Why I Am Leaving Facebook

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Are you a Facebook user? What is it you like about Facebook? Is there anything you don't like about it?

I reluctantly created a Facebook profile because so many people couldn't believe I was an author without one. Friends convinced me that once I got used to it, I would like it. Well, now I've given it my best shot for many months, not just a personal profile, but also an author page. And and I still don't like it. In fact, I hate it. 

Call me old-fashioned, but I still prefer meeting in person, so I can read body language, hear the tone of voice, and feel empathy for my fellow humans who are struggling and triumphing in this journey we call life. I think the Amish have this one right. Fewer distractions with technology, and people will be more engaged with one another.

I still don't understand Facebook ettiquette after all these months. All the "cues" I mentioned above are missing, with the words on the page, emoticons and "liking" something, being the only elements to "read." I cannot find sufficient meaning in "liking" someone's posts or having them "like" mine. I feel like the creator, Mark Zuckerburg, of Facebook has made this social media into his own image, with all the controversy surrounding it. And if he can call the users of his own program derrogatory names, why should I stick around? I'm supposed to "like" that? Really?

I had a moment of clarity when I read this article by Jeff Bullas. I realized that the only reason I'm on Facebook (if I'm truly honest) is to get the word out about my books and hopefully boost sales. From this article, it seems like it's a rigged game, so it's hard to know if my Facebook activities affect book sales at all. And so I asked myself, "Why do it?" Several years ago, I was interviewed by Steve Dubner for Freakonomics Radio in a segment called "The Upside of Quitting." My advice to others was, "If you like what you're doing, then keep doing it. If not, then just quit."

Now it's time for me to take my own advice. I left the Amish culture because my personality didn't fit into it. I am leaving the Facebook culture for the same reason. It is another way of decluttering my life, and inviting more serenity into it. 

I will continue to carry on with my blog and website. This is my social media of choice. If you like my blog posts, you can click on the "subscribe" button to receive emails when I post to the blog. (And you can unsubscribe anytime you want).

I will leave my Facebook profile and author page up until May 19, at which point both will go away.

Disclaimer: I am not saying that Facebook is wrong for you. I know many people who enjoy it. I am just saying it isn't right for me, at least at this time in my life.

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57 thoughts on “Why I Am Leaving Facebook”

    1. Elva, thank you so much for your support. I’m hoping to support other bloggers again. I completely stopped visiting other blogs when I was on Facebook… I just didn’t have the time. 

      Happy Spring!

  1. The internet is bigger than Facebook, and I am sure you will continue to have satisfying interactions elsewhere online.See you round the blogosphere!

  2. Congrats to you on your decision! I can understand, as I have a love/hate relationship with social media. Facebook has helped me stay in touch with friends and family, which is a good thing. The downside is that it takes up time that I should spend elsewhere or on other projects.

    My publisher, however, likes to see their authors keeping up with social media, so I plod along and do as little as possible. I am not one to boast about what I am doing, so I often post things reluctantly and with as much decorum as I can. I’m still working to find a happy balance. Perhaps it doesn’t exist. Time will tell. :) I applaud your decision, and wish you well on your journey!

    1. Karen, thank you for your support. Maybe you will be able to find the balance I was not. And the boasting part doesn’t come naturally for me, either. 

      One of the questions I had for someone in book marketing recently was this: “How do I quantify how effective Facebook is?” This person said he had asked that same question in a meeting with other marketers, and the room became silent. For me it is just not worth doing without a way to measure its success.

      I hope to come by and visit your thoughtful posts one of these days. Thank you for stopping by.

  3. Teresa Stebbins

    I struggle with this every day. Your words “and inviting more serenity” pierced my heart. I stay here to see photos of far away friends and family but they all have my email which should be enough. I will continue to follow you by email and will consider your words carefully. I admire you for taking this path.

    1. Thank you, Teresa, for your encouraging words. I hear enjoyment in your words about seeing photos of far away friends and family. Emails seem to be going by the way of “inboxing.” (Don’t you love the terms? I usually don’t like to be boxed in.) This makes it necessary for many people to stay on Facebook, so they can stay in touch with those people they wouldn’t otherwise see. All the best to you.

  4. I would say you have to do what is right for you. I don’t do a lot on facebook but I keep my account since I can’t get out and about as much as I used to. That way i can stay in touch with people. also I have my little ministry of encouragement and inspiration on there. I feel like as long as the Lord wants me to do for Him on there I will but I to sometimes get tired of facebook.

    1. Michelle, so glad for you that you have a way of staying in touch with people and spreading encouragement and inspiration. We all need to go with what moves us. Good for you!

