At the beginning of the summer I routinely checked my personal Facebook page as well as the seven groups/pages that I personally manage a lot.
A shit ton.
Almost five to ten times an hour.
Yes an hour. Yeah I get it.
That’s on average every 7.5 minutes between each Facebook login.
Logging onto Facebook approximately 85 times in ONE DAY.
Can we say “Houston, we have a problem?”
It is/was bad enough that I am incessantly on Facebook for my professional gig as a Digital Marketing Manager but my personal usage was getting Out. Of. Hand.
It exceeded the amount of time any adult should spend on Facebook and rivaled that of an 18 year old girl.
Hello. I’m 44.
Facebook should be used for benign fun, humor, gather some information and connect with friends and family near and far. However Facebook is also an extremely narcissistic platform, not necessarily a negative thing but some individuals especially for those that are either self-centered, insecure, mean, unsure it’s the perfect platform to blow smoke up their own ass, the asses of their “Facebook Friends”, and if you allow can absolutely put yourself worth in question.
I allowed it. I fell into the insecure column. Actually to be honest I wasn’t in any column before my use of Facebook burst into flames and I dropped dead center into the pit of the burning ‘insecure’ column.
Dead. Balls. Center.
It happened when an issue arose on Facebook and assumptions were made that attacked my character.
Hurtful. Eye-Opening. Pissed-Off.
At that time, I began to use Facebook way too much I kept reliving the issue, rechecking and obsessing over every little post on Facebook. I started to become a person I once was: insecure and very judgmental. Basically I propelled back to my 23 year old self. It was about the 60th time that I logged in on one day when I got hit square in the face with “everything on Facebook is not as it seems” pie.
A little humbled. Still a little pissed.
I declared a break. I immediately deleted the app from my phone (so fucking liberating and weird. Liberating and weird) and told myself “No Facebook for the Month of July”* – I couldn’t risk years of therapy, all that fricking money, myself worth as well as my hard-earned time on an inconsequential social media platform or on these ‘friends” that could care less if I got run over by a tractor trailer.
Like If I was run over I’d bet my life they’d egg on the driver of the tractor to back up and run me over again.
Doubts began to creep in:
Facebook Devil: “Oh shit, I can’t quit Facebook I manage five groups and two pages that need me”
Reality: ”They’ll live without you”
Facebook Devil: “Oh shit, I can’t quit Facebook I joined a Mile challenge I HAVE to log in and post my miles”
Reality: “You can log in once a day for ten minutes”
Facebook Devil: “Oh that’s great I can get around Facebook really quick in ten minutes”
Reality: “You can log in once a week for ten minutes”
Facebook Devil: “Oh that’s great I can get around Facebook really quick in ten minutes”
Facebook Devil: “What about all the FB emails I will get whom will answer them”
Reality: “You can log in on Sunday’s only for less than five minutes, you can read FB emails and respond only if necessary then you can only go to the mile challenge page, post your weekly miles and log off”
Facebook Devil: “Oh, ok.”
Wow, this could be harder than I thought. But I knew I had to do it. I had to save myself from destruction.
This decision manifested not only because of the issue that arose but also I was getting sick of Facebook (could it have been my excessive use? Most likely), sick of talking about Facebook when in real life social situations, sick of assuming what the hell is going on in everyone’s life and casting immediate judgment.
I mean we all do it. Don’t say you don’t cause that’s total bullshit and you’re just lying to yourself.
Judgment is natural and normal however it doesn’t make it right. It’s just something that naturally happens whether you mean it or not. And the assumptions. PLEASE. Social Media is the playground of assumptions. Most people assume your life is this or your life is that or that your intentions are this or that – when in reality we have no fucking clue. Social media gives us a mere blink into the lives of these virtual strangers, acquaintances, ‘friends’ which is fun, nice, entertaining, engaging but not real life.
As I entered my late thirties I shed most insecurities, left most judgments at the curb for the garbage men but every now and then I do need to check myself before I wreck myself – with my excessive Facebook use I was on the brink of wrecking myself.
So how did my experiment go? Well, like this:
Week 1: The first three-four days were very difficult, I am grateful I had the foresight to remove the app from my phone, I was tempted to log in but didn’t. It felt weird not checking in. I wanted to check in. I wanted to share and at the same time I felt absolutely free. I felt liberated. I was focused and much more creative at work. I did share more on Instagram than I had in a while; my normal usage was about once a week unless I am on vacation, week one I logged on every other day which I quickly curtailed.
