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Reflecting on my decision to deactivate Facebook two years ago

About two years ago, I decided I don’t need Facebook in my life. In early January 2019, I went through the settings and deactivated my account. I didn’t choose to delete it fully for two reasons – one, perhaps I’d want to go back after realizing what I’m missing out on, and two – I still wanted to use Facebook Messenger with some friends.

Today, I rarely remember that Facebook exists. I’ve missed a few house-warming parties (“What, you didn’t get the invite? I invited everyone on.. Facebook!“), and plenty of gossips (“did you hear this-and-that got married?“), but that’s it.

Did I consider to reactivate my account? No. I still use Facebook Messenger frequently, but not much as most of my communications are now on other platforms (that, admittedly, are sometimes owned by Facebook, like WhatsApp). And that wasn’t the problem initially, either. I just felt that Facebook did not provide me with what I thought I signed up for – keeping in touch with friends.

I set out to find clarity, focus and to improve my thinking after quitting Facebook. Since then, I’ve managed to achieve many things that I attribute (partially) to the fact that I’m not burning my cognitive focus or limited hours endlessly scrolling the newsfeed. Reading books is something I’ve truly enjoyed in the evenings, even if this year, I’ve managed to do that less due to other commitments (such as sports, designing a house, and completing my studies).

The idea of getting rid of something (unused) in your life to make room for something new is still strong in me. I also let go of Instagram around the same time – I wasn’t sure what value it was bringing me anymore.

I did play with the idea that I’d reactivate my account – just for a day – to go and see what I’ve missed. Did anyone miss me? How many notifications do I have waiting for me? But it’s a bit like when you commit to going to the gym each week, why risk it and not go? So I didn’t. I’m also slightly interested in hearing from people if they are still as active on Facebook as they were a few years ago. I hear fewer and fewer comments about Facebook, which might be because people realize it isn’t of interest to me.

Therefore, that’s it for me. I’ll still retain my Facebook Messenger access, but beyond that, I’m well on the way to continue with my life without Facebook.

Having had almost two years to think about this was a good choice. I kept the door open if I wanted to go back; but after such a long time, it’s now evident it was a nice-to-have, but not a must have.