  5. I am a senior citizen and have 4 great grandchildren. The only reason I joined Facebook was to keep track of my granddaughters and great-grandkids. I don’t care for it either – it uses up too much of my internet allowance to load everything. I never put anything personal on there. You’ve made a wise decision and I would rather go to your website (which I do anyway!)

    1. Kris, thank you for your support and encouragement. So glad you are able to stay in touch with your granddaughters and great-grandchildren… what a gift! I hope you will visit my blog and website. Many blessings to you.

  6. You have to do what’s right for you. I far prefer getting to know people through their meaty blogs and find it hard to make connections through the snacklets shared on FB. It can be fun, but if you had to choose then I am glad that you are keeping the blog.

  7. Dali Castillo

    I agree with you on much of what you say about Facebook, Saloma. My page was started for me by my daughter and I had it almost a year before I began using it. I have “friends” from work & such that aren’t really friend friends, so I stick more to closed groups so I can keep parts of my life “private” which is an oxymoron where social media is concerned, and still keep up with topics that interest me. Sometimes, I post a picture of something with my family, because I have cousins & family that are on Facebook, but mostly, I post things I find encouraging, funny, or interesting. And, truthfully, I don’t like the Facebook format, so I find myself on it less & less. I too would rather have a face to face, see the expression & hear the tone of voice when someone is talking to me. It’s really hard to get that from a written post on Facebook.
    So, I understand your decision and will continue to follow your blog & catch you on Twitter. Hope you keep that account going. = )

    1. Dali, thank you for your support and for “retweeting” my tweet. I plan to keep my Twitter account, at least for the time being. I’m hoping I’ll get to develop that more, besides visiting more blogs. Thank you for stopping by.

  8. Hi, Well, I was glad to find you on FB after I saw you on PBS. Facebook is many things. For some, it’s a way to keep in touch with family and friends. For others, it’s a way for them to find others with similar tastes and interests, and causes –not bound by geography. Fast friendships often arise, and many turn into deep and meaningful ones. There’s a third group, and for many it’s a marketing tool, a way for you to push a product, service or cause. And often, where you are intersects all three: personal, community (in a broad sense) and business.
    Everyone has a choice of social media, and yours is the blog. Here’s my advice: Adjust your FB so that people can’t post or leave messages for you. Put up a final post at the top that directs people to your blog, and how to find your book. In the “About” section make sure you fill in the area that has your website.
    Happy blogging!

    1. Kanani, thank you for your synopsis of what Facebook is and can do for different people. I thought about keeping the account open, but I’ve heard of many people’s accounts getting hacked lately. I would rather not take that risk. But putting up a final post is a good idea. Thank you.

  9. I hear you. I’ve enjoyed the socialability of it and seeing old friends, family but I have to say during Mothers Day away with my family I didn’t want the interference of even having phone messages. I felt it’s important for people not to document (ie photos)memories because it will go to facebook but document as your own personal memory. I’ve missed my daughter before facebook and I guess what I’m saying Saloma there are A LOT of people like you that come for a look then leave. I’ll miss you but we have each other’s email, right? I always love seeing you. Keep being real! Love, ANNE

    1. Hello Anne, so glad to see you here. Thank you, as always for your support. And good for you for not wanting the photos to go up on Facebook. Whatever happened to keeping these photos in our own collection? In case you don’t have my email: saloma@salomafurlong.com. It is always a pleasure to see you, too, Anne. I’ll always remember that you were my first interviewer… long before I ever published either book. It was a step along my journey, and you were there. Many thanks! I hope to see you around.

  10. Hi Saloma! I found you on your blog and I’ll stay with you on your blog :-) I might even try to keep my own blog up to date a bit more since more of my friends have, not necessarily switched, but have started blogging to reach more friends with less “fuss and bother” that Facebook seems to encourage.

    Actually, I took a little break from my computer and didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. People would say, “Did you see what I posted?” (my own husband was guilty of that!) and I would say, “Nope!”

    Have a great week!

    1. Peggy, thank you for being a loyal friend. I’ll come visit you on your blog, too! Good for you for taking a break from the computer. I am totally dependent on it as I prepare for our book tour. Sigh. I will be taking a break from it… a day here and a day there after my trip… there are so many other things to do! So glad you will stay in touch! Blessings to you!

  11. Another hot topic! I’ve got three words to say about it- You Go Girl! I hate all of it…except the three blogs I visit regularly. All former Amish folks. It’s just more clutter, less real interactions, and frankly who cares what color you painted your nails or scored on the latest Scrabble game? Faces, real flesh and blood faces to look at and study and pinch and kiss. Now that’s where it’s at! Yes, old fashioned I am and old fashioned I will remain. Good for you!

    1. Fran, thank you for your support. I like how comfortable you are with being old-fashioned… a woman after my own heart. Cannot wait to be able to see you in person… soon. Thank you for being such a loyal friend.

