Boundaries and Disabling Facebook

This week I posted on Facebook that I will be disabling my personal and professional accounts. There was no specific incident that led to this decision. Facebook’s business model has always bothered me. I resisted as long as I could. But in 2013 I published a book, and thought I had to have a Facebook page for it. So I plunged in and found I did enjoy the likes and shares, as well as keeping in touch with family near and far.

In the beginning, I did not fill in much profile info. For fear of identity theft, I purposely entered an erroneous birthday. I did not disclose any kind of personal relationships, romantic or familial. I didn’t like or share many posts. Yet I did fill in a few favorite books and movies. For some reason these seemed less intrusive, although I knew full well this would probably be enough for the Big Brother algorithms to figure out that I was a 50-something, coffee-addicted divorced white female with a graduate school education who liked to snack on peanut butter out of the jar.

Initially I didn’t think anyone would care about birthdays, mine or others. But then people started wishing me “Happy Birthday!” on the wrong day and that felt awkward. So I changed it to the right birthday. I began dating someone seriously (now my husband) who is a photographer and happened to post on Facebook a lot. I didn’t allow him to post anything about us for about 6 months. But finally I caved because I was happy and wanted to show it. Cousins and family started connecting more, and their kids and posts were so heartwarming and cute. I wanted them to see I “liked” them. I also hit the like button because I knew if I didn’t, Facebook might stop showing their posts to me. After a couple of years, I caught myself spending an hour at a time in a Facebook feed fog. Then, I confess, I would intentionally open it up for the sole purpose of distracting myself from whatever it was I didn’t want to do or think about.

My Facebook boundaries eroded slowly over time. It’s not Facebook’s fault. It’s entirely my own. My ego is a powerful force running in the background of my otherwise rational life decisions. If I could have kept my initial boundaries, perhaps I’d feel that I was doing enough to protect my data and that of my friends, fans, and family. But I couldn’t, and I don’t. Putting the boundaries back this way will come with a cost of missed posts and maybe increased distance, but right now it feels like the right thing for me. All I can do for now is close it down, the same way I quit buying peanut butter.

Holly Donaldson

Holly Donaldson, CFP® runs an hourly and fee-for-service financial planning practice virtually from her Tampa Bay, Florida office. She also works with clients throughout the U.S. (except Texas) interested in retirement and tax planning advice without product sales or investment management. Holly is the author of The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future (Porchview Publishing, 2013) and publisher of the award-winning monthly e-letter, "The View From the Porch."

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Valerie

    very good insight!! I have the account and might go on once a week BUT it doesn’t stop people from posting. I get the “hey I told you about that” at a party — but TOLD was they sent a message on FB. I do NOT have it on my phone so those statements were foreign to me. It’s pretty weird!

    1. I know, right?? Like FB = a real conversation. Call me old but electronic messages do not count as conversations. 🙂

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