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If you had told me 2 months ago that I would have gone a month without Facebook, I wouldn’t have believed it. It wasn’t a conscious decision, just something that sort of happened.
I’d gotten annoyed with it before and deactivated my account only to reactivate, out of boredom, a few hours later.
However this time was different. I had a weekend of being annoyed with people. I deactivated on a whim and the next day deleted the app.
I wouldn’t have considered myself addicted to Facebook by any means. I opened the application a few times a day during down time, scrolled a bit, checked notifications then went back to my day.
At first I thought, “I’ll just take a few days off till I’m less annoyed.” Then at some point I gave myself the challenge to go without a month.
What did I learn?
Other people notice your absence more than you do
The first day I found myself grabbing my phone to open the app every so often out of habit, but that quickly passed. Within a day I started getting text messages, “Did you delete your Facebook?” “Yes.” “Why?” …Because I wanted to! I even had a co-worker I haven’t seen in years contact me slightly angry because she thought I deleted her.
I got a number of messages inquiring why I’d done it and I was really surprised. One of my best friends even said to me, “How will I know what’s going on with you?” I told her, “You can text me like you just did or I can tell you when I see you like I normally do….”
I reconnected with self-validation
I didn’t need Facebook to confirm that I enjoyed things. We let social media confirm the validity of our lives and experiences. The phrase, “Pictures or it didn’t happen” has become too common. I can go to an awesome bar and have a great time without checking in on Facebook or posting selfies with my friends. I had an amazing month full of adventures. I went to the symphony, I saw John Legend in concert and a whole list of experiences I enjoyed even without announcing it to the world.
I didn’t need it to communicate
Twitter is people you don’t know and wish you knew, Facebook is people you know and wish you didn’t.
I’ll admit I didn’t cut out all forms of social media. I have always been a self-proclaimed Twitter whore. I love getting 140 character knowledge of my favorite celebrities, random jokes and uberfacts. I don’t use Twitter to communicate with my friends and after a month off Facebook I realized I don’t really use Facebook for that either. The people I speak to on a regular basis stayed the same. A friend of mine sent me a text telling me the plans for her birthday because I’m “not on Facebook.” Yes it was slightly more work to text me then to just add me to the invite list on Facebook, but she wanted me there so it wasn’t an inconvenience.
(Side bar if your “friend” is too lazy to call or text you to invite you to something then they probably aren’t worth the uncomfortable heels and cheap shots birthdays usually inspire.)
I was less annoyed
Scrolling through a feed of hundreds of people I don’t communicate with is overwhelming and can cause negative emotions. It was refreshing to not be constantly bombarded with information I really don’t want or need to know. Its everyone’s prerogative to post about their lives. That is what most people use social media for; sharing and venting. But subjecting myself to ill-informed political rants, over exaggerated life event announcements, T.V. spoilers and stressful social expectations on a daily basis can be exhausting. The truth is most people’s friend list are filled with people, they hardly know. A good third of my Facebook friends are the results of parties and school projects, people I haven’t seen in years or met only a handful of times.
I completed my month successfully and still haven’t reactivated. I’m sure I will but right now I feel no urgency to do so. I whole heartedly recommend taking the occasional break from time to time just for perspective and the opportunity to clear your head.