Week 2: Week 2 was harder than week one. I logged my miles on Sunday and I really really wanted to go to my newsfeed, play around, look at pictures and connect. I thought as I weaned myself off the weeks would get easier but they didn’t. I sent a few FB emails and logged in once during the week because a co-admin for one of the groups needed some help. I felt the urge to check Facebook more this week then week one, I resisted, totally resisted. Not having the app on my phone was a power move and so essential to this experiment.
Week 3: Similar feelings as week 2, after I logged my weekly miles Facebook was calling my name I wanted to play! I wanted to connect! I wanted to like statuses! I wanted to leave funny comments! I want to commiserate! I wanted to tell you that you look hot in that photo! But I didn’t. I sent a few FB emails advised that I am not on FB and moved on. As the days ticked on I felt more whole, this was the week I realized that I can absolutely live without Facebook.
Week 4: Hardest week of all. Not sure if it was because my experiment was coming to a close, if I was getting weak and or if it was imaginary fishing lures in the guise of status updates: pictures of children romping in the sun, photos of ‘friends’ moms night out and the oh so fitspriations that I enjoy to motivate me that was compelling me to log on. I didn’t. However, for complete transparency I did log in twice this week to review a few hot issues that arose on not one but three of pages I manage. Two pages were non-issues and I wasn’t sure why I was flagged down. The other “hot post” well this was a sticky situation. Most people were playing nice there were a few very harsh comments but were insightful that I felt were warranted and needed to be said however there were about two down-right nasty comments from group members that I would have normally addressed but instead of stepping in I choose not to intervene. This was big for me. Not getting involved, not trying to enforce group guidelines, not trying to desperately make some asshat see that they should play nice on page that supports over 2K members (just as common courtesy/decency) was huge for me. I really wanted to try and smooth the wrinkled sheets but something came over me, like an electric shock I realized this was one of the reasons I decided to quit Facebook for over a month. This petty nonsense. I thought to myself :
“Go for it, have it, post your rude comments in a group, if you want to have no compassion or understanding in this world, if you can’t objectively look at an entire situation and need to tear people down to lift yourself up you have bigger problems then me”.
Even the Pope agrees with me on this one, check out number 8.
At this time, I knew I shouldn’t, no couldn’t get involved. I don’t need or want this petty bullshit in my life. I can’t change anyone, nor can I change their mind(s).
Week Five: I was on vacation with 25 of my beloved family members. Logging in never crossed my mind.
In my eyes, the experiment was a success. I logged on a total of six times in forty-five (45) days.* Pretty darn good. Before my Facebook binge I was logging on about 10-20 times a day, during the binge well that was asinine.
My time-away from Facebook was absolutely needed and oh so worth it. Week four made me see clearly, the Facebook clouds of nonsense was lifted. I could once again separate fiction from non-fiction.
Amen! She has risen!
What have I gained from this experience, things I knew but needed to relearn:
- It’s not about you. No one gives a fuck about your life except the people that are truly your friends and family. And that’s Ok.
- Live your life for you. No one else. Being the best YOU has a positive effect on everything else in your life, and most importantly, if you’re a parent, you will teach your children an incredible life lesson of self respect and self worth (okay, that was so Oprahish, sue me I like TV too!).
- Facebook eats up your time like the monsters in Pac-man.
- Not everyone has to like you, and that’s okay. There will always haters, passive-aggressive people that actually thrive behind a computer screen with their keyboard and Facebook balls, mean comments and inconsequential thoughts. Fuck them.
Did I miss Facebook? Hell yeah. I missed connecting with my family and friends, I missed the lighthearted posts from a few key people that seem to always put a smile on my face or make me belly laugh. I missed seeing the posts of my family and friends that are either far away or I don’t see nearly as often as I would like to. I missed posting status updates and sharing my life with the ones I want.
Am I back on Facebook? Uummm well I posted this blog article right? Ok without the sarcasm, I am on Facebook. However I am extending my experiment. I am going without the app on my phone probably indefinitely and limiting my daily use, and at home I will only visit Facebook when no one is around so I can binge on it all night long- HA!- no really – I need to concentrate on myself, my husband and my children. My instantaneous picture sharing and witty commentary will just have to wait!
*[For the record, I have separate profiles for personal and my corporate gig, still needed to log on professionally. I logged in to monitor a corporate Facebook page and participate in a industry group forum, and that’s it.]