If I Deactivated My Facebook Account, and No One Cared, Did It Really Happen?

It’s been a humbling way to start the New Year.

Last week, on Christmas Eve, I decided to deactivate my Facebook account.

I put a lot of thought into the decision, wondering if I would miss reading my friends’ updates, if they would miss mine, and what impact it might have on my blog stats.

After the first week, I must admit that I’ve missed reading those friend updates a little bit, wishing people Happy Birthday, and occasionally commenting on what people post.

On the other hand, I don’t think anyone has even noticed that I’ve gone off Facebook, not even Mark Zuckerberg.

Apparently people have not been sitting around waiting for me to wish them a Happy Birthday or to post a witty comment on one of their posts. And when I failed to do so, people weren’t so concerned that they reached out to see if everything was OK. (I am, by the way).

I’ve also used Facebook as a place to post a link to my daily blog, and it’s been a steady source of readers of my blog. Based on my WordPress stats, Facebook usually brought in 20-40 daily views to my blog. Those views seem to be gone, which means that those people who used the link on Facebook to read my posts have not bothered to try and find my blog by another means. Apparently, my Facebook friends can make it through the day without reading my blog. I just assumed it was one of their daily habits, like eating and sleeping.

So once again, the message is clear.

The world does not revolve around me, my blog, or my Facebook account.

*image from Quick Web Tips

65 thoughts on “If I Deactivated My Facebook Account, and No One Cared, Did It Really Happen?

  1. It can be a crushing blow when you see how little the Facebook world cares. Haha. I spend about five minutes a day on there and then I leave. Aside from a few family updates and some hilarious memes, I get bored with it. I’ve preferred to market on here and Twitter. I don’t know. FB is okay but not my favorite. If they fell off, it wouldn’t bother me. Ha. So, just as the FB world doesn’t care about you, I don’t care about them. And the world keeps turning…

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    1. First, my apologies for not replying to your previous comments – they were somehow all in my spam folder!

      Anyway, your approach of five minutes a day seems like a good one. That would give me enugh time to wish people Happy Birthday and to reply to any comments I may have received on my posts. But then I would feel bad if someone commented on one of my posts, and I never commented on their posts… But yes, with or without me, or Facebook, the world keeps turning. Thanks for your comments, Parker.

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  2. The only reason I’m on Facebook is it the easiest way I know of to stay connected with old students. I never had much use for it for many years, but I finally gave in.

    I think that you need to consider that many people aren’t aware that you are no longer on Facebook because they haven’t received a notification telling them about your disappearance. I never pay attention to the number of “friends” on my account, so when someone leaves, I wouldn’t typically notice. Occasionally, I will think, “I haven’t seen anything from “Morris” in a while, and look him up. That is the point when I might discover someone has left the building.

    Since you produce a blog post daily, I think I might be more inclined to notice if that suddenly disappeared, so I get your point. Happy New Year, Jim. Facebook is one less thing to worry about.

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    1. staying in touch with former students seems like a great use of Facebook; I do the same thing through LinkedIn. I’ll see how long I stay away from Facebook, but so far, so good. Happy New Year to you as well!

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      1. I love interacting with readers/bloggers, and no, on facebook, I post my blog on it and occasionally something else, but mostly just check in once a day or so to see fam and friends.

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      2. and I am grateful for your willingness to be such an active reader of my blog. I just don’t know how you find the time to do the same for so many others…

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  3. Perhaps the message isn’t so clear Jim. Isn’t it about our perceptions and the feeling that we need to be social, to interact and take an interest in what other people are doing…. oh yes …. and What They Think about us? There’s a lot of pressure there to connect.
    And it’s okay not to. Really.
    Unless it becomes a part of expectations from work.
    The choice is always ours. The amount of pressure we put on ourselves is also part of that choice.

