I don’t have Facebook and I couldn’t care less

Shock, I’m alive and well

Is “I don’t have Facebook” the new vegan, the new black, the new hipster? Is it just a trendy phase to not have social media, even in this constantly changing online age?

Actually, no. As someone who doesn’t have Facebook, it is not a short-lived stage, and it’s also not that big of a deal – at least to me it’s not.

In 7th grade when all of my friends were creating their online personas, I never had any desire to join in. I never had a good reason why, I just knew it wasn’t for me. I had recently moved to Illinois from North Carolina, and I was trying to meet people IRL… I also had a resistance to even getting Webkinz. Clearly I had commitment issues with online platforms.

Just being happy because I don't need your online crap

Just being happy because I don’t need your online crap

I successfully survived the majority of high school without any social media. When I applied to the College of Media at the University of Illinois, choosing my entrance essay topic was not difficult – I discussed entering the media field without having any social media. But then I started college and jumped on the bandwagon for everything. Freshman year I created Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. It was all so much easier to stay in touch with people from home, and also helped me stay in the loop of people I was constantly meeting at school.

At the start of my sophomore year of college, I pulled the trigger and made a Facebook profile. I still don’t know why this was the biggest leap for me, maybe part of my identity had been having no Facebook for so long? The response from people that knew me was outrageous, and helped confirm that theory: “Are you even Jillian anymore?”, “What has the world come to now that Jillian made a Facebook?”

Seriously? People that I hadn’t talked to since high school were suddenly reaching out to express their shock on my newly made online wall. I didn’t know it was that big of a deal. I also instantly regretted it.

The fact it tracked who was online at what times, people could see I was online and could start chatting with me freaked me out. I had no desire to upload albums of photos, and to post statuses of what I was thinking – as if people still do that.

Do they? It was all so overwhelming.

I deactivated Facebook after only having it about 9 months. I quit Twitter after I was hacked by someone in Saudi Arabia, and received a warning email saying that my language preference had been set to Arabic – so bye!

Buh bye

Buh bye

I deleted Snapchat because in preparation for going abroad, I didn’t want to suck data, and I wanted to challenge myself to stay in the moment without attempting to curate the perfect snap story.

People think I am anti-social media, and that I resist the evolution of the online world. Truly, I suffer from comparison anxiety, and could not stand how I felt when I was in bed, looking at Snapschats and Facebook posts of people going out “having the times of their lives”. I realized I reached a point at the end of my sophomore year where I was done, and wanted to work on improving myself instead of comparing myself. I suddenly had so much time to spare, as well.

I sit here writing this while not paying attention in my class, ironically titled “The Power of Social Media.” Although there’s so much power in social media, there’s also power in not partaking in aspects of it.

Staying private in a constantly sharing, posting, tweeting world is a hugely underrated superpower.

University of Illinois