I Deleted My Facebook Account and I Don’t Regret It

First things first, all those who got fresh friend requests from me on Facebook, I had not removed you from my Friend List. Actually I have deleted my original Facebook account and created a new one.

I was away from Facebook for almost a month. The ones who noticed my absence in that period thought I had deactivated my account as my MA exams were going on. But when I told them that I had, in fact, deleted my account, they were shocked. They literally called me crazy, stupid, and said I was out of mind… They couldn’t imagine how a person could delete his Facebook account, because deleting your account is like destroying your house — a house holding so many of your memories and possessions (an analogy a friend of mine quite agreed with).

So then why did I delete my account? Facebook does not delete your account immediately. It takes 14 days to process the request. During this period, you need to have Buddha-esqu control on your mind to not revert the decision, because all your “friends”, all your “memories”, your beloved “Wall” are just a login away. I won’t tell you the exact incident which triggered the decision but I will tell you the reasons which made me stay firm on it.

Facebook serves a functional purpose for me, as one more tool of communication in addition to many others. I am not for Facebook, Facebook is for me. Deleting the account was a symbolic act — an act to prove to myself that I was in control… That I could delete my account if I wished to (even if there was no special reason). Yes, I wanted to delete my data too but not because there was anything compromising there but because I am a minimalist. Also, I do not like attachment. I wanted to see if I could part with four years’ possessions — all the people I had befriended, all my posts, comments, pages I was managing, the groups I was part of, the notes I had written, photos, etc.

I do not like to keep things in my closet just so that when one day I am upset, I can take them out, look at them, relive the memories associated with them and feel better. No, that’s not me. I guess I will rather depend on my brain for that. I like to live with less, not more. Accumulation is not my virtue. I like to get rid of things which do not serve a purpose in the present. Also, I do not like to keep my past tied down to material objects. I would rather keep the memories alive in my head.

This is my philosophy of life and it stems from my belief that you just need four things to live a satisfactory life — food, shelter, clothes and freedom to pursue things you like. I know people who will strongly oppose this world view of not holding on to the past. Well, guys, I would like to hear your thoughts too.

[The] sense of an object as being attractive, unattractive, or neutral…feelings of pleasure, pain, or neutrality arise. Due to such feelings, attachment develops, this being the attachment of not wanting to separate from pleasure and the attachment of wanting to separate from suffering…

— Dalai Lama (1988)

16 thoughts on “I Deleted My Facebook Account and I Don’t Regret It

  1. So we are on the same page🙂 . I deleted my Facebook account 2 years ago and neither did I ever feel to create a new account . The reason why I deleted the account is similar to yours , I felt “I am being controlled by Facebook ” and was kind of becoming addicted to it . Hence I the decision to delete the account . And yes , I never turned back to Facebook since then (even in those 14 days🙂 ) .

      • There are two parts to it. First and foremost, you failed your addiction if you just came back and made a new account. So this is a publicity stunt. Doesn’t matter whether you did it willingly or otherwise.

        Second, all of this may be great for your life and your minimalist attitude. But not for your friends. Specifically me. I am not a minimalist, I horde things by the dozen in the name of memories. Because that’s how I associate people with phases of my life, through my memories and those “things” act as tokens. You may not be high on symbolism, but I am.

        It has nothing to do with internet and technology, I know I would be addicted to calling up people if this were two decades back or writing letters if it were two more before that. AND I would save those letters and conversations in small notes just like I save bus tickets now. The question is this, if my house were burning down, would i save those things? Hell NO! But if I am breaking down and I need a lift-up, would I remove that box from the attic? I think you know the answer.

        In short, by deleting your account, you have denied me of everything that I have shared with you in the last four years. It may mean nothing to you and you may laugh at what I have to say because it is on my computer and not a physical thing, but in a life where I am dependent majorly on everything online for my job, life and communication, you deleting your account was a loss to me. I didn’t like it.

