Can I even call you a friend after what I did today? Many people will think that what I did was completely unforgivable. And I know when people have done this same incomprehensible thing in the past, they literally became invisible to me, and our relationship died.
Okay, here it is. Confession time. Today I deactivated my personal Facebook account. I know, it’s so terrible! I’ll give you a few seconds to gasp, faint, and convulse from this awful news… Okay, time’s up. Let’s keep talking about this. We need to talk about this. Look at me when I’m talking to you, dammit.
I’ve become one those self-righteous people who think they can survive in a world without instant access to people’s thoughts, opinions, and soapboxes (oops, my judginess is showing). And now I don’t even show up on your friends list on Facebook because I’ve had it with social media. I freakin’ hate Facebook, and… and… and… I freakin’ love it. Oh God what have I done? What have I done! My whole world is falling apart, and I just don’t know what to do with myself!
Crap! Now I need a few seconds to recover (breathe, Lena, breathe)…
So I literally stopped writing to go surf Instagram. It’s no Facebook, but it’s a good temporary fix to help me get past this addiction. If Facebook was Guinness, then Instagram is like Boddington’s. If you know your stouts, then you know what I’m talking about. A Boddington is no Guinness, and so help me if you try to convince me that your favorite craft brew stout comes close to a Gunness, I will unfriend you in real life.
While I work on getting my withdrawal rage under control, let’s take a deep dive into why I decided to disappear from Facebook.
// DO I EVEN EXIST WITHOUT FACEBOOK?
If I’m not on Facebook, do I even exist? Okay, I know you probably think I’m trying to be funny with that question, but it’s totally legit. I’ve really been wondering this for months (and yes, it’s taken me months to finally hit the “deactivate” button, my close friends will attest to this).
I asked myself questions like: Would I feel more love, confidence, and freedom if I stepped away from Facebook? What would happen to my life experience if I closed my account? How would my personal and professional life be affected? Why are raspberries fuzzy, and are they feminists because they don’t shave or wax before we eat them?
But I want to know what life tastes like without the adrenaline surge that comes with that delicious notification alert. Don’t get me started on that wonderful badge of numbers that appears on my phone app. Oh how I will miss the pings and the pokes!
Who am I without my daily dose of likes, comments, and shares? Who am I without my very own soapbox to preach and protest? Who am I if I can’t prove to my 627 Facebook friends that I care about social justice and political dissonance? Who am I if I can’t check in and tag people at Disneyland?
Who am I if I am not being validated by others?
// THE GOAL BEHIND THIS SELF-IMPOSED TORTURE
There’s always purpose behind every crazy thing I do, and so I assure you there’s a goal that I would like to achieve with this experiment.
I want to see if I can succeed at life without relying heavily on social media (and I may accidentally use Facebook and social media interchangeably here, but the truth is I’m still on Twitter, Instagram, and my Facebook fan page, but where I spend the most time, and invest the most in emotionally is my personal Facebook page, so that’s the biggest slice of my social media pie, hold the whip).
I will not access my personal Facebook page for the next 90 days. It’s been deactivated as of today. No one can message me. No one can tag me. No one can invite me to another super annoying pyramid scheme party.
Most importantly, no will know what I’m really up to unless they actually reach out to me the old fashioned way via email or text (haha, remember when the old fashioned way used to be phone or snail mail), and vice versa.
My social life experienced significant momentum through the use of Facebook events, when people would invite me to their parties, gatherings, and shows. It facilitated and accelerated my networking skills with real people. And a connection with real people is what most humans crave and need to survive.
I want to know if I can find another way to connect and network with friends and colleagues without relying so heavily on an app that unconsciously controls every aspect of our lives (omg this makes me sound like a paranoid person).
Basically, I want to challenge myself to go out into the world, step outside of my comfort zone, and force myself to like, comment, and share in real world face-to-face discussions. I want dialogue. I want depth. I want Drake.
// THE COMEDIAN WHO HAD NO FACEBOOK
Part of me feels like this is career suicide. How can I be working towards a career in comedy and television if I have no connection with my network on my personal Facebook page?
Well like I said earlier, I still have my Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook Fan Page still up (even though I just want to shut those down too, because I literally gross myself out with my need for validation from any social media outlet). So, I’ve still marked my territory as the weirdo that no one really gives a flying foot about (say that last part like you were Canadian, wait is that racist?).
With that said, another aspect of my goal with this self-induced pain of a project is to see whether or not I can create the same level of connection, community, and opportunity without relying on social media. Can I land a job as a writer, actor, director, or producer without spending hours on social media trying to fake it until I make it? Can I do it all based solely on my talent, work ethic, and word of mouth referral?
I envy Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, not for their comedic and creative talent, but for their refusal to have any social media presence and still be incredibly successful in life and work. They are among hundreds of well know celebrities, thought leaders, and muggles who live a lovely fulfilling life (or so it seems) without snapping and sharing it to the masses. They make it work, so why can’t I?
90 days start today, and if I feel another wave of confidence hit me, I may just shut down my other social media accounts. But the thought of it makes my heart race, my hands shake, and my eye twitch (the right one).
So, I’ll still be annoying AF when you catch me online, and you’ll still have a handful of reasons to roll your eyes at me and maybe unfollow me. Ooh yeah, unfollow me please. It’ll make this experience a whole lot easier if you break up with me first (I’m kidding, obvi, please like me, forever and ever and ever and ever and ever, like me dammit, like me!).
// MORAL OF THE STORY
Think about this: Do you exist without social media? I think you’ll find the moral of the story hiding in there somewhere. Can you let me know when you find it? I’m still trying to figure it out myself. Blurg.
May the cackle be with you…
PS: Did you know you can access the Mirror Mirror archives by clicking here? You’re welcome!
// NOW IT’S YOUR TURN TO DISH
Let me know what you thought about this week’s Mirror Mirror. What kind of thoughts, opinions or confusion did it create for you? If you’d like to spark up a discussion, just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, say what you need to say, and let’s make it happen. I’d love to hear from you!
// SEEKING CONSTANT APPROVAL
Even though I hate social media, I’m constantly sucked into it for narcissistic relief, so let’s connect on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. That way, I can talk about myself, and you can like, follow, and heart. I may or may not reciprocate, depending on how self-absorbed I’m feeling on any given day.
// SOME WORDS ABOUT ME
I’m a comedy writer, self-help author, and podcast host. As a Second City trained comedian I love to write jokes, perform improv, and produce shows. With my books on Amazon, I empower readers everywhere to access their inner magic. You can also find me interviewing fellow authors from all over the world with my She Wrote A Book podcast. And I’ve been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX. My obsessions include karaoke, my furbaby, and everything Disney.
// LEGAL STUFF
I may get commissions for purchases made through some of the links included in this email or on my website. The suits told me I had to let you know about this so you don’t throw a tantrum about it later.