Year Since I Quit Facebook: How Life's Changed

Have you ever toyed with the idea of quitting Facebook? Maybe you've even deactivated it just before exams to study. Well, I've done that too. But last year, I quit it for real. Here's what happened.

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I'd been thinking of quitting Facebook for awhile but never had the guts to do it. I mean, Facebook had become so integral to my life, leaving it I thought, would be like losing an arm. I'd become so reliant on it, for information, for my friends activities, for a pastime. But I became aware of how much time I spent on it and also how empty it left me feeling. I wasn't depressed or anything, but it sure got me feeling down.

Sometimes I feel like there is more negative material on there than positive. I've had my fair share of Facebook debates, struggling to be as diplomatic as possible in writing, but in reality cussing from behind the screen. Then there are the people who post annoying things. They don't mean to be, but they are. And then there's always this one friend who always seems to be having the best time, the best life, the best partner, the best things and you can't help but envy it and also hate it at the same time. I realised after awhile of scrolling through my feed, I would look up from the screen, not moved or be physically affected but feeling annoyed, angry, unsatisfied and sad. There's actually a study from the University of Houston that revealed some Facebook users exhibit depressive symptoms as a result of making comparisons between other people's awesome lives, and their own.

But mine is a story of empowerment

Alistair Cotton / Shutterstock / Alistair Cotton / Via quoteson.net

Round about that time I was in Uni and I just made a new friend. After exchanging numbers I told her I would find her on Facebook, and she casually said she didn't have a Facebook. I shrugged it off, asking why she deactivate it. But to my surprise she said "I've never had it".

'You've never had Facebook?'

'Nope.' She replied. I didn't think it was possible. A 21 year old university student who never had Facebook- never mind Instagram or Twitter. Did she not have access to a computer? Does she not have a smart phone? I couldn't understand. She wasn't a deprived child who lived in a rural village with no access to running water. She was just like me, but different, because she had not caved in to the pressure of joining a social network community. Then I realised I had met a outlier, a rarity in our modern society.

'So how do you keep in touch with people?' I asked, 'Well' she said most profoundly, 'I don't need Facebook to keep in touch with people I want to keep in touch with'. And she was right. There are so many other ways to keep in touch with people if we really wanted to.

babablogger.com / Via babablogger.com

So one day, around this time last year, I was on Facebook, scrolling through what I can only remember as nonsense. I finally decided to do it. There are a lot of steps involved, and FB asks you over and over if you are sure, making it impossible to deactivate your account by accident. They also try to persuade you to stay by asking why you want to leave and suggesting ways to make your FB experience better. Undeterred- I did it. And I've never looked back.

At first its a little difficult because you don't know what to do when idle or trying to pass time. But I picked up other habits, occupied my time doing better, more productive things. I took less breaks (because I didn't have a feed to check), communicated at the dining table more, and felt happier. Even better, I felt no obligation or responsibility to tell the world where I was, who I was with or to take a picture to prove it.

Keeping in touch was easy, I still had whatsapp and snapchat. Only a few people noticed I didn't have FB anymore and they asked me when I would return. But the thing was, I was throwing a tantrum or protesting something, and so, I wasn't planning on coming back.

Linkedin / Via instapage.com

The one difficulty though, was when signing up to new websites, I couldn't just click 'sign up with Facebook'. Although having a Facebook makes signing up much easier, the downside to that is having to give permission to that website to access to all my Facebook information, which is basically my identity. So now that I don't have Facebook, I have to sign up the old school way. But I don't mind it because it reminds me of the change I made one year ago and how much happier I am for it.

Inspirational Storytellers / Via inspirationalstorytellers.com

So to you dear reader, if quitting Facebook has been something you've been thinking about, I'm telling you your life will change in no other way but for the better. Your real friends will keep in touch with you with or without FB, and contrary to popular belief, you do not need to keep-up with anyone but yourself.

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