Inspired by a combination of a couple of my friends, a book I’m currently reading, the approaching Lent season, and something I’ve wanted to try for a while…I’m giving up Facebook until Easter Sunday. And while I know the idea is that you can have Sundays to “cheat”, for me that would be like giving an ex-smoker one quick puff on a cigarette – I just can’t be tempted. This has to be all or nothing.
When I first pondered this idea, I thought for certain I was setting myself up for failure. But the more I get used to it, the more excited I am to take on this little experiment. I use Facebook as a time-filler and distraction, yes, but also as a way to keep up with friends and family – both local and long distance. While Facebook fits the convenience of our over-scheduled lives in that we can quickly feel “caught up” by reading a friend’s status update…are we really caught up at all? I recently had a coffee date with a friend and everything we talked about were things we would never have put “out there” in a social media outlet. In other words – staying in touch via Facebook in no way takes the place (or even is a substitution for) keeping up in person.
I’ve calculated that in a typical week I spend three or four hours reading the news feed, sending messages, and perusing links posted on Facebook. If I could save this amount of time every week, I could meet a friend over a lunch hour and squeeze in another coffee date – two IN PERSON encounters every week. I could have real face-to-face conversations and get away from a computer screen. Yes, please.
Lent seems as good a time as any to set a time frame for this experiment. And the fact that I’m reading MWF Seeking BFF, an experiment in which a girl dates a potential friend every week for a year, just reinforces the concept of getting out and making face-to-face interaction happen. Yes, I catch up with girls once a month at book club, and Page and I try to get out with other couples on the weekends, but I’d like to try and make this a higher priority on a more regular basis.
I have taken the bookmark out of my computer toolbar (both on home and work computers!) and removed the app from my phone. This alone helps in not being tempted, although I’m never short on reminders that it still exists. I had to laugh at myself though – today, day one alone, I had three or four times where something happened that was worthy of a Facebook update. Like I went to my eyebrow wax and they were out of concealer, so I had to go back to my office after my lunch break looking like I’d taken a beating in a back alley with my two red eyes. That would have definitely been status-update material. At least the story made it onto the blog.
Speaking of, I’m only cutting myself off from Facebook, not all media in general – I still have my blogs (both writing mine and reading the ones I follow) and I still have my beloved Pinterest. I realized as the hours ticked down to the start of Lent that I would lose a lot of legitimate information once I took Facebook away – I get a lot of my “actual” news and local information via the site – not just friend info. So I set up TweetDeck on my work computer. I’ve never been well-versed in Twitter and this will be a good learning opportunity for me – plus I love that the organizations and companies I follow can subtly post their little news bytes in the background of my screen while I work.
Anyone else ever given up something like this? Permanently or for a short while? A friend of mine went on FB hiatus while she was studying for the bar and I remember thinking I could NEVER do that…but one day in, it still seems possible. In general, I actually feel a little lighter – it’s one less thing to check and “keep up on” each day. We shall see…stay tuned.