        • I will not argue with your second point because you are quite right at your place. About the first point, why do you think I was trying to fight “addiction”? I am quite surprised you came to that conclusion. Making the new account was the plan from the start. I would have actually done it earlier if Facebook had allowed me to. And by the way this is the third or fourth time you are accusing me of staging a publicity stunt. Well, I do not want to react to that but it hurts.

          • Darn! Didn’t intend it that way. Sorry. If it makes you feel any better, I thrive on publicity and do such absurd stuff all the time.

            You said you wanted to prove that you’re the master and that Facebook doesn’t have a hold over you etc., that is addiction, right? You were proving to yourself that you’re in control, that is actually determining if you are or are not addicted. And deleting your account has been an option always, it’s nothing new. Your talk of taking control and being a master etc. leads to the logical assumption that you didn’t want to be an addict/prove to yourself you’re not one. That’s how I arrived there and not assumed.

            • No no no. I did not mean that at all. I do not consider Facebook an addiction at all. I have never thought of any new technology as an addiction, ever. What I meant by being in control was — if I could let go of all those things I had collected over the period of more than four years. Saying to yourself that you are a minimalist is one thing but practising it in reality is another.

          • I know the feeling of being off Facebook, I’ve been off it regularly, at least twice a year for months at a time with little or no activity. But deactivating is better than deleting, that’s all I am trying to say. Deleting an account is a little too extreme for me.

  2. “I do not like to keep things in my closet just so that when one day I am upset, I can take them out, look at them, relive the memories associated with them and feel better.” Like Utkarsha here, i collect things, but I don’t pull them out when I need a lift up.

    Besides, this whole thing about Facebook is a little too much for everyone, I believe. Having said that, I love interacting with the Bookhads on Facebook mostly because we don’t meet that often. I can’t imagine how I would meet so many wonderful people just like that in real life.

    So, I don’t think it’s about deleting an account to feel in control. Control your mind. Minimize your use. Use it only when you want and fight off the urge to waste time on it. That’s a better solution.

    • You seemed to have missed the point. I didn’t delete my account because I was “wasting” time on Facebook. No. I don’t even want to minimize the time I spend on Facebook. I am not Sherry Turkle. I don’t belong to the “let’s disconnect” club. I disdain the term “virtual life” in opposition to “real life” too. I consider it a fallacy. Both are intertwined. What you do using the technology of internet is as real as whatever else you do using any other means. It’s just that this technology is new and we have not been able to grasp or understand it fully yet.

      It’s just that I felt I should delete my account. But just the thought of deleting your account seems like an extreme step. And I wanted to take that extreme step mainly because I wanted to delete my data. Facebook does not allow you to delete all your data at one go. You have to delete each of your “activity” individually. I do not like it. I hate Facebook for not providing that functionality. For me Facebook is what I do on the platform “right now”, not what I have done in the past (I like Twitter for this one reason).

      • You said, and I quote, “Facebook serves a functional purpose for me, as one more tool of communication in addition to many others. I am not for Facebook, Facebook is for me. Deleting the account was a symbolic act — an act to prove to myself that I was in control…”

        • Well, I guess my choice of words was wrong. I wanted to say something else, and something completely different was conveyed. See, when I first thought of deleting my account, it wasn’t an easy decision. You can imagine why. My sole purpose in deleting the account was to delete the data that Facebook had archived — mainly my “likes” and “comments”, etc. But along with that I was gonna lose so much more. This is the control that I am talking about. See, how much time I spend on Facebook is my function, and I am totally in control of that. But the way Facebook treats my data (eg selling it to advertisers) or the options it gives me to manage the data is Facebook’s function. I am talking about that here. I am talking about that control. And this is true of all social media sites, not just Facebook. One major exception is Snapchat which is not really a social media site but still a major communication tool. I will prefer a platform akin to Snapchat more than one the major social media sites follow currently.

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