I love Facebook. I love social media in general, really. I love that we live in a time when we can communicate with anyone around the world for free. Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with people that I normally would never speak to again, like my co-worker who moved to Germany, my college classmate that let me sleep on her couch when we went out so that I didn’t have to drive home late, my 10th grade science teacher who I secretly had a huge crush on, my friends from grad school who moved all over the world after graduation. I love that I can see what everyone else is doing and share what I’m doing in my own life.
I also hate Facebook. I hate constantly seeing people putting other people down. I hate that I can be found by estranged family members, who I reluctantly add only to later delete because of unnecessary drama. I hate feeling like all of the other people my age have everything together, while I sometimes feel like I have no idea where I am going or how to get there. I hate how easy it is to get absorbed in someone else’s life and forget about my own.
Last week, I deactivated my Facebook. This isn’t the first time, and I am sure it won’t be the last, but I needed a break. Do you ever have those moments where you have so much you need to do, that you would just rather forget about all of it and do nothing? I was having one of those moments, and Facebook was the perfect distraction. Every time I opened my browser to start a job search, check my email, or write a blog post, I ended up on Facebook. I had too many other important things to do with my time, and I was feeling really down about some of the things I saw people post, so I said, “Goodbye, Facebook.”
This is what I learned in 7 days without Facebook.
- People interact with me primarily to share links on my timeline. About 30 minutes after I deactivated my account, I got a text from my friend Anthony, who wanted to send me a Tubmlr link. The next evening, I received another text from my friend Claire who questioned what happened to my Facebook because she wanted to send me a BuzzFeed quiz.
- Social media is a huge part of my life. I use Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter regularly, but when I didn’t have access to Facebook, I spent noticeably more time than usual on the other platforms.
- You shouldn’t message people about an apartment and then delete your Facebook 2 days later. Yes, I did this. No, I didn’t realize it until the morning we were supposed to Skype. Luckily she already had my Skype username and was really cool about it.
- It's difficult to avoid Facebook. I was doing research for work, and inadvertently ended up on several businesses’ Facebook pages. I wasn’t automatically logged in, but I was tempted to reactivate my account. Almost daily, people ask questions like, “Did you see that picture so-and-so posted on Facebook?”
- I rely on Facebook more than I should. There were a few times when I wanted to find a particular picture that I didn’t have on my phone, but had on my Facebook. I never worry about remembering people’s birthdays because Facebook will do it for me (I’m sure I’m not the only one). Also, the majority of my other accounts are linked to Facebook (Spotify, Pinterest, etc).
- I have no willpower. After 6 days without Facebook, I reactivated my account. After about 30 seconds, I deactivated my account.
- Facebook is not as exciting as I thought. I’m back online now, and I feel like I didn’t really miss anything.
Even though I only avoided one platform, it was extremely refreshing to cut back on social media for a while. Like I said earlier, I don’t think I will ever get rid of social media completely because I think it has its benefits. I do, however, think I need to cut back a bit, and I think you should too.
Have you ever done a Facebook cleanse? Let me know what you experienced below!