The Great Facebook Experiment

So, it’s been two weeks without Facebook, and somehow, I’ve lived to tell about it. I’ve also found more time in my schedule to take care of things like cleaning the house, organizing the pile of paid bills and old junk mail on the kitchen counter, and reading a great little book called Bringing Up Bebe (which is fabulous by the way, and I’ll fill you in on that later).

More importantly, this little break gave me a fresh perspective on social media.

I’ll start by saying that I like Facebook for several reasons:

  • keeping up with friends that live in other states whom I love but will most likely never see again in person
  • remembering people’s birthdays (gotta love those little reminders that pop up on the side of your feed everyday)
  • learning of events related to work, the community, or various other social circles
  • corresponding with people for work at the church as many of them only respond to Facebook messages

However, what I noticed about myself during my time away from Facebook really bothered me:

1. There were several times I did something and quickly thought of a status update, but then realized I couldn’t post it because of my declared hiatus. Then I realized the update would have been pointless and wouldn’t bring value to anyone anyway and then I realized how pathetic it was to create status updates in my head (That’s a lot of realization in two weeks, boys and girls). The fact my brain even functioned like that so instantaneously scared me. Am I really so narcissistic that I think everyone needs to know every clever thought that passes through my brain? Gaah!

2. My head was so much clearer because I wasn’t storing information about everyone else’s life inside my head. Don’t get me wrong, I want to know what’s going on in my friends’ lives if I can support them in some way or enjoy their take on life, but knowing all those details just made my head hurt.

3. My husband and I had to come up with something else to talk about besides what we’d seen on Facebook that day. It only took Ryan two times to remember it was pointless to ask me if I’d seen something on Facebook, and then we had to come up with something else to discuss. Granted, we probably ended up talking about what we’d heard on NPR that day instead, but we made some progress. 🙂

So, what have I learned from this whole thing and will I give up Facebook for good? {insert dramatic music from 1940’s film noir here} :

1. Due to the fact that it exhausts me to know too much about another human being and because I’m so nosy that I can’t help but read everyone’s statuses, it’s not healthy for me to get on Facebook everyday.

2. See *creating status updates in my head* above and you’ll also realize it’s not healthy for me be on Facebook everyday because I would eventually become an over-sharer and no one is fond of that.

3. I know I can’t cut myself off from social media completely because I don’t want to bite that hand that feeds me, but I can set limits for myself as far as how often I use social media. I really like the idea one of my readers shared about checking Facebook and other social media at preset intervals in her day, much like you would check email. For me, checking Facebook once a week is just enough to see what’s going on without creating the overload I experienced before. Two weeks ago, I deleted all the social media apps on my phone so that should make it easier and less tempting to check Facebook so often.

What about you? Have you found ways to manage social media overload without being cut off from the rest of the world? If so, share what’s working for you. (Better yet, try going without your favorite social media for a week or two and come back and share what you’ve discovered.)

Hope you all have an excellent Monday!


3 thoughts on “The Great Facebook Experiment

  1. Cathy Baker says:

    It sounds like your experiment was a successful one! Despite the pressure to engage in the various social outlets, I currently limit myself to Facebook — checking it once, maybe twice, a day. If I miss a day, that’s okay too. While I appreciate its benefits, safeguarding my time and energy nears the top of my priority list.

  2. Abby says:

    Glad your experiment has gone well! I am the same way with randomly thinking of statuses to post, ha! I know that no one really cares…. but oh well. I was just asking Ryan yesterday how you were doing!!!!

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