I left Facebook back in mid-October. The election season was in its final, crazy days and I was completely overwhelmed by the acrimony of the posts I was reading every day. Even the posts I agreed with seemed so bitter and hostile. I couldn't take it anymore. So I decided to take a break from Facebook - until after the election was over. Whatever made me think it would be better after the election is beyond me, but that's what I told myself.
I removed the Facebook app from my phone, as I've done before for other breaks, and told myself I could check it periodically, but only on the computer. Then, a funny thing happened. Once I got past the first few days of wanting to open Facebook during idle moments, like waiting in line at the post office, or on a break at work (the addiction is real) I didn't feel the need to go online at all anymore. Not anywhere. I wasn't terribly interested in Instagram, or this blog, or anything. It was like white noise.
It was so nice.
I didn't feel like I was missing anything, but a few friends in far-flung places got in touch to say they missed me on Facebook. So, shortly after election day, I went back on to give it a try. The level of hysteria and vitriol was at an all-time high; it was much worse than before the election. I made a remark that was misinterpreted and gave way to what felt like personal attacks from friends who I thought knew me better. And that was it. I decided I was done and I would never go back. And I haven't.
It's really horrifying to say, but after I went off of Facebook, my life, the actual life I live day-to-day and that is ever-present in front of my eyes, came into better focus. It's not healthy to be so distracted by social media, and yet when you are, you don't really notice. I found I had so much more time after I left Facebook, and I hadn't even considered myself that heavy of a Facebook user! Clearly I was. I found renewed interests in puttering around and staring out the window. And then, I started to hear my own thoughts again. My own ideas, my very heart's desires and my own soul's yearnings. These things had been dulled and drowned out by the constant barrage of other people's opinions and thoughts. Hearing my own thoughts again translated into wanting to blog again. I'll never go back to Facebook.
If you're thinking of calling it quits on Facebook, here are a few articles and resources to help you on your way:
Hooked on Our Smartphones. Curbing all phone use, including Candy Crush, is my next goal to conquer.
Why Is Everyone on the Internet So Angry? When you remove yourself from the online anger, your blood pressure goes down instantly.
The Importance of Staring Out the Window. I found this gem of an article after discovering my rekindled love for staring out the window. Too good.
The Skimm. If you worry that you'll miss out on news on Facebook, sign up for this daily skim of the world's news. Besides, news on Facebook is notoriously unreliable anyway!
Why Social Media Is Ruining Your Self-Esteem - And How to Stop It.
Have you ever taken an extended break from Facebook? Or quit all-together? I'm so curious to know if Facebook and Social Media are generally more positive or negative forces in your life. Please chime in in the comments below. xo
(Image via Lucy Houghton)