4 Compelling Reasons To Quit Facebook

Facebook is becoming more and more like a bad relationship--and you need to get out while you can.

In December, Leah Ingram of New Hope, Pennsylvania, posted this message on her Facebook wall: “Facebook, you and your damn cookies: You are revealing to my family everything I've been buying online as presents! Curses, you grinch!”

Curses, indeed. As Facebook finds more ways to monetize the site, it is becoming more and more like a bad boyfriend: fun sometimes but increasingly self-serving, frustrating and untrustworthy.

So why do we keep using it? A study from Boston University found that the social network meets two primary human needs: the need to belong and the need for self-presentation.

But it can also wreak havoc. Here are four reasons why “unfriending” the social network might be the best thing you do in 2014:

1. You’ll regain some privacy.

Facebook’s privacy settings are controlled on an item-by-item basis. Cumbersome, the process puts you at risk of sharing something publicly you’d rather keep private--like where you live or visit--if you forget to check or uncheck a box. Facebook also has made it easier for people to find you. In the past, users had an option to keep their names hidden from searches, but that ability was removed in October.

Your personal information is also being used for profit. Facebook collects data about you and shares it with advertisers, including the amount of time your cursor hovers over an ad as well as your location. Facebook users Matthew Campbell from Arkansas and Michael Hurley from Oregon recently filed a class-action lawsuit against the company claiming that the social network mines users’ private messages and sells the information to advertisers.

Delete your Facebook account and you gain more control over what personal information is shared with the world.

2. You’ll feel better.

Connecting online with friends and family seems like a fun pastime that would enrich your life, but several studies report otherwise. Researchers at the University of Michigan found that the more time people spend on Facebook, the higher their chance of depression.

Another study, this one out of Utah Valley University, found that using Facebook can cause you to feel dissatisfied with your life. Researchers found “those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair.”

Leave Facebook and you won’t compare your life with a snapshot of someone else’s.

3. You’ll be more productive.

While Facebook starts out as a tool to keep in touch with friends and family, it can become a distraction and an easy way to procrastinate. In fact, researchers in Norway have indentified different levels of addiction in Facebook users.

According to Nielsen's annual Social Media report, the average American spends six and a half hours each month on social media, with Facebook being the most used network. And some of that time is during work hours; tech blogger Michael Fitzpatrick estimated that Facebook costs U.S. companies $28 billion in lost productivity each year.

Quit Facebook and you’ll have time to spend doing something else.

4. You’ll protect your career.

It can be easy to share things on Facebook--too easy. Feeling upset? Post your feelings and your friends are sure to cheer you up. The problem can come when your posts are seen by your employer. A DTE Energy customer service rep in Detroit learned this the hard way in November when she complained--rather explicitly--on Facebook about having to handle customer calls after a storm. She lost her job. Similar stories are not uncommon. A teacher in Georgia lost her job when a parent saw a photo of her on vacation in Europe holding a pint of beer and a glass of red wine, and a waitress in North Carolina lost her job after she complained about customers on Facebook.

Facebook can also affect future jobs. More than half of employers report checking an applicant’s social media presence before hiring. That means the photo of you during Spring Break may kill your chances of getting the interview.

Stay off Facebook and you might just climb the corporate ladder faster--or at least you won’t fall from grace.

Add New Comment

20 Comments

  • Dan Meyers

    Just get a fake FB account like 45% of people. This way you can see others, make comments and do a bunch of stuff without being known.

  • Dave Cowan

    Why are we so worried about what the NSA might do with our info. Just consider what Facebook and it's ilk does do.

  • Trae Zeeofor

    Not compelling enough.

    1) Re: You’ll regain some privacy Life is short, who cares?!

    2) Re: You’ll feel better The quality of one's Facebook experience depends on the quality of one's friends. It's a no brainer

    3) Re: You’ll be more productive We might as well stop watching TV or recreation generally.

    4) Re: You’ll protect your career You can never go go wrong being clean round the clock.

  • Completely agree. It's been 4 months since I cut the cord and ended my lifestyle as a power user. I used to make Facebook games for a living, and I probably spent between 5-8 hours a day on the site since about 2008 (including weekends and holidays).

    In the 4 months since I left I've written two short stories, started a blog, redesigned my portfolio and got a new job (not making FB games).

    I get texts from my friends and call my mom on the phone. I have lunch with my coworkers and don't use sarcasm. I actually ask them questions ... in real time ... and listen to their answers.

    It's actually been quite liberating.

  • Charles Ostman

    Hmmm . . . I can see it now. FB recovery programs, therapy protocols, maybe even a 12 step program, clinics opening up, entire new careers wrapped around "social media addiction syndrome" - SMAS - will emerge.

    Soon, there will be drugs developed by the big pharma-medical-health care conglomerates for SMAS treatment, Obamacare will be amended to provide coverage for SMAS therapy and drugs . . . the possibilities are endless!

  • Jonathan Miller

    I wouldn't have my job if it wasn't for Facebook..Someone on my friends list tipped me off to it and I got the job..(Oh by the way,I used Facebook to log in and make this comment)

  • Tialda Lublink

    As with anything, the medium is not the problem, it's how you use it. If you don't compare yourself to others, don't throw your emotions out uncontrollably and just do your work when you have to, basically taking responsibility for yourself and your actions, facebook is a great place to keep up to date with current affairs, connect with friends in your busy schedule and get inspired and build a professional network. I for one love, and usually feel inspired by, the Fast Company articles on my wall. ;)

  • Re Carlson

    I find it sadly ironic that I just had to use my Facebook account and grant Fast Company access to my profile to leave this comment.

  • Vicki Shead

    How about we all realize anything you put online, emails, texts, facebook, tweets it's all public. It can be shared, seen, and be there long after you are dead. People just need to edit themselves before they share.

  • My entire family is pretty much done with it! I know I message a couple of peers and that's it. Do not post anymore. And do not "like" anymore. Don't miss it at all. I think in the next few years FB will be a shadow of itself. Zuckerberg...sell your stock fast ;)

  • Sabrina Juarez Lee

    It wouldn't matter if you quit Facebook now because you can not actually delete your account, they just suspend it. People will still see everything you ever posted before you left. it's the Internet once it's out there it will walkways be out there. Besides the fact, that everything is connected to Facebook logins anyway... I. E. commenting on this post requires my Facebook login information.

  • Jonathan Miller

    Actually there is a way to delete your account..You just have to go digging for it..It's kind of buried

  • Correlation does not imply causation.... If you are careful none of the above should be an issue, The real benifit would be ditching the trivial drama and having authentic relationships with your friends.