Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook might have seen a post I recently put up declaring that my time with "The Book" is coming to an end--and some of you probably scoffed and thought--"Yeah right! No one can get off Facebook in 2014--it's the 10 year anniversary PLUS, it's totally addictive and how we all stay in touch?!"
I'm here to say it--I'm quitting Facebook.
I plan to do this over a 2 month window--tomorrow my personal account will be deactivated and I plan to deactivate my business account on May 1.
This is not a decision I made easily, but it is something that I feel I must do in order to shift up the focus of where I want Emily Alt Photography to go in 2014 and also where I want Emily Alt, the human, to be in 2014.
I think it's super important to maintain a fresh and unique presence in my work--I'm always changing things up, and today is no exception. I have some pretty significant changes coming to my photography business in the next few months that I think are going to rock both my socks as well as your socks, which I am super excited to reveal once we are out of the planning stages, but until then, one of the first steps in changing focus is to leave Facebook.
A little history--About 3 years ago I gave up Facebook--I quit cold turkey and deactivated my account for 18 months.
It was amazing.
I know you might think that is a hyperbolic word to use to describe the process of moving off of FB, but really, it was. Not only did I have more time throughout the day and week, but I also had a significant amount of less stress. No longer was I overwhelmed with stories about "friends" whom I hadn't spoken to in 15 years and I wasn't barraged with baby pictures or inane invitations to play equally inane games. It was great. I also found myself developing stronger friendships and relationships with the people who were in my life, now, not those who might have been in my life 10 years ago--I was able to focus on the here and now and the present and I wasn't constantly dwelling on how successful a classmate was in his career or worrying about how seemingly everyone in my graduating class has multiple kids already and I just have dogs. It was wonderful and I absolutely loved not having to worry about clicking on that little blue icon on my computer or my phone to find out the latest happenings.
However, when I started my business, I felt obligated to start a Facebook account . The account for a business needs to be linked through a personal account and, seeing as I was building my client base, it only made sense to reactivate my personal account with the hopes that many of my already Facebook friends would end up following my page--sort of a no-brainer. And it worked really well.
But I have come to decide that I no longer need Facebook. I have a fantastic client base that follows my blog and my Instagram and I'm pulling almost all new clients from sites like A Practical Wedding and Offbeat Bride. Sure, I might miss a few new clients via Facebook, but hopefully it will be a good move.
Also, just being honest, I really, really, really hate Facebook.
I do. I said it. I absolutely LOATHE it. Scrolling through the news feed at times makes me feel ill. Again, not hyperbole. Truth, in all its naked and potentially offensive honesty.
I don't want to be on Facebook. I'm sure this might sound bitchy, but it's not intended to--I just want to have a simpler life--a life surrounded by the people whom I actually interact with authentically and honestly. Facebook creates this imaginary world of being overly close to people whom you haven't seen or talked to in years--simply because you know what they ate for breakfast or how they voted in the primaries.
This year has been a big learning curve for me on a variety of levels, but one of the most important things I've learned is the value of real and honest and true friends--friends who support you no matter what and are there for you whenever you need them. I am truly lucky to have those folks in my life--and I want to work on enriching those relationships even further, rather than clammoring to find out what happened to a guy I migth have gone to elementary school with in 1994. I want to surround myself with the people in it who I see and interact with on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Removing myself from Facebook is a way to force myself to check in and unplug--to connect with my real life, away from the constant computer screen.
Of course, I'm a little nervous about this--I mean, I will lose touch with some folks whom I do only interact with through Facebook. I've got loads of friends who post awesome pictures of their lives and adventures and such--I'll miss seeing those, of course. I won't have the privilege of seeing photos of my adorable nieces that my brother and sister-in-law post, or the awesome photos of friends who are expanding their families with new babies and little ones. I won't be able to wish folks happy birthday. I'll probably miss a few invitations to parties or get togethers (East Grand Rapids 15 year reunion?). Don't get me wrong--Facebook makes sense for a lot of reasons and for a lot of people--it's a great way to keep in touch with family and friends who live across the country and for many people, it's a great, great tool. But for me, it no longer makes sense.
At the end of the day, I think this is the right choice and I am very glad to be bidding farewell to the Book. This isn't to say I'm leaving social media--no way. I am a super active Instagrammer, I pin at least 30 pins a week and I, obviously, post to this blog as much as possible. I'm still going to be out there in the cyber world, just not on the Mark Zuckerberg end of things.
Perhaps you might want to get off Facebook too? Anyone care to join me? Shameless self-promotion, if you care to keep track of me in a slightly less Facebook oriented way, you can either subscribe to this blog by clicking the "Subscribe" link to the right or just follow me on Instagram where I am much more active anyway. Would love to hear all your thoughts on Facebook too, so feel free to leave a comment!