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    1. thanks for your insights, Val. I do like the social aspect of Facebook, but I just got carried away sometimes with how much time I was spending on it. The other problem is that I found myself falling victim to the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy”. I’m hoping that spending time away from it will help break me out of that mindset of comparing myself to others. And thanks for letting me know that it’s OK not to connect via such a platform…

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  4. Happy New Year, Jim.
    I joined FB orginally to use it as a distribution channel for the blog, but I eventually came to like FB just because of all the old connections I made and the local news I find out in almost real time.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, Ray! It was fun to use Facebook catch to catch up with some old connections, but it seemed like that excitement went away fairly quickly. To me, it made me realize that there was probably a reason why we hadn’t stayed in touch 🙂 And as for trying to get news in real-time, that’s what I like about Twitter.

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    1. I think there are options to either deactivate or delete. Delete seemed pretty permanent; deactivating seemed to do what I wanted, but left me the option to return without losing anything.

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  5. No one would notice you actually dropped off their FB radar until you actually meet them in real life and they ask you to add them up because they remember not seeing any recent updates from you.

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  6. Well….it takes self discipline, but you really can be a facebook slacker– as so many people are who have an account but they just don’t sign onto it very regularly .

    You can still share your blog on it and tell yourself you won’t interact w/ readers there but only here in the comments ….

    But if you’re just transferring your social media time from one source to another (i.e., fb to twitter as I did when i gave FB up for Lent one year) then that doesn’t really address the problem of the addictive nature of ALL the social media. Some (Linked In, Instagram) are easier for me to give up almost completely and not miss them at all.

    Digital Minimalism is a great book by Cal Newport a prof at Georgetown (he also wrote Deep Work) … “Your time = their Money” he says… give them all up and gradually add back only the ones that truly add value to your life (and it sounds like if you get 40 views from FB that adds value … but if you truly give up all the media that have you addictively scrolling: you win

    I think a lot of us are trying to do that (eliminate the time wasted online) as a New Year’s Resolution.

    It depends on your goals, tho. I know that Facebook is the only way I get most readers for my blog —so that wouldn’t be the media I’d give up, I’d give up all the others first. But I have started using it differently– hiding notifications for the groups I’m in there… it all just takes up too much time, even tho it is often for me what Newport calls “quality leisure time on social media” as I’m interested in the group discussion topics and FB does keep me in the know as to what some of my real life friends are doing (unlike twitter where almost all my followers/follows are strangers…and the constant “news flashes” keep me coming back for more. THAT is the media I’m cutting back on (but not deactivating) for 2020.

    But yes, facebook still equals too much online time for me … so many other ways I wish I would spend my time.

    I might try to do a FB one day a week only or something like that in the new year.

    I never did “deactivate” FB or Twitter, I just didn’t go on and then they both started emailing me almost daily trying to tease me about all the stuff my friends or follows were posting (very annoying!)

    SO MUCH self-discipline required in so many ways we never had til this marvelous but timeconsuming internet became so ubiquitous… . We’re up against it, . Silicone Valley makes sure of that, sadly. (maddenly)
    we’re all just rats pressing the bar for our intermittent reinforcement . yet even being aware of that, we do it anyway! 😦

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    1. Once again, thank you, Susan, for your thoughtful comments. I’ll admit that I’m the problem with my lack of self-control when it comes to using Facebook. The other problem has to due with a phrase I think you introduced me too a while ago: “comparison is the thief of joy.” I find that ringing true sometimes when I am scrolling through Facebook. So I’m going to see if taking a break will help me realize I really don’t need to be on it as much as I used to be and get me out of the habit of comparing myself to others. And while I have not read the Newport book you mention, I have read a couple of his other books and loved them. Hope all is well, and Happy New Year!

