So a little less than a month ago, I deactivated my Facebook account. (For those who don’t already know: deactivating is essentially a super powered log off. It closes down access to your profile and information but doesn’t actually delete anything. All you have to do to get it back is log on.) Largely because every time I sat down on to the computer (and I was sitting down often ordering and checking on the orders of Christmas gifts) I found myself just wasting time clicking around, reading garbage, getting aggravated, and not using my time to the best of my ability.
I reactivated my account for about 10 minutes a few days ago because a family member had messaged me an address earlier last year and I had forgotten to write it down. I got the address, clicked around, thought to myself that if I kept my account activated it would only be days before I started clicking on it constantly, and deactivated it yet again.
The first week I quit, I can’t tell you how many times I typed in the address just out of sheer habit. Something funny or annoying or stupid would happen and I would immediately start thinking about the status update I would write. At times, I actually felt uncomfortable not sharing my funny, annoying, stupid thing because…well, I had to SHARE.
The second week I quit, I missed it. A little. I didn’t miss the politics or the humble bragging or the ads and random articles but I did miss the seriously funny updates of some of my friends. I missed the pictures of friends and family. I missed using it as my blog reader (I tend to just follow pages of blogs I like and when they post their update, I click over.) When I published a blog post, it hit me almost all of my friends use my FB page to know when to visit the blog.
And then I had a fellow blogger email me and ask me about deactivating because she’s been thinking about leaving as well but…it’s linked to everything.
Here’s how I feel about it right now:
The inconvenience is less of a bother than the noise.
Being uncomfortable because I can’t instantly share a moment of my life makes me…uncomfortable. I don’t like thinking in status updates. When I find myself falling prey to the world’s ever decreasing attention span and need for prepackaged ideas? It’s time for a break. I’m not a complete social media hermit. Pinterest is one of my favorite filing systems for recipes and knitterly things. I adore looking and sharing pictures on Instagram. Facebook just felt…a little bit like the Borg (please forgive my Star Trek reference, I’m a nerd).
I get the hypocrisy of writing about oversharing as someone who blogs, but I can live with that. I write. Constantly. In my head, on paper, here. I string sentences together (with varied degrees of success) because that’s how I make sense of the world.
It’s not permanent. Facebook is convenient. I can connect to blogs I like, businesses I frequent, the parents of my kids’ friends (which is great for an introvert like me). Even my garbage company uses Facebook to let customers know of weather or holiday delays in service. I’ve left too many times and come back too many times to believe I’m gone forever. It might be a week, it might be a month. But for now, I’m enjoying the quiet.
I took a FB break during the month of December last year, and there was something very nice about the quiet. I didn’t really miss it at all (once I got over the impulse to check it during down moments). I did miss connecting with those I only really get to connect with there. I have realized over the last month, though, that I’m back to mindlessly checking it too often and that I could be using more of my time in more satisfying ways. It’s definitely something I need to keep a conscious check on. I’d love to have a social media channel to share things with you, but I’ve never really gotten into Instagram–feels like I have time for only one time-suck! (As for blogs, I use Bloglovin’. I find it much more reliable/easier than FB.)
It’s just so easy to get sucked into checking it often!! I’m sure I’ll be back (just not sure when) but I think even when I do come back I will always take the month of December off. It’s just too hectic.
As for readers, I have both a bloglovin’ and feedly set up but I still end up manually typing in my favorites and ignoring the reader. It’s kind of silly actually but it keeps my regular blog reading down to 3-4 favorites. When I have a large chunk of time to waste (rarely), I’ll browse my reader.
Facebook as The Borg … now that is an absolutely BRILLIANT analogy, Kate! I had fought against Facebook for so long, in a *totally* “don’t tell me resistance is futile! You’re damn right I’m going to resistI” kind of way … and when I signed up in order to retain a long-distance friendship (when emails got to be too much after her second child was born) I was more than just a bit annoyed that I was being sucked down a path I had stubbornly fought against for so long.
There’s good and bad in all of this — social media and blogs and the internet in general — but it’s so addictive, unfortunately. I see this with every single one of my family members, including me 🙁 .
I agree with you completely that there are both positives and negatives to this internet world. I love that I can connect so quickly with friends that i would rarely if ever see but I’ve also found that I tend not to connect as fully with the people around me when I’m putzing around online. I guess like all things technology – it is what you choose to make of it.
Your comments on “don’t tell me resistance is futile…” is exactly how I feel right now. It feels like everyone is saying, “But how can you NOT have Facebook?!?” and my husband never has and I figure if he can do it – I definitely should be able to as well. 🙂