  12. One more thing. Since Mother’s Day just passed I couldn’t help but wonder if the Amish celebrate this day. Or Father’s Day or Valentine’s Day, etc.

    1. Fran, this may have changed since I left. When I was there, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day were very low-key. Cards and mentions were how we celebrated. 

  13. Hello Saloma,

    Congratulations for your site about amish people.

    I am french and i am very interesting by amish culture; Grace to my readings, i can say that amish people come from the east of France (alsacian left from France to america several centuries ago).

    Sorry for grammar mistakes.

    thanks

    1. Elizabeth, I feel that too. I’m not sure what it is… maybe the way FB is set up, made in someone else’s image? I somehow feel I can be more myself on my blog. Thank you for your comments.

  14. Dear Saloma,

    I just started to follow you on FB yesterday because I believe your story needs to be heard here in Switzerland too. ;-)
    But I also prefer to meet someone in person instead of communicating him or her vial social networks.

    I love your books and your blog and I visit your website weekly. So I am glad that we still can be in touch.
    If David and you are planning a trip to Switzerland, please let ne know, my Family and I would love to meet you both in Person. :-)

    All the best and have a wonerful day,

    Miriam Koch, Switzerland.

  15. Dear Saloma, I totally respect your decision and admire you for doing what you need to do. It is a great reminder to just say no to the things in our lives that distract and take away from our sense of peace and serenity. I’m on Facebook but I do not use it to its full potential. My main social media channels are my blog and Twitter. That’s enough to fill my days. There’s a lot to be said for simplifying and just saying no. Bravo to you!

    1. Kathleen, thank you for support and encouragement. I like the austerity of your comment, “That’s enough to fill my days.” It is for me, too. Always enjoy our exchanges.

  16. Hi Saloma:

    I agree with you on this Facebook thing. I joined it just to see what it is all about. I rarely post anything on it. It is interesting to see what other people are doing, but I only check it occasionally. Not my cup of tea either. I prefer to contact my real “friends” by phone, e-mail, in person for lunch, etc. Some things that are posted on Facebook I would rather NOT have known anyway. I will probably cancel my involvement with it too before long.

    I do experience and value the peace, quiet, serenity of my life on a 57 acre pasture sheep farm away from the hub-bub of congested city life. Will probably be sending you some pictures of my cute little newborn lambs & mamas playing and mowing the lawn in my front yard shortly.
    Take care.

    Joyce, the shepherdess

    1. Joyce, you already have sent me a picture… a pastoral one of beauty and serenity. I look forward to receiving the one you’ll send me as well. Do you have a blog? I would love to get a link to it, if so. Good luck with deciding on your Facebook connection. Each of us has to decide what’s right for us. All the best to you in your endeavors.

  17. Hi Saloma,
    If you are “old fashion” that can only mean that I am “ancient.” I don’t text. tweet, Facebook or any of that stuff. I like to take pictures of things I find along the backroads of New York Sate and I post them. My handle is Tom The Backroads Traveller period. I don’t post pictures of myself or my family and I try to stay under the radar. I like the personal touch and hope that I have the opportunity to meet you in person some day.

    Have great week doing great things. Tom The Backroads Traveller

    1. Tom, it’s great to hear from you. I don’t text either. I use an Amish saying on that one, “You have to draw the line somewhere.” So the only difference between your technology and mine is that I tweet. And I once in a while I post a photo of myself. 

      I do hope our paths will cross (in person) someday. You’re welcome to email me: saloma@salomafurlong.com. You cannot be too far from us if you’re in upstate New York. Perhaps we can get together sometime. 

      Enjoy this glorious weather!

  18. Saloma, that’s very solid thinking, and I appreciate the reminder to keep doing what I like, and stop doing what I don’t.

    1. Brett, it’s fun seeing you here… outside of Scrabble Club. I know, when it stops being fun, why do it, right? As you say, “Play Always!” I found Facebook a chore. I’ll see you at club when I get back from my trip to the Midwest… in the meantime, have lots of fun!

  19. Good to read again. I have not even a cellphone. If they need me then they can give a call or email.
    Maybe old fashioned,but that is ok.
    Thanks.
    Love, Wilma

  20. Good for you! I wish more people would walk away from Facebook. So many dislike it, but feel they have to maintain a presence because others in their social circle are on it and they feel they may miss out on something, or they’re told for professional reasons (as you were) that they MUST have a page to sell something. I’m willing to bet your books will be just as successful without it.

    I’m not on Facebook for many reasons – the ones you mention about personal interaction (on a blog you can have more thoughtful interaction with people), privacy, and Zuckerberg’s philosophy and attitude toward users which shape the site and its algorithms. An eye-opening book on the topic is the The Boy Kings written by a woman who was in on the ground floor (I believe she was the only woman there when Facebook started.) Unfortunately, even non-users are mined for data by Facebook.