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  7. I have come to the conclusion that Facebook no longer serves the purpose for which it was created. A Social Media Network. It is now more of a paid advertising platform. I myself feel like a Ghost on it. I think you could post anything and no one would bat an eyelid. It just bores me now as there is no movement and little interaction. The time is ripe for a new social media network to be born!!!! 🙂

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    1. Yes, at its heart, I think Facebook originally had good intentions, to just connect people. Now it’s gotten to be so much more than that. The problem to me is the addictive nature of it, which I know I have succumbed to on occasion. SO yes, I would be quite interested to see a new social media network created! Do you have something in mind? 🙂

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      1. I am still on facebook because it’s a way to contact people you know when travelling or share photos. It’s an ok way to find out about events although it would be great if there was a really good events network type thing. I just dont use it hardly at all now though. The problem is now you rarely see updates from pages you liked and your friends posts so it’s less interactive.

        My favourite one was MySpace. You got to create a really unique page on that and for some reason on that one I made friends around the globe and connected with a lot of creative people and discovered new music too. It just seemed to work totally differently. I cant explain it. But then it kinda disappeared.

        Myspace for me had a whole different vibe. I just seemed to connect with wonderful new people in it whereas facebook seems to have a lot of fake profiles and stuff.I connected with a guy on Myspace who illustrated some poems for me and made a new friend from Tennessee. I made new friends internationally. Myspace seemed to connect me with real kindred spirits.

        Facebook has its pros and cons and some of the ads and sponsored posts are actually relevant. But it doesnt make me happy or excite me whatever way the algorithm works.

        You can leave Facebook feeling down or neutral or sad but rarely happy or elated! I also rarely connect with new people there that message me first or reconnect with people from my past.

        We need a Happiness Network ha ha! That’s kinda the opposite of the mainstream news and is about raising the vibration and uplifting people! Is that possible? Who knows….

        There is probably lots of social media networks now but none jump out at me. I think a good one would be where you could connect with new people with similar interests and make your page really unique. That worked kind of like myspace but better technology. What do you think?

        For a social network to work there needs to be more interaction and conversation. And there needs to be a positive vibe not a corporate vibe unless it’s a corporate network.

        Facebook is not bad it just doesnt seem to connect me with anything I’m interested in. So I spend hours just scrolling and liking for the sake of it.

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      2. you’ve captured my thoughts, only you have expressed them so much better. Perhaps WordPress is close to what you are describing. I’ve met some great people (online at least) through my blogging and reading others, such as yours. And if someone could create a social media platform that made everyone happy- they would be a billionaire within a week…

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    1. That’s what I tried to use Facebook for, but some days I was just using it too much. And as for the blog stats, I don’t know why I’m kind of obsessed with them. Constantly checking them is really what I need to give up!

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  8. People have short attention spans. I deactivated my account years ago and I don’t miss it. Facebook took to much time and mental space.. I hope you don’t reactivate, as another blogger states it’s more of an advertising site than social ..

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  9. Good move!
    I too used to post a link to my posts on Facebook and it brought me traffic and comments (on Facebook). But then my conscience got in the way and I stopped. Don’t get as much traffic as a result but – so be it. I write for myself anyway and if any body does read and find any value then that’s a bonus and I love it. But not essential to my wellbeing.

    Time for the world to move beyond feeding Mark Zuckerberg’s endless, bottomless, democracy- destroying greed.

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    1. Thanks, Josie. Like you, I like it when someone finds value in what I write, but it is not essential (if I were doing this for money, then it’s a different story!). I’ll see how long I last without Facebook; I’m not feeling any withdrawal symptoms yet, and it’s been over a week!

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  10. There’s one group on facebook that I’m an active, contributing member of because a) it doesn’t take itself seriously and b) it makes me think – about what to contribute. Other than that, it’s where I communicate with my kids. I find we don’t check our phone SMS as much as we used to (me included) but on Fb Messenger my messages are read soon after posting.
    I see Fb as a tuseful tool, rather than letting it take over my life. (It’s hard enough to think up stuff to share on WordPress when real life reasserts itself, as it has in the past month.

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    1. Facebook certainly has the potential to create some wonderful communities, and it sounds like you have found one. I have also found FB Messenger useful for video chatting with my kids, so I still use Messenger.

