Monday, February 23, 2015

Life Without Facebook: Take 2

So, last year on a whim I took the plunge and gave up Facebook for a month. It was fabulous.

Although I missed out on a lot of posts about The Bachelor and pictures of various babies and puppies and whatnot, the benefits far outweighed those costs: I looked at my phone less (once I gave up Google+ too), I didn't get caught up in whatever online drama was happening that day, I was more focused and productive at work, I got more sleep.

When the month was up and I got back on Facebook, I felt I had a better perspective on what it was all about.
I was able to filter the posts I wanted to see. I went through my friends list and made some changes. I could be out in public and NOT staring at my phone, flipping aimlessly through my newsfeed. I didn't feel tied to it anymore - it was simply a tool to share news and pictures and keep in touch.

Then, inevitably over the course of the year, I got sucked back in again. I got to the point where I was taking pictures simply because I wanted to be able to post something to Facebook. Like, if it's not on Facebook, it didn't happen. A couple of times I heard my seven-year-old say "Hey you should post that to Facebook!" Um, wait. Pardon? When did that become part of our vernacular?

The icing on the cake was a recent exchange in a group I'm a member of. As things in the online world often go, an innocuous post by a neighbour turned into a shitstorm of ridiculous controversy, partly due to my own witty remarks (that I found hilarious but others, sadly, did not). I'll spare you the details, but let's just say it got out of hand quickly and I realized - I (still) don't need this crap in my life.

Now, I love Facebook, truly. Hello -- George Takei. But... it does have a way of seeping into your life in ways that are unexpected and often unwelcome, and I really don't like that. So, when I heard that it was Lent again (remember -- I'm not a church goer ;) ) I thought, okay, this is it - I'm going to make a break for it.
life without facebook

Once again, I've given up Facebook for a month. 

But, this year it's a little different...

You see, I'm more connected there now. I manage a local buy/sell group. I'm a member of a fitness group that I've relied on to keep me accountable and share my treadmill wins. There are people who I am in contact with on Facebook and nowhere else. I'm an active member of a couple of moms groups who I rely on to keep me sane when the kids are determined to keep me crazy. I've joined a blogging community that I really just started to interact with right before this FB hiatus.

In other words, I'm even more entrenched in Facebook than ever before. Which is why, in my opinion, it was even more important to take a break this year. No one website should have that much influence on anyone's life -- especially when a lot of the influence is negative. The costs just don't outweigh the benefits anymore.

Now, I didn't say I was going to give up ALL social media. Lucky for me and my productivity, up to this point I'd never really gotten a handle on Instagram (semiurbanmom) and Twitter (@SarahInHalifax) and whatever other social media sites are popular with the kids these days. In order to stay connected for this month I've decided to broaden my horizons and figure them out once and for all. So -- if you want to reach me, you can find me there, or here, or via email... or hey, leave me a message on Facebook -- I just won't get it for a while :)