3 Reasons to Delete Facebook

by Andrew Forrest

It had been coming for a while, but this summer I finally decided I needed to delete social media from my iPhone to maintain my sanity. Here’s why I deleted Facebook and Twitter, and here are 3 reasons why you should, too.


Why I Deleted Social Media from my iPhone

Over the past several years, I’d found that being connected online increased the worry and stress in my life. It’s now been 3 months since I made my smart phone dumber by deleting the Facebook and Twitter apps, and here are 3 reasons I’m glad I did.

Reason?#1: I?Have Less Anger and Anxiety

Facebook and Twitter are overrun?with keyboard cops and their self-righteous indignation, and the sad thing is that the self-righteous indignation of other people produced self-righteous indignation in me, directed at them. Anger and self-righteousness come naturally to me: I don’t need social media’s help to feel superior to the people who feel superior. Without a constant stream of social media outrage at my fingertips, I have less anger and more peace.

Facebook in particular also produces comparison in its users: you are constantly thinking, “I wish I had that or looked like that.” Facebook too often caused me to break the 10th commandment (that’s the one about coveting, for all you biblical illiterates), and without Facebook on my phone I have less of the anxiety that materialism and jealousy and lust produce in my heart.

I’m not withdrawn from the world, nor am I naive: I read the paper and catch the news every day. But, there is something about the way social media delivers information that caused me to feel a constant low level of anxiety. Since deleting Facebook and Twitter from my phone, I experience much less anxiety and worry.

Reason?#2: I Have More Focus

When Facebook and Twitter were a fingertip away, I found myself constantly checking and looking at those apps. The irresistible allure of seeing what was happening made it very difficult for me to focus 0n the things that matter. Since deleting social media from my iPhone, I find that I’m less distracted and more focused.

And when it comes to prayer there is no question: social media is the enemy. Distracted and unfocused prayer is no prayer at all.

Reason?#3: I?Have More Time

Everybody’s busy, but few people are productive. I found that the constant scrolling and checking and commenting and retweeting that social media encourages meant that I was becoming more and more unproductive. Since deleting Facebook and Twitter from my phone, I’ve found that I have more time to get things done. (For example, I’ve read more books since deleting social media, and reading is an activity that gives me peace and helps me become a better leader and preacher.)

What Now?

I still have Facebook and Twitter accounts, but to access them I have to use my laptop, which means, because it takes more effort to login, I’m much less likely to mindlessly scroll through them. Will I keep my phone social-media-free forever? I don’t know. But, I can honestly say making my smart phone dumber has probably made me smarter.

What about you? Are you willing to try it?

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Paul September 21, 2015 - 12:00 pm

Great idea. I am not sure I am up to your challenge. I know this is crazy inconsistent, but I shared your blog on Facebook and suggested to all my friends that you had good advice about deleting Facebook from our smart phones. For me, your blog definitely provided words of wisdom about what I needed to guard against. But like I said, I am not sure I am up to your challenge (but I am definitely thinking about it). One struggle I have is – if you delete Facebook on your smart phone, but continue to obsess over it on your laptop – isn’t that like being a little bit pregnant?

Andrew Forrest September 21, 2015 - 12:24 pm

I don’t think it’s hypocritical to share these sorts of things via social media. (I certainly shared this post via my social media channels.) My argument isn’t against social media generally, but against its proximity via smart phones.

I like the “little bit pregnant” reference. For me, I just know that I’m not going to browse FB and Twitter via my computer in as obsessive and constant a manner as I would via my phone. Something about the phone makes social media almost irresistible.

If the computer becomes a problem, then I’ll consider deleting my accounts entirely. So far, though, that’s not been an issue for me.

Cindy Overby September 21, 2015 - 12:24 pm

It wasn’t until July of this year a friends kids put Facebook on my iPhone. I had never even scrolled a news feed before. I really try and limit my time and be selective of what I read. But, I do agree with everything you say about it. It’s just weird. I think it’s addictive and a big problem out there. I notice I am more connected to my phone and carry it with me more. Very conscious of this problem and I
notice a few people in church with their phones and it really bothers me.

Andrew Forrest September 21, 2015 - 9:30 pm

I know–once you have eyes to see it, you notice everywhere that we are constantly looking down at our phones.

Marian Ludlow September 21, 2015 - 1:04 pm

Andrew, I am way ahead of you or maybe behind. I have a flip phone and am not available except to family during the day. My time at the laptop is controlled to twice a day. BUT I do not have your kind of a job. But good for you for taking control of it and I know you will enjoy it more.

Andrew Forrest September 21, 2015 - 9:30 pm

No: you are definitely ahead. Good for you.

Brian Davis September 21, 2015 - 1:51 pm

“One man suggested that people delete social media from their phones: what they did next blew his mind!”

I just did the same thing a while back, Andrew. I’m not catagorically against social
media (neither do I hear you say that) but I have been asking myself a very simple question lately: “How has social media made my life better?” I can’t really point to anything that has been made better or enhanced because of social media. I recently de-activated my Twitter account, and I deleted Facebook from my phone. There is one social media platform I really enjoy and that is Instagram, because it is a natural extension of a hobby. I can’t say it has made my life better, but I do enjoy interacting with so I’m keeping it for a while.

Thanks for posting this. I believe we live in an age where all innovation is applauded. To borrow a line from Michael Chriton’s Jureasic Park – “Your scientists were so preoccupied with where they COULD, they never stopped to ask if they SHOULD.”

Brian Davis September 21, 2015 - 1:52 pm

Make that, Jurrasic Park.

