I love people and I love sharing, so you can see why Facebook would be a natural fit for me. Though Facebook has the potential to be an incredible social tool for the positive, it is often overused in what seems to be an unhealthy way. Two weeks ago, I decided to deactivate my account for a temporary time, a day or two perhaps, and within the first 24 hours, I noticed a few interesting things.
First, prior to two weeks ago, my brain had me on a Facebook loop! I would plow through some e-mails and then ‘reward’ myself by checking Facebook. I would get ready to go out, but check my Facebook notifications before leaving home. I would skim my newsfeed prior to bed and feel a pressure to respond to the many messages that came in. Jerusalem folks inquired about my transition to Austin, and Austin folks reached out to welcome me back and schedule a time to finally get together.
I was happy to hear from friends in both Austin and Jerusalem, but everyone expected a response and – had I indulged my Facebook tendencies – I would have spent all day in technological correspondence!
I didn’t want that. The Facebook sabbatical obviated that need by temporarily not allowing my account to receive messages, thereby minimizing the amount of constant communication flooding into my inbox.
Second, my life is quieter in a happy way. I already have sufficient information about parties, events and gatherings around town, so I don’t need to choose from ten additional events and Facebook invites each night. If I miss something, so be it. No matter how hard you try, you’re always going to “miss” something! So, better to be present and choose from a few good options. Though it still takes discipline for me to sit down with a book and focus, I now have time to read, to watch interesting documentaries and to spend more time outside – and I’m doing all of those things.
Third, it makes it harder to connect with me! This is strange to list as a positive, but – because I love meeting people, befriending strangers and connecting deeply – I spread myself way too thin! I am genuine in that I care about the people who I meet and befriend, but it definitely gets out of control. My Facebook sabbatical has slowed down my pace of new ‘friends’ and has also allowed a resting period from the friends who I already have. (And who I care about – but sometimes quiet can be so wonderful!)
Lastly, I feel less of a need to document. When I’m at an acrojam, it doesn’t so much matter whether I’m in the cool group shot because I don’t participate in the social media platform where it will be posted. When on a trip to Austin’s first Trader Joe’s, when at a themed costume dance party or when juggling with Yair, I don’t need to capture those moments for similar reasons. I sometimes feel the desire to update my status (e.g. “Free pumpkin carving at Carver this weekend! Who’s in?”), but instead I opt for a solo excursion or specifically invite a single friend whose company I would most enjoy. And, if I feel the need to share news or ‘get something out’ but don’t have Facebook as an outlet, it makes me more inclined to journal with good old-fashioned pen and paper.
I deactivated my account the day prior to my birthday and, though a tiny part of me missed the insane wall-posting hoopla, I mostly appreciated the quiet that the break afforded me. There is something very freeing about the break and, though it’s incredibly sweet that I’ve received so many phone calls, texts and e-mails to make sure that everything is okay, it’s funny to me that not participating in a social media platform is such a radical move.
Anyway, I will likely reconnect to the rest of the cyberworld at some point, but not before upping my Facebook sabbatical to 30-day challenge status. Wishing you all a pleasant, relaxing and ding/beep-free evening!
[Update: I wrote the first draft of this post ~48 hours after deactivating Facebook. It has now been just over two weeks and I am loving the hiatus and the accompanying slower pace of life.]
posted by ayo