April 27. 2013 11:03PM

Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Why I Quit Facebook


Three months ago, I made a decision that drastically changed things in my personal and professional life. I quit Facebook. Since I shut my Facebook account down, I've had a lot of friends and colleagues ask me why I defriended them. I had to explain that I didn't delete them as a friend; I deleted my entire Facebook account.

I tend to be a late adopter when it comes to the latest social media tools. I was late to the world of Facebook and LinkedIn, and although I have a Twitter account, I have never posted anything. I suppose some may call me a dinosaur, but I have my reasons.

Facebook and other social media tools have a lot of benefits. LinkedIn is probably one of the most powerful tools for sales professionals and others in the business world. It allows you to identify business contacts, see their profiles and get introduced to new people and companies. I still have my LinkedIn account and plan on keeping it. And the main reason is that it's a professional networking tool. People keep it focused strictly on business, and that's what it's designed for.

But Facebook is another story. While salespeople and businesses benefit from exposure on Facebook, I just got tired of it. First and foremost, I rarely posted status updates. I wasn't the most active Facebook user. However, I did frequently scroll through the news feed to see what other people were up to. I enjoyed seeing new things happening in people's lives, especially those that I don't stay in touch with on a regular basis. It's a great way to stay connected.

I also enjoyed staying in touch with my large, extended family. I have family all over the world, and it can be challenging to stay close with them. Facebook was a great way to stay connected through messages, pictures and simply seeing what people were up to.

But I also realized that a lot of the people I was connected to on Facebook were people that I don't talk to regularly for a reason. While they are acquaintances, they really aren't true friends. But yet here I was, seeing their status updates, pictures and day-to-day life.

I realized it was really a complete waste of my time. I found myself checking Facebook often, and it was really providing no value to my personal or professional life. I got tired of reading about people complaining and spreading negativity. And what put me over the edge was when I read a status update from someone that was nothing but lyrics from a rap song.

I realized the time I was spending on Facebook was time I was wasting. And it truly was. At that point, I made the decision to quit Facebook.

Sure, I'm not as connected with people as I was prior to deleting my Facebook account. I don't get to see updates from my friends and family. But I am spending my time and energy on other things and not letting useless chatter take away the most precious and valuable asset we all have: time.

I still stay in touch with people. There are other tools - email, phones and texts - that accomplish the same thing. But the difference is that I get to choose whom I communicate with and when. I don't have useless noise flooding my computer or iPhone.

I've also found it interesting that many people feel the same way. While completely stopping Facebook is extreme, when I tell people I did it, they often tell me they have considered doing the same. And I haven't regretted it once.

Christopher Thompson (cthompson@catch22solutions.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.