I Gave Up Facebook for a Week and Didn’t Miss It

Last Monday I posted why I had decided to give up Facebook for a week. In the comments Root Simple reader Margaret left a link to a blog post by Paul Kingsnorth that noted the irrelevance and distraction of social media,

When I look around at the people I regard as great contemporary writers, I see that ninety percent of them do not have social media accounts. Thinking about this makes me realise how disappointed I would be if any of them did. If Wendell Berry started tweeting links, or Mary Oliver began sharing petitions on Facebook or Cormac McCarthy began posting pictures of his breakfast, I think my world would end.

I didn’t miss Facebook. I was relieved not to have to face the ranting and click bait. So will I continue to use Facebook? For now, I think, yes. But:

  • I’m going to set a time limit. No more than a half hour of social media a day.
  • If you want to keep up with what Kelly and I are doing the party will be on Root Simple not Facebook. I’m going to use Facebook mostly to send people to this blog.
  • Call it passive aggressive, but I’m going to unfollow “friends” who post nothing but divisive click bait.
  • I may unplug on Sundays entirely. I’ve got some dense books to read.

I want to give the last word to Root Simple reader Federico, who uses Facebook to post pictures of his amazing sketchbook (I’d miss seeing those images if I deleted my account). Federico suggested some rules for using social media based on Michael Pollan’s food rules: “Post positive things. Mostly yours. Not too much.”

Leave a comment


  1. All I use the thing for is Messenger, and that has its own app and website. For social, I prefer the quality of my Google+, Medium, Instagram, RSS, and Twitter feeds.

  2. I am unfollowing a lot of people, mainly my friends who only repost stuff. I can still visit their pages if I get the urge to know what they are up to. I joined originally to keep up with the younger gen of my own family who never reply to emails. Some of them have de-camped to Twitter (never, I’m just not up to it) or Instagram (which I actually find fun).

    I like your friend’s manifesto, especially the “your own things” part. NO ONE on FB is going to influence my political leanings or make me more sympathetic to a cause by posting something soneone else created or wrote.

  3. Thank you Erik!

    I love the idea of unplugging on Sundays. Occasionally I do a sort of “media fast” when I feel overwhelmed but I think I could benefit from a regular day. I’ll try your suggestion.

  4. Glad to know that the Root Simple blog is where the party will be now. I don’t even look at FB everyday. It’s a Rabbit Hole I don’t want to drop into. Just use it to check up on my FB friends. Actually I am a lousy FBer because I can’t be bothered posting everything I am doing/seeing/eating/thinking. I’d rather spend my extra time reading. So I guess I am not very interesting. I prefer face to face friends.

  5. I like that manifesto quote, too–it’s worth applying in many ways. And I really do enjoy reading your blog; thanks for being an inspiration!

  6. For the exception that proves the rule: see Sherman Alexie’s Twitter feed.

    I think Sunday unplugging would be even bette if Facebook just shut down on Sundays.

  7. You say you’d “miss seeing those images if I deleted my account”
    Then why didn’t you link to one of the other ways Federico suggests twitter, tumblr, etc?

    • A good point. I need to also look at the way I use Twitter and other social media services. Federico sets a good example to emulate.

  8. I have never been on or to Facebook. I have never been on or to Twitter. Don’t own a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. So in reality, I have no idea what you will miss. I only go online in the morning – with my cup of coffee – then that’s it. I use the Internet as I used to treat the newspaper. I read my favorite columnists, scan the news headlines, maybe look at the want ads. I’m “retired”, but how would anything get done if I sat on my butt for hours on end?

  9. So glad you enjoyed the link. I joined Facebook, like so many others, to keep up with kids pictures. I look at it now maybe once a day so miss a lot. Never had Twitter and now I’ve decided to give up my smart phone as well. I find too much time online is having a negative effect on my attention span and cuts into my reading time. I know you read John Michael Greer’s blog and he recently had a couple of blog posts regarding how we choose and use technology.

  10. I had a Facebook account for one week, so that I could keep up with a friend’s page where she was posting updates on her health issues. When I signed up, I used an email address that was separate from my usual address. Somehow, though, Facebook was getting into my usual email address and suggesting that I contact people in my address book. That was creepy and unsettling. Then, my usual email address (the one I did not use when signing up for Facebook) was hacked. My ISP told me that this is a frequent problem with Facebook. The person at the ISP told me how to end my Facebook account. I will never, ever, have anything to do with Facebook or anything similar.

  11. Hi, Faithful lurker here. I myself deactivated my Facebook account in August, and with every single day that has gone by I am ever happier that I did so. As an author, yes, I did find it helpful for getting visibility for my books, podcasts, workshops and events. But for me, the price– the awful drag on my attention– was not worth it. As for real friends and family with whom I want to keep in touch, there is always email, mail, the telephone, Skype, and, yes, ye olde meatspace. As for visibility for my work, I figure that any fans of my work, legion or scarce as they may be, can easily google up my webpage, podcasts, and, should they feel so moved to do so, sign up for my newsletter. “Sharecropping” on the FB platform was not the best move for me. I’m not saying that is the case for everyone, but certainly, it is for me. I love your blog and podcasts, and I certainly do not need Facebook to help me find them. Thank you for your good work and good wishes to you both.

    PS My blog post “Adios Facebook! The Six Reasons Why I Deactivated My Account” is here:

    After four months, I stand by every word of it.

  12. I felt like I should chime in too, since I didn’t add to the post.

    I avoided FB until last year, when I finally broke down and signed up just so I could see pics of people’s kids. I wanted to stay in better touch with cousins & college friends & other people who one can easily lose track of. The irony is that FB won’t show me those posts–it buries them somewhere. All I get to see on my feed is whatever the latest wave of political crap or social outrage is filling the InterTubes.

    As a result, I don’t open it, and I don’t miss it, and I don’t even think about it. I should close the acct., though, because I have had people try to use it as a communication device, thinking that I would see their message and answer them in some timely fashion. Ha! (…and if you’ve messaged me via FB, or asked me to friend you, apologies! Send email!)

    • One avenue is to deactivate rather than delete one’s FB account. This way, as I understand it, people who try to message you on FB cannot– they will see that your account is no longer active. Furthermore, if one’s FB account is deactivated (as opposed to deleted), then if for some good reason, one wanted to log back on and reactivate, apparently FB makes that very, VERY, oh…. laughably… easy.

  13. I stopped using social media during my time in China and happy about it. Visiting 18 days, getting around the Great Fire Wall was a pain in the ass, even with VPN (slows feed). Early during the visit, I would hike up to a co-working space in Shanghai, buy coffee and use their wifi. As I plop down to surf FB, among the other faces of expats & Chinese with their laptops, everyone is typing, researching info or talking in groups, absent on many screens, branded blue FB design. I’m in China for a limited amount of time, FB would suck it up. Besides the info on FB had no relevance to China. This reacquainted me to speaking Chinese and starting conversations with strangers / people of uncommon backgrounds. Forced to kick FB to the curb, I’m satisfied and content unplugging from social media.

    Facebook isn’t completely useless, great for logging in to sites & apps.

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