I deleted Facebook and never looked back

By Hong Minh   February 22, 2022 | 05:34 pm PT
I deleted Facebook and never looked back
The Facebook logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this picture illustration taken December 2, 2019. Photo by Reuters/Johanna Geron/Illustration
Only by spending time away from the screen do we realize how much we have been missing out on life.

I remember when we just got the Internet at home. I asked my cousin who worked far away for his email address and we exchanged messages every week, talking about work and health and life.

When I grew a bit older, Yahoo Messenger came. I no longer needed to wait for mails, but instead I could sit in front of a screen and type the words out in real time. The trendy ice-breaker question then was "what's your Yahoo nickname?"

Then there was the blogging phase, when everyone sought to create their first online identities. I also made a little page of my own, sharing personal thoughts of the day and other stories about life, like diary entries.

When Facebook arrived, no one realized at first it heralded an era of rapid technological advance. Social media grew with the development of smartphones and phone cameras, making sharing personal images and videos on the Internet easier than ever. All of a sudden everyone you ever knew was just a friend request away.

I will at least give Facebook the credit for the ability to connect communities even continents apart. Communication and information exchange have always been a crucial part of human civilization, and Facebook has made it effortless.

But I'm here to talk about how Facebook has changed things for the worse.

People always value their privacy, but not when it comes to social media. Picture profiles, personal stories, even the most intimate aspects of our lives... all laid out for the public to see and scrutinize on our own volition.

Facebook, or what is now known as Meta, generates most of its revenue through ads. Ads feed on users' data to thrive, and we've given them plenty.

It has happened countless times: I would tell my friends about something I want to buy, only for those products to show up on my feed seconds later.

And while users might be the lifeblood of the Facebook economy, never delude yourself that the social media giant cares about you. I've seen so many people lose their Facebook account and request it back but to no avail.

Facebook is also a wonderful place to constantly compare ourselves and see our self-esteem get squashed.

New cars and vacation homes are fine, but not when it becomes a competition to see who has the shiniest plate or the best swimming pool. Facebook makes us put the least flattering parts of ourselves on a scale against picture-perfect lives, and it has never done our mental health any good.

But above all, Facebook eats up too much of our time; time that could have been spent on more worthwhile things. I was shocked to find out that I spent 4.5 hours in a single week scrolling through Facebook. It is sad to see how screen time has replaced such a large part of our life.

And so I deleted my Facebook account. I simply moved to a different chat application to stay in touch with people.

I have never looked back.

I began to see life in new light.

I spent more time with my family and for myself. I started to read and paint and, to be honest, sleep. After breaking up with Facebook, I was able to sleep through the night again, no longer springing up from bed in the wee hours.

Facebook and social media in general are on the decline, just as happened to blogging back in the day, though they will never completely go away so long as we have a need to connect and communicate. But it is time for us to look to other avenues for satisfaction in life.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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