Freedom from Facebook
I haven’t been on Facebook in 3 months.
Okay, I can’t say with complete confidence that it’s been a full three months. All I really know is that I haven’t scrolled through my newsfeed all summer.
This wasn’t an intentional decision. You won’t find any kind of dramatic declaration on my Facebook page about a decision to take a break. I just did it. I initially decided I should probably cool it on the Facebook check-ins when I found myself clicking on my Facebook bookmark like it was muscle memory. I thought that may be a sign of an addiction rather than something I actually wanted to do, so I took a break.
I went two weeks without Facebook and I didn’t see a reason to check back in. So I didn’t.
More time passed and I deleted the app from my phone. I wasn’t getting updates and I didn’t give Facebook the opportunity to pressure me into “coming back”.
I disconnected. I didn’t post my thoughts, comments, or pictures.
I wasn’t living for Facebook.
Do you want to know what happened?
Nothing. And that is exactly what I expected.
The world didn’t end; No one sought me out to ask why I hadn’t been posting and I didn’t get the feeling that I was missing out on critical information. Nothing. Happened.
In the process of losing Facebook, however, I gained something. A few things, actually.
- I gained a stronger sense of self. I stopped comparing my journey and my life to the posts I was seeing on Facebook. I wasn’t wishing my life and my blessings looked like those of one of my “friends”. I practiced gratitude and tried to adjust my perspective to the bigger picture. It wasn’t about what I was showing the rest of the world; it was about what I was seeing, feeling, and experiencing.
- I gained time. If you’ve never consciously thought about the amount of time you spend on Facebook, I encourage you to do so. The problem isn’t necessarily Facebook. Rather, it’s where you’re investing your attention. All too often we post and share the event we’re experiencing while we’re still there. This means we taking our eyes off of the people around us and our attention away from the conversations we’re having. Worst of all, we’re depriving the people we’re with of the courtesy, respect, and sense of connection they deserve. We spend too much time telling everyone else about what we’re doing instead of fully investing ourselves in the moment.
- I didn’t miss anything important. I still found out about the exciting changes in the lives of the people I care about most, and vice versa. There weren’t any likes counted, but there was time spent with real people, real conversations, and genuine celebrations. If we’re honest, no one really has hundreds of friends. We keep in touch via Facebook, but we also like to watch what everyone else is doing. And, if you’re anything like me, you’ve gotten tired of the constant stream of announcements that Facebook seems to be. It’s not just a post anymore. Everything is life-changing and spectacular. It can be exhausting when social media becomes draining rather than fun and inspiring. Take a break! Step back, focus on your priorities, and remind yourself why you made the decisions you did.
- Finally, I realized I’m fine without it. Granted, I was active on other platforms the entire time, but I took three months off from Facebook and I don’t feel like I was lost without it. Life went on.
Just to be clear, I’m not writing this blog to encourage you to take a break from social media. It was simply a decision that felt right for me. But I would encourage you to think about what you’re doing with your social media. How much power does it have over your self-esteem? Do you find yourself comparing your life to what you see online? Where is your attention when you’re with friends? Are your eyes on your screen or the world around you? Share as much as you’d like, but remember to be present. The moment might be passing you by while you’re trying to tell everyone else about it.
A picture from one of my favorite adventures this summer