Sunday, April 23, 2017

My time away from Facebook...

So I started Lent early this year. I gave up Facebook for Lent.

I decided to give up Facebook for multiple reasons.  Here are the major ones:

1. It was a total "time suck" for me- I was wasting so much time scrolling through Facebook.  I was literally throwing away minutes or hours of my day.  Couldn't I be doing something more productive with that time? 

2. I was getting an ulcer, or at least I felt like it.  I was daily reading a ton of angry, negative, and mean posts.  The election had a lot to do with this.  Friends that don't share my political/life views would post negative comments.  Friends that did share my political/life views would post negative comments.  I couldn't really get away from it. I was very disappointed after the election and couldn't get out of my negative funk.   I'm a "feeler" and when people are negative around me it really gets under my skin and affects my own being.  All of this negativity also got me thinking about why we post what we post on FB.  Do I think I'm going to sway some person's mind about a political/religious/"big time" life decision/subject?  Nope likely not.  But I am likely to piss someone I call a friend off.  Some of you may say well maybe that person shouldn't be your friend then.  I think as I age I start to realize some of my favorite people in this world  don't agree with me 100% on all the "big" topics (i.e. politics, women's rights, religion, parenting, etc). However, because they don't agree with me or I with them does that mean I throw those relationships away? Stepping away from FB would not only filter out the bad, but also give me time to think about when I return to FB how I want my presence on social media to be.

3. The kicker for me- what really pushed me off the cliff and in a nose dive away from FB was when I had to "unfollow" a close family member.  This person has shared, inappropriately a picture of my beautiful kids and their cousins, with a total stranger who then had our kid's picture on their timeline.  It weirded me out.  The picture was totally innocent, a great shot of the cousins enjoying summer, but when you start to realize everything you put on FB can be shared with anyone- strangers, etc it makes you think is this form of communication really worth it?

So I took a break.  It was really lovely.  I didn't really miss it. I do feel like I was using my now free FB time- I read more, I interacted with my kids and husband more.  The time off social media flew by and I felt so much more happier without it in my life.

Now there were a few things I did miss while off FB. I wasn't kept abreast of all local events/gatherings. I missed keeping in touch with friends who live far away. I especially missed seeing pictures of family members.  Social media does make it easy to forge friendships that may otherwise not be sustainable due to distance.  For instance, I'm on a couple of different nurse practitioner boards and many of my colleagues on those boards live all over the US.  Not having FB to stay in touch with these amazing colleagues and friends was a negative. 

So how do you combat that issue-  distant family and friends?  One idea I had was I like to write letters (partially I think I'm just addicted to stationary and cards) and so I could send those friends letters and help keep the good old postal service in business.  I could also just take the time and send e-mails or utilize the messenger application on FB and send FB buddies messages.  Last, but not least I could actually pick up the phone and call these friends and talk the old fashioned way- by phone. 

For now I'll continue to have a FB account, but I'm not wanting to go back to reading/scrolling feeds countless minutes of the day.  I will utilize some of ideas above and message, e-mail, send a letter and even call my friends and family because having people in my life truly does make me happy. 

I of course would love your feedback on what you think about taking a vacation from FB.  Have you ever taken a hiatus from social media?  What was it like?  If not, do you think you could take a vacay from FB/Twitter/Instagram, etc?  I bet you could and you might notice yourself a little bit more content. 

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