In a moment of weakness on October 11th, after 10 1/2 weeks of being Facebook free, I logged into Facebook. Ugh. What a mistake. I looked around for evidence that something had changed and that it was different from when I left, but that wasn’t the case. There were people still arguing about trump (he’ll never earn a capital letter from me), people still promoting debunked conspiracy theories while ignoring their friends who tell them the information is wrong, and of course the people who are the “look at me, look at me” types.
I stuck around on Facebook for another couple days. Honestly, it had everything to do with boredom and very little else. When it became crystal clear that I was still truly getting nothing from the experience, I decided it was time to apply the Stickk.com technique (you can have as many goals as you like) and log out of Facebook again. I made the same penalty as last time which is a non-charity donation. I agreed to give a Republican Super PAC a donation if I fail. The Stickk site makes the payment to the Super PAC without identifying me as the source of the donation but I would know. Since I would never willingly give any Republican even a single penny found between the couch cushions, I’m pretty sure I’ll be successful.
My goal on Stickk regarding Facebook is staying off the site for 12 weeks; the estimated date I can log back in is on January 10th. But will I?? I feel like I learned my lesson this past October 11th but there’s always a chance I’ll find a way to justify it like “my Michigan family wants to hear from me,” “I get so much information from that thyroid group,” or my girls love seeing me post their Happy Birthday messages.” Of course all of these reasons are bogus. When I first left Facebook, I didn’t hear a single word from my Michigan family (not surprised nor hurt). I can google whatever information I need about my thyroid (been there/done that), and I’ve already asked if anyone would be offended if I didn’t wish them a happy birthday on Facebook (confused and annoyed faces). Count on me to come up with more justifications, however, once January 10th rolls around.
In the meantime, I have spent the time I would normally be on Facebook doing other things. One pastime I’ve replaced Facebook with is reading. I’ve gotten through so many books these past couple months. Who knew I was spending so much time on the social media site? I had a goal of getting through 10 books this year, and it looks like I’ll meet that goal with at least two of the books adding up to nearly 1200 pages. Prior to logging off of Facebook the first time back at the end of July, I had no chance of meeting my reading goal. Now it looks as if I will surpass it.
What I’ve noticed about myself is that I’m more engaged with my daughter (she’s the only one left at home). When I was on Facebook, I might be thinking of a post I was going to make, or a clever reply to someone else’s post. I might be seething in jealousy of another friend who is on a trip I always wanted to be on or I might be screaming in my head at another friend who created a post that was so racist/insensitive/horrifying. But what I wasn’t doing was being present for my daughter even during a conversation or while hanging out in the same room. That’s not ok.
Another benefit of being off Facebook is my mind is freer and less cluttered with junk that doesn’t belong there. My emotions are less mercurial, and my attention is on things that matter.
Why don’t you give yourself a break from Facebook for just one day? See if you can do it. Like Meatless Monday, embrace Facebook-free Friday. Who knows? Maybe it will lead to Social Media-free Saturday, then Still Not Spending Time on Facebook Sunday, and maybe the habit will continue through Monday (I got nothin’–no cute title–please share if you come up with one).
Getting off of Facebook was not easy at the beginning but now it’s become more of a habit being off. Let me know in the comments below if you were successful logging off of a particularly addicting social media site this weekend. You can do it!!
(I know there were a lot of parentheses in this post. I’m not sure why. I just wanted you to know that I noticed, too.)