Some would say I’m a bad mom. I tell hundreds of total strangers my kids’ business every day on Facebook. I’ve amassed 1,549 “friends” on the addictive online gossip mill, and I’ve never met or talked to most of them. These so-called “friends” of mine could probably tell you what my kids eat on most days, how they’re doing in school and what they love and loathe.
Before my babies were big and bold enough to articulate their embarrassment about it, sharing the days of our lives on Facebook used to feel good. Now that they’re older, more aware and pissed at me, it feels creepy and gratuitous. To the point where I probably have to -- gasp! -- ax my Facebook account.
Every time I talk about or post pics of my children -- cannonballing into our pool, curled up on the couch or even waking up from surgery -- I’m creating an everlasting, privacy-thrashing ripple about their personal lives that Facebook (and to a larger extent, the Internet) won’t forget. Probably ever.
Willingly violating my kids’ privacy almost compulsively whenever something, anything happens, is only one of the reasons I’m considering ditching Facebook for good. But there are plenty more reasons to quit Facebook, and you should give them some serious thought, too. Here they are:
1. Facebook makes you feel like your life sucks. Ever heard of Facebook-induced FOMO? People generally post only the happy highlight reel of their lives on the narcissistic, 1.28 billion member social media sharefest. They tend not to gush about the darker, less jealousy-inspiring moments. No one likes a Debbie Downer on social media. The outcome: People who cruise Facebook too much often think that people in their news feed are happier, more successful and better than they are, which then causes them to be, yup, unhappy, at least according to this study and several others. Kill Facebook and get off the crazy train.
2. Mom said not to talk to strangers. But Facebook's “friend suggestions” algorithm wants you to be friends with them anyway. And not with just a few. In this case, the more isn’t always the merrier. Every day Facebook suggests I cozy up to people I’ve never heard of, many of whom are “friends” of my Facebook “friends,” along with a few blasts from my past who I’d like to forget. Not to mention my cousin who passed away two years ago. I think I’m at peace with his passing too young, right up until Facebook reminds me that I haven’t, again and again. No thanks, pushy algorithm.
3. Your boss is watching. By now you should know that what you brag about on Facebook could cost you your job (and future jobs). Just ask the New England Patriots cheerleader who was canned for posting an offensive pic of herself cozied up to a passed out dude (littered in swastikas and genitalia scrawled on his body in permanent marker). Or teachers fired for posting pics of themselves drinking alcohol or for refusing to unfriend students. Remember, even if you tweak your privacy settings to avoid the ax, one of your “friends” could still put a bug in your boss’s ear about your activity on Facebook, even if you’re not nearly as badly behaved online as the people I mentioned.
4. Your “friends” don’t care about every little thing you do. This might sound harsh, but I think we can agree that not everyone on your “friend” list is as over the moon as you are that your toddler is finally pooping on the potty. It's ok not to share everything, especially the gag-worthy trials and tribulations of potty training. Parents, please spare us the sordid details and stop embarrassing your kids. Mother, father or not, posting the trivial trappings of your every waking hour only makes you look like a self-centered egomaniac. Trust me, I should know, even if I didn’t post a single potty-related pic of my three kids, who are thankfully long out of diapers.
5. You'll stop slacking off at work. Well, at least a bit. It’s no secret that Facebook is a massive time suck, one that can majorly undermine your productivity, especially at work. Snooping on others’ business and spilling your gut about yours on Facebook while you’re on the clock reportedly puts U.S. companies out some $28 billion in productivity per year. Stop Facebooking already and get back to work.
6. Getting called out for Facebook oversharing in public. You know the damning deal. You post a mushy, self-pitying confession admitting that you forgot your wedding anniversary… again. Or forgot to pick up your friend’s kid after school (let’s not talk about it, ok). Then, when you’re at the grocery store checkout, your neighbor spots you and razzes you about your shortcomings shares. Why shouldn’t he? You put your fail out there on Facebook for all to see. If you bail from Facebook, never again. Hopefully said neighbor isn’t following you on Twitter or Instagram, too.