Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Facebook-free: Liz Pelton

Facebook-free Project - Liz Pelton

My recent reconnection with Emily quickly turned into another beautiful high school reconnection with Liz Pelton—who also happens to be Facebook-free. Liz left Facebook a year before I did, meaning she's been facebookless for three years, and I'm really excited to add her perspective to this project! Take it away, Liz:

The basics:

Age: 27

Location: Madison, WI

Interests: Traveling, yoga, cooking, weaving, reading, writing, hiking with my absurdly adorable beagle Ramona

Length of time with Facebook account: 7 years

Amount of time since leaving Facebook: Almost 3 years

Walk us through your decision to leave. Was it planned? Spur of the moment? 

I started to notice that I dreaded logging on to Facebook, but I felt compelled to check it every couple of days. I felt like I had to "like" certain posts, otherwise I would look like a bad friend. I was overwhelmed by the amount of event invitations I got—not in an I'm-so-popular way, but let's-invite-the-masses way. I'd be invited to things I had zero interest in, but I still felt bad clicking "decline." A lot of it came down to worrying that I was hurting other people's feelings with my clicks or lack of clicks. So I decided to just drop off the radar one day and delete my account.

Main reason for leaving (in one sentence): 

I wanted to alleviate some social guilt.

Tell us what it's been like since leaving.

I love not having Facebook. I feel like I have more privacy which is something I really value. I have less people trying to claim my time. I've also found that my interactions with people changed. Conversations are more interesting when people don't assume they already know everything that's going on in your life based off what they saw online.

What other social media do you still use, and what have you left? 

I got my first smartphone last year (slightly behind the times on that one) and I got an Instagram account. I like sharing photos and getting a glimpse into my friends' lives. I also learned to weave this year and found a community of textile artists that I really enjoy following.

How do you socialize/keep in contact with people now? 

Email, text, and writing postcards and letters. My sister, aunt, and a good friend all live on the west coast and I write to them frequently. There's a thoughtfulness and intention to writing and mailing letters that Facebooking could never achieve. I always feel a serge of joy when I come home and find a letter from a friend in the mailbox. The polar opposite of what I felt with interactions on Facebook. The main difference in keeping in contact with people post-Facebook is that I use email more to schedule things.

What would you say to someone who's considering leaving Facebook? 

Don't overthink it. Just try it and see if it works for you.

Facebook has changed a lot since it was first released. Do you have any predictions about what it'll become in the future?

I'm guessing it will fade out eventually like all things Internet.

Yeah, I think it could fade out, too. (I wonder what will replace it...) Thank you, Liz—it was a pleasure to have you here!

Have you (or has someone you know) left Facebook? I'd love to feature you (or them) here! Please get in touch with me: @rebewithaclause or rebewithaclause [at] gmail [dot] com.
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