If I’m honest I think I always knew that it would happen one day…On many occasions I had pondered whether the voyeuristic and downright nosey world of social media, in particular Facebook, was for me…yet it always seemed to drag me back into its murky depths. Well, that is until last Thursday evening, when I quite spontaneously decided to go ‘cold turkey’ and attempt not to access Facebook until at least the end of the weekend (an experiment, if you will). I had recently also got into the world of Twitter and found that I was spending an inordinate amount of time checking for updates/tweets, and not really feeling like I was getting a whole lot out of it other than sore eyes and a headache. I was therefore very intrigued as to how I would experience this self-imposed period of abstinence.
It turned out that no willpower whatsoever needed to be executed: Facebook has in fact been one of the easiest things I have ever given up and I have not looked back. Literally twice in the last six days have I gone to log on, out of habit more than anything, only to remember “I don’t do Facebook at the moment”. I have not missed knowing the minutiae of other peoples’ lives, and indeed comparing my own life to theirs, and I know that if anything really important happens or a friend needs to contact me then they have at least one of my phone numbers and/or email addresses.
It turns out that I must have had more of a ‘Facebook habit’ than I realised…I am finding myself with more free time, I’m more productive at work without the distraction of ‘seeing what people are up to’, and my mind feels less cluttered – both through not thinking in terms of my own Facebook updates and not reacting to those of others. It may sound a bit of a dramatic thing to say, but I feel a sense of freedom (told you it might sound dramatic, but it’s true!).
I have made good use of the time I would usually while away on the computer at home or work, or via the app on my BlackBerry…over the weekend I got out in the garden on a rare sunny November day and did a pre-winter tidy up – how nice it was to be out in the fresh, crisp air for a few hours! I spent quality, focussed time with my nephew who had a sleepover at mine, I filled holes in the woodwork of my (nearly finished) new bathroom so it’s ready for glossing, I prepared properly for the biggest presentation of my life at work on Monday (to 400 people, eek!), I watched a film, I chilled out, I ate…all without distraction. Now, perhaps I would have got some of that done anyway, but I would put money on the fact that I wouldn’t have achieved it all had I still been on Facebook and checking for/receiving updates every 10 minutes (I think my habit had gotten a little out of hand).
I expect what I will miss is the updates and photos of those friends that live overseas who I don’t get to see or speak to on a regular basis. But I figure that I still have email so we can still share thoughts, stories and photos the ‘old-fashioned’ way…or indeed use Skype (which I still need to sort out on my netbook as there are audio issues, in that people on other end can’t hear me) or, when I’m feeling flush, pick up the phone from time to time.
Due to still having the Facebook app on my phone, I can still receive private messages, but they come through in the form of emails so I don’t have any need or excuse to login to the site. If anyone does want to keep in touch then feel free to message me and I can let you know my email address. Or maybe even my home address, and we can have a (shock horror) cup of tea and a chat – face to face contact!
Of course, I did use Facebook as a way of updating people on when I had made a blog entry…but I think if people want to read my ramblings they can always choose to click the ‘Follow’ button on my blog (which should be bottom left-hand corner…go on, click it) and they would then receive an email whenever I post. I also realise that I am going to need to go back onto Facebook one last time to post this blog in order to let people know that I am not going to be on it for the foreseeable future (darn it!)…but needs must.
Perhaps I will be back on Facebook one day, albeit probably with a different attitude and approach. Perhaps I will even miss it so much in a few weeks time that I will be back begging for mercy and forgiveness, vowing never to leave again. I will never say never, but for now I am going enjoying my new found freedom and spare time to, you know, live a little!
DISCLAIMER: the author of this post does not wish to offend anyone who enjoys and continues to use Facebook…everyone has their reasons for doing so and, although she jests, it has been quite a big decision for her to tear herself away from something that she felt wasn’t doing her any favours. For those of you that get only positive things from Facebook, she salutes you and wishes you well as you ‘go forth and update’.
Until next time, love and lack of social media, sm x