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Breaking Free

Cutting the Facebook Mobile App from My Life

Breaking Free

I've been thinking a lot lately about Facebook. How much time am I wasting scrolling endlessly through meaningless posts? What could I be doing with my time that would serve a better purpose? How do I feel about all the information Facebook gathers on its users?

Don't get me wrong. I believe Facebook is a valuable tool for keeping connections with those friends and family members who don't live close. I've enjoyed watching my nieces down in North Carolina grow up over the years since I don't live close by. I enjoy hearing from high school friends who have long since moved away. 

But, most of the time I found myself just scrolling. Stopping to laugh at a meme here and there, show it to my boyfriend. Sometimes there is an interesting story that I will read and then discuss with my loved ones. I like looking at pictures of the babies that my own children's childhood friends are now having. I start out thinking, "Just a few minutes to see what's going on," only to find that an hour (sometimes more) has gone by, and I think about all the other things I could have done with my time that would've been more productive.

Then, there are the ads that pop up on my timeline. Discussions that I might be having with my phone nearby and all of a sudden, an ad pertaining to that discussion shows up. That's kind of creepy. Or, I drive near certain attractions and next thing I know, I'm seeing ads for locations near that area on my suggested ads. It's a bit invasive.

I do understand that they are trying to cater their ads to the right markets. Why advertise something like wedding gowns to someone who is not looking at getting married? It does make sense for them to try to hone in on a target audience to make ads more productive. However, I am just not a person who chooses to see ANY ads when I am checking to see how family and friends are doing. 

I spent a lot of time contemplating these things before I came to the decision to remove my Facebook app from my phone. The first thing I noticed was all the free space I now have on my phone. When I had the app, it seemed like at least one time a week, I would get notifications that my phone was almost out of storage space. Just taking off that one app has freed up enough space that I no longer receive that message. 

I also noticed that I am getting more things done each day. I am no longer scrolling endlessly, wasting my time. I'm able to cook more, clean more, read more, and exercise more, all things I had been neglecting to do while just sitting on my phone scrolling through Facebook. Since I work from home, this is exceptionally important, as I need to spend as much time working as possible.

At first, I missed it. I've seen many reports that Facebook is addicting, and I believe it. I found myself grabbing my phone and looking for the app for the first couple of days after I deleted the app. I'd remember I'd delete it and find something else to do. It took about a week to get past that. Now, I am just living life without a second thought. 

I log into Facebook on my computer to check things out a few times a week. If I want to post any pictures, I have to go the extra steps of emailing myself the picture and saving it on my computer first. But, honestly, I feel much freer now that I don't have the app on my phone. 

My boyfriend got a notification a couple days ago that Facebook is now using facial recognition on the mobile app for some things. Again, that's just too much information gathering for me. Why does a social media app need to access facial recognition, which means they can also see the background of where I am and what I'm doing? 

In this day and age, social media does play a meaningful role in our lives. It is a great way to stay connected with loved ones. However, it's also very important to remember that WE are in charge of how we choose to use the platform. We are in charge of the amount of information that we allow them to gather on us. I don't think less of people who still choose to have the app on their phones. However, I am very happy with my decision to not have the app.