Why I backed off Facebook to improve my mental health

Does your mental health matter? I am very sensitive to the impact that mental health and attitude have on careers, job search, and overall functionality.

I was an early adopter of social media, at least before most of my generation. In the past, I was passionate about encouraging people to use social media in their job search.

Social media has been key to building my business and I will continue to have a presence for that. I probably will miss special announcements from friends since social media has become a way to communicate rapidly.

Downsides of social media

Actually, communicating rapidly is part of the problem.

I think it still has value but social media in general and Facebook specifically have changed. As I was discussing with a client earlier today, I think it has become a hostile environment instead of one that encourages acceptance and diverse opinions.

My natural state is to desire conflict-free environments. Obviously, that isn’t realistic but I can choose not to fill my head with more conflict. I hate seeing people being mean and constantly sharing nasty comments.

I wouldn’t allow people to do that in my presence in my office or home so why would I subject myself to chaos deliberately online especially when I recognize the effects it has on me?

How I see Facebook affecting me

  • Increased anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Headaches

Could Facebook affect my job?

My clients are the heartbeat of my business. I know that we don’t all think alike nor are we alike but I would never try to offend them deliberately.

I think of my clients and prospective clients when I post things on Facebook. My clients are a diverse blend of exceptionally talented people who come from many different walks of life, races, religions, and yes, political views.

I recognize we are different so I am careful to post only things that aren’t snarky, hostile, or belittling.

Recognize that regardless of your privacy settings your messages can reach many people. Employers look at social media when they evaluate candidates. Is your Facebook welcoming?

My solution to preserve my mental health

  • I am backing off
  • Turned off notifications on all devices
  • Disconnected from some former friends whose stream was highly negative

I will pop in now and then but fill my life with other things. In the long run, this is a healthy solution even if my reason wasn’t the way Facebook changed.

Spending time reading or completing other projects is healthier than an obsession to check Facebook every minute. I never checked that often but I was there more than necessary.

Should you do the same?

I think this is a highly individual decision.

Facebook has become a place people share instantaneous responses to everything even when there are no facts to support those responses.

Perhaps you should just evaluate your messaging and ask yourself, “would I talk to my friends this way?” Maybe you would. I am careful of what I let in my space.

If you are ready to deploy social media marketing as part of your job search, I would be happy to help you. LinkedIn is essential to all job seekers today but other platforms like Facebook and Twitter can be used strategically in a job search. Learn more here.