Andrew Forrest September 21, 2015 - 9:31 pm

ABSOLUTELY. Love that Jurassic Park line.

And, I also like your attempt at a viral headline.

Rodney September 21, 2015 - 2:08 pm

There is always a one-upper. I have never used Facebook for anything other than receiving inclement weather updates from my gym (nobody likes to wake up at 4:15 am and go to a closed gym). I have rejected every single friend request (yes, those from my family too) and have been diligent in not letting it into my life. This may sting a little to some, but my rationale is that it commoditizes relationships by reducing scarcity and the cultivation needed for them to flourish. Seems a little over-the-top and maybe I was born 10 decades too late, but my relationships matter to me and genuine communication is their lifeblood. I love how most Facebook users demonstrate some degree of shame in justifying its use – “I only use it because it is a great way to keep up with old friends I otherwise would never keep up with”. Kind of like “I only look at that magazine for the articles…”. Right. Unless there is an overwhelming phenomenon occurring where now more than ever in history the majority of our personal connections do not have phone numbers, addresses, or meet at common places in public, relationships can be maintained the same ways they were maintained 100 years ago. I fully support the idea of keeping up with old middle school teammates and family members you are not even sure how you are related to. But any relationship worth having is worth more than a click while standing in line at Starbucks (or worse sitting at a stop light). And how could you ever host someone in your home for dinner when they know you aren’t rolling out your best recipe for them? They’ve seen all your good stuff posted already! I have no doubt that good things have come from Facebook that otherwise would not have, but is Facebook truly making the world better or just different?

Full disclosure: Twitter is a completely different story for me.

Andrew Forrest September 21, 2015 - 9:33 pm

You nailed it with the FB users’ common excuse. Exactly.

For me, it is actually Twitter even more than FB that brings up anxiety in me. Since June, I’ve read virtually nothing on Twitter (and I follow some really interesting folks).

Christina September 22, 2015 - 1:29 am

I gave up FB for lent this past year along with chocolate and sodas (a friend commented that I must have had a sin filled year) and I believe of all three items FB was the most difficult. I too use the excuse of “staying connected with people”, but I have found I actually speak to my friends and family less. I believe texting is also a major culprit in the changes that have occurred in the ways we now communicate. I worry about the lack of social skills our youth will have when they get older.

I applaud the limitations you have placed on yourself when it comes to social media. I’m still an addict, but I have found myself “un-friending” individuals that only post negative rhetoric that (in my humble opinion) serves no legitimate purpose. I guess it is a start.

Unfortunately, much of my work communication is tied to my phone, but there are days I would love to throw the darn thing away. Talk about an addiction…..that’s a whole other post!

Andrew Forrest September 22, 2015 - 9:16 am

Yeah, I worry about our young people, too. This phenomenon is unprecedented, and we have no idea how it will affect us. And yet we all adopt it uncritically.

Casey Mickelson September 22, 2015 - 11:49 am

To play devil’s advocate a bit – if social media continues it’s growth as the dominant tool for communication and sharing with upcoming generations, how does the Gospel reach out to them when servants like you check out of the main stream of discourse? In my business – we take the position that we need to be available to communicate with our customers and vendors using the method of their choice – and for that reason have a variety of options for them. Shouldn’t the same be true for the Gospel?

Andrew Forrest September 22, 2015 - 8:33 pm

Yes, but….

My issue is not with social media per se, but with the proximity of social media to us via our smart phones. I find that social media combined with an iPhone is an almost irresistible combination. I know for me personally that when I am constantly scrolling through Twitter via my phone that I am not able to be the person I need to become in order to effectively share the gospel (because, the messenger *is* the message). If there were a way to limit my social media activity and still keep the apps on my phone, I would do that, but I just can’t do it.

Andrew Forrest September 22, 2015 - 8:35 pm

But, I do get your point. For me as a preacher, though, it’s even more important that I’m not always accessible, because the content I create is why people want access to me, but if I gave everyone access, I wouldn’t be able to create that content that makes them want access to me. So, finding a way to quiet the noise in my head and in my heart is crucial.

Paul September 23, 2015 - 3:15 pm

I agree with Casey, but I am reminded of the old adage that we should pursue everything (or a lot of things) in moderation. Facebook and Social Media is a big part of my business as well, so I cannot “check out”, but it is important that I see the dangers it presents (not just for myself, but for those around me who might be listening to my advice – there are not many of those). I actually carry two cell phones. One for work and one for personal. Following Andrew’s lead, I am thinking about deleting Facebook from my personal cell and only keep it on my laptop and my work cell phone (I guess it is ok to be a little bit pregnant in this case?). My plan is to limit the times I even carry my work cell phone so that I will not be obsessing on it. But more importantly, the main point I would make (and I think Andrew hit on this a little bit) is that Social media does NOT represent the truth, in most cases and it can lead to sin and it is so easy to obsess on it. It is, to a certain extent, more like gossip than the truth (although it is often us gossiping about ourselves or tooting our own horn). So we just need to guard against falling into the trap of believing everything we read on Facebook. I kind of compare this “Facebook in Moderation” idea to going to a bar to reach new believers. If everyone is hanging out in bars (or other non-churchie places), I have no problem going into bars to reach people (no problem at all), but I am not going to get drunk with them while I am there.

My A/V Media Diet | Andrew Forrest October 12, 2015 - 4:31 am

[…] as I wrote about a few weeks ago, in early summer 2015 I deleted both the Facebook and Twitter apps from my iPhone and I […]


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