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  11. I feel you on this one, Jim! I retain my FB account and the only thing I post is a link to my daily blog post. I don’t have the readership you do, so if I did not post on FB I may only lose one or two readers, and those are readers that are not active as part of the community anyway, so not sure what real loss it would be. I never post on or read my FB page at all, and posting my blog there is a one click wonder of convenience. It has stopped really serving any useful purpose for me, and life has not time for the frivolous.

    It does seem that your topic of choice hit a vein of interest in your readership though. I guess that says something abut FB. And though the world doesn’t revolve around any of us, I can promise you your daily blog posts would be sorely missed should they disappear!

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    1. Thanks, Brad. You seem to have Facebook under control and are using it in a good way. On occasion, I would spend too much time on it, so perhaps this break will help me realize I don’t need to be using it that much. And to be honest, I had also thought about stopping my blog a couple of weeks ago, but some kind words from you and a couple of other bloggers inspired me to keep writing – so thank you!

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      1. I have succumb to the pressure of posting daily myself, and for you the length of your streak in posting can only bring greater pressure. And as much as I look forward to your post each day, I do not want to see the joy removed from your writing. I would prefer to read you once a week, than not read you at all. And, of course, I will happily support whatever is best for you!

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      2. I used to think about cutting back on daily blogging, but I thought that would be even more stressful. I’d feel pressure to make sure each post was really, really good. With daily blogging, I figure I can get away with some duds now and then (not that I set out to write a dud!). It’s sort of like comparing basketball and hockey. If you miss a shot in basketball, it’s not that big a deal because you get so many opportunities. But in hockey, particularly for the goalie, there are so few opportunities to stop the puck, that each one counts a lot!

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  12. I must be one of the only people in the world who likes FB, Jim. I enjoy interacting with my friends on FB and seeing what they are doing. I don’t really expect much back from it so when people comment and like, its a bonus.

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    1. I am not anti-Facebook; I think it is an amazing platform to stay in touch with people. The problem was on my end – spending too much time on it when I should be doing other things! If I can learn some self-control, I may return to Facebook 🙂

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  13. I deactivated my Facebook a few years ago for over 2 years. In 2014, when I started to travel more I reactivated to stay in touch with those I met through my travels and get ideas for more travels! I can’t say I missed it when I deactivated it but I do think I would miss it now.

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    1. staying in touch with people you meet on your travels seems like a great use of Facebook. We are getting ready to do some traveling around Southeast Asia, so I may do the same thing. thanks for the advice!

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  14. Jim, having a medically complex child for the past 2 years Facebook has been my only outlet to the “normal” world and sadly is the only way I get any kind of socialization other than with therapists and hospital staff. I have also used it to spread my son’s journey with the world including sharing my blog post links about him. But most recently I have used it as a way to find other families going through decisions like the ones we had to make these last 2 years and helping families through that.

    For what it’s worth I can’t fathom being without Facebook right now ❤️ but I do also wonder if anyone would miss me too!

    Sending you HUGE happy new year hugs!!

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    1. Hi Jannet, I don’t think we’ve met before, but after reading your thoughtful comments, I checked out your blog site and discovered that we have a common link. I also have a child with Williams Syndrome. My son is 29 years old. My apologies if we’ve already connected before. Anyway, I completely understand what you are saying about the value of Facebook in such situations. It can certainly be a medium for doing good, given the size of its audience. I look forward to reading your blog – and I hope you hear back from Ellen (she is one of my favorite people as well…) Best wishes for a Happy New Year to you as well.

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      1. Hey Jim! The majority of the blogs I follow are because I searched Williams Syndrome and found some really awesome writers – yours was included 💙💚 Knowing that your son is 29 is so wonderful because he made it! We have just tried to keep Owen alive so far and it’s been tough. I’m looking forward to thinking about the future soon. Thank you for your reply, the good Ellen wishes, and for giving me something to read most nights! Happy 2020 🎉

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      2. What a small world; thanks for making the connection. Our son is doing well; we were fortunate that he did not have any significant medical issues. He just hit his 5-year anniversary at his job; he works part-time at the Villanova University bookstore. Let us know if you ever want to chat; we would welcome the opportunity.

