Saturday 21 April 2018

Colette Fitzpatrick: Why did it take me so long to finally press delete on my Facebook life?


Colette Fitzpatrick

It's possibly very disingenuous of me to even announce I'm off Facebook. I was never really on it.

I had a page and there were pictures of me on it, but I don't think I've ever written on the timeline or newsfeed or ever uploaded a picture of myself, though I've been tagged in pictures.

So while I was technically on it and had a page, I never had the app and was certainly not given to scrolling for hours through posts and pictures. I was never the Facebooker who kept on giving. Deleting, more like.

It came to me last week. With all the recent noise about fake news stories, lies, newsfeeds and social media chaos, I decided to delete the page.


It's not that obvious how to do it, by the way. I had to open a tab on "how to delete your Facebook page" and follow the instructions.

A couple of steps and it was gone. Nearly. There's a bizarre two-week wait period, so I won't technically be permanently deleted for another week.

Also, deactivation is separate to deletion. I deactivated first and logged on to another computer to make sure it was gone, and that actually reactivated it, so I had to start the whole process again. Or rather, permanently delete it.

When it was closed, it was incredibly freeing. It was like I said: "That's it. I've finally put my money where my mouth is and I'm refusing to buy into counterfeit, unauthentic, fake images of our lives." I'm also refusing to let someone make up their mind about me based on profile pictures, pictures of my kids and my house or what I was doing at the weekend.

Facebook makes you jealous and anxious and unhappy. Why did she get that from her boyfriend? Why is their kitchen more fabulous than mine?

"Blessed". The single most annoying word you can put beside a picture of you and your kids. Of course you're blessed. You know we know it. You don't have to post it.

If we stop the over-share it doesn't mean you don't appreciate the positives in your life - it actually means you have more time to really appreciate the good stuff.

I also don't want to find out via Facebook that someone I know has died or is seriously ill. Aren't condolences supposed to be private? I don't mean to offend anyone who has done this or who has taken comfort from it, but this feels really unsettling.


Facebook had become the opposite of reality television. It was anything but real and anything but social. These sites actually keep you away from friends rather than helping you stay in touch.

Deleting your Facebook page is not social suicide. It seems to be a growing movement. Like Dry January, there's now Facebook-free February, and even mental health campaigners are asking people to give it a go.

If you like it that much, you should probably delete it now. After the withdrawal symptoms go, you'll probably feel happier. You'll definitely waste less of your precious time each day, because you'll have one less thing to keep on top of.

Time to start living your life in the real world rather than the cyber one.

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