    I, too, think the Amish have it right to consider how technology will impact their society before they adopt it. We’d all be better off if we did.

    I do feel, however, that sometimes it’s less about religious beliefs and the idea that “fewer distractions with technology, and people will be more engaged with one another” and more about maintaining the insularity (and thus retention rates) of their society. From this perspective, rules that seem contradictory to outsiders make perfect sense to Amish elders.

    For example, it becomes understandable that electricity generated onsite or with batteries is acceptable, but connection to the electrical grid is not. Connection to the grid is connection to the outside world and would involve strangers coming into their communities for repair, maintenance, inspection, enforcing building codes and so on. Similarly the telephone. This is a pet peeve for some outsiders – that some Amish resist getting their own phones but are happy to avail themselves of the technology if somebody else owns it. But again, a land line in their own homes would be continuous connection to the outside world, while borrowing a neighbor’s phone is a temporary connection for a specific reason, maybe a medical emergency.

    This makes me wonder about the special challenge cell phones and the internet present for the Amish. These technologies connect people throughout the world, but without physical lines on the property. Cell phones can also be hidden and used surreptitiously. I’ve read that some Amish communities allow cell phones, with authors suggesting that perhaps the elders threw in the towel on this one, knowing they couldn’t control it. Elsewhere, I’ve read of Amish teens regularly having their cell phones confiscated and destroyed.

    The internet seems to have greatly expanded opportunities for people to leave closed communities. There are blogs today by ex-Hasidic Jews, ex-Amish, ex-fundamentalist Mormons, and ex-Quiverful. The internet makes it easier to reach out for help in leaving these communities and to see examples of people who have successfully done so. As you have said, your connection with Anna came about because someone trying to help her found you on the internet. I’d be interested to know what you think and have heard about these technologies and the Amish.

    By the way, I read and enjoyed your first book, have worked my way through virtually all your blog posts, saw you in the PBS docs and will be attending one of your presentations in WI next month – either in Madison or Fitchburg.

    Save travels – and I look forward to hearing your talk.

    Katherine

    1. Katherine, I am so happy to get to meet you in Wisconsin. You are absolutely right, that many of the Amish elders are more concerned about maintaining their communities than thinking of the philosophy of why they are doing what they are. I was never taught to self-reflect when I was Amish (in fact, it was very much discouraged). But I think the effect is the same. And when I say these things, I have to remind myself that I am talking about the way things were when I left, 36 years ago… before Internet, cell phones, and FB, and the myriad of other technologies. 

      Yes, the cell phone is a huge issue for the Amish. You are absolutely right… there are those who have given in and allowed the cell phones. Those who have banned them. And those who allow them for certain purposes, but not for others. I love one story I heard about a man who owned a cell phone and the deacon showed up to admonish him about it. While the deacon was there admonishing him, the cell phone went off in this man’s pocket. So, the bottom line is that they cannot control it, and they know it. 

      You are very perceptive. This is a challenge for the Amish. In all the ways you describe, the Amish have been able to keep certain things at bay, such as electricity by not connecting to the grid; using their neighbors’ phones, and riding in other people’s cars, while not owning their own. These seem like contradictions, but they are a way of maintaining their lifestyle. With cell phones it is a whole different story. No one knows the outcome of this one yet.

      I hope I get a chance to talk with you when we meet. Thanks for your compliments and your support.

      1. Wow, I had paragraph breaks in that when I wrote it! I pasted my comment in from Word – maybe that’s why the breaks were lost. Sorry for the large block of text – I know that’s hard to read.

        Interesting comments, Saloma, I look forward to your talk!

        Katherine

        1. I read it from the “back end” of my blog, so your paragraph breaks were in there. Not hard to read at all. I need to get with my IT guy and have him fix that… it irritates me that the paragraphs get smushed together like that when you leave a comment. 

          Looking forward to meeting you, Katherine.

  21. I just discovered you and found this post. I’m so happy to have read about your decision regarding Facebook. I have never had a Facebook page and I personally don’t know anyone who isn’t on it. I’m pressured all the time to join, but I just don’t want to spend that much time online with people whom I barely know and share my life/images simply to be “liked.” And those that I know personally will discover what is going on in my life via personal visits, lunches, or phone calls. Emails, texting, and my blog is enough technology for me. Like you, I’m not judging those who use Facebook, it just isn’t right for me in this season of my life. I look forward to reading your posts.

    Big hug,
    Elizabeth

    1. Elizabeth, thank you for your reinforcement of my decision. What you said, “…it just isn’t right for me in this season of my life” really resonates with me.

      I hope you enjoy my blog. Do you have one? If so, please feel free to share a link here.

      Happy Summer to you!

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