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    2. Me too. I feel less alone with my son’s challenges when I can share his “wins” on facebook. He’s way more popular than I am on facebook. People like to route for kids with special needs and clicking like or love is an easy way they can show their support. And I do feel the love everytime they do.

      I unsubscribed / unliked a lot of media outlets on facebook trying to get less political news on it and it worked.

      Twitter is the real crack for breaking news. I just wish we as a society could go back to checking the morning newspaper and the evening news and that would be it.

      But it’s a whole new world and 24/7 access to “news” that we have no control over is not good for us. In fact, it is depressing since most of it is negative because that is the nature of news. If it’s just good stuff it rarely makes the news unless it’s truly novel or particularly cute (Batman Boy, etc)…. “if it bleeds, it leads” and all that…but all this news junkie stuff really isn’t good for us , but they keep teasing us with click bait based on our interests and it is insidious.
      .
      Requires so much self discipline to stop scrolling and go back to living our lives. Drives me crazy how facebook would rather show us a political news article before it gives us photos our friends’ kids. But they know if they give us our friends’ info intermittently, we will stay on longer, looking for another hit of dopamine.

      Even KNOWING this, I keep scrolling, looking for friends (in all the wrong places! ) … but the occasional hits are why I won’t give it up…. but will try to only look at it once a week or so.

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      1. Facebook certainly has enabled the creation of some useful communities for like-minded people to find each other and support each other. If it had just stuck to that, it would have been so much better. And I have also become addicted to checking the news much more than I used to. It’s a combination of technology making it quite easy to do so, and the crazy times we live in. I’m hoping at least part of that will change with the next election.

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  15. This is the reason I stopped posting on Instagram regularly. With social media I’ve noticed it’s just a numbers game. People just follow for a follow back, like for a like back and comment for a comment back. I don’t want people to blindly like/follow/comment I would rather have a meaningful interaction with them.

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    1. I have noticed that too, and have worked on trying to provide more meaningful comments to a more select group of bloggers than just a quick “nice job” to a greater number of blog posts.

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      1. Yeah a lot of bloggers tend to leave generic comments but I definitely appreciate it when someone leaves a meaningful comment about what the post was about.

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      2. I feel the same way; but you are operating on a much, much bigger scale than I am. So I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to keep up with all the comments you receive, and the many blogs you likely follow.

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      3. Yeah it’s crazy difficult if I don’t schedule myself everything gets out of control so I try to plan everything out especially when I have school.

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  16. I doubt Mark Zuckerberg know I exist 😂

    Yeah, it’s depressing to feel like no one noticed you gone. It’s been playing in my mind to remove my account for a while but I’m keeping my Facebook because I still drop by once a week for 10mins, but mostly because it’s the only place I can keep up with my sisters 😀

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  17. I’m sorry that no one is trying to find your blog by other means. It shows how insular people are. When wordpress stopped automaticly posting to facebook,I shared my link briefly. Now I get about 10 readers from facebook per month, as it’s in my bio. I also get readers from LinkedIn, and twitter, or browser searches using my name or a topic. I’m glad that facebook isn’t real life, or we’d all be very lonely indeed.

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    1. oh well. I think the people that used to read it via Facebook were not that engaged anyway, compared to people like you on WordPress. And yes, I hope people have more going on than just Facebook friendships, but I understand how for many it can still be a key part of their social life.

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      1. For me, it’s staying in touch with former colleague friends who are now scattered across the globe, getting notifications for events, and some poetry opportunities. Oh, and I play solitaire if I feel stressed.

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  18. it’s the same way I went vegan. One day I was not a vegan, and the next day I was, and now it’s been 13 years. Does the Mrs. use other social media platforms, like Twitter or Pinterest?

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