Things I Know : The Facebook Edition

I recently took a 3 week break from Facebook. This was brought on by the fact that I could not be separated from it for more than 10 minutes. Literally. Whenever I would refresh the app on my iPhone I would see that it was last refreshed exactly 10 minutes ago, almost every time. It was uncanny.

So one afternoon I got up the courage and just did it. In the three weeks I was “off” I had a few observations, so I started making notes. Here’s what I know about not being on FB.

  • You have real conversations with people when you see them, because for once, you actually don’t already know what is going on in their lives. It is so great!
  • You find out who your real friends are. The people who email you and say, “Where did you go!?” Or people who still text and email you to find out how you are, what you’re up to, and keep in touch, even though they have to make that extra effort.
  • A night out to dinner and drinks involves actually taking in the experience, interacting with the people you’re with, and having a good time, rather than spending the night with your nose stuck to your mobile because you are checking in/posting pics/ or more interested in what your FB community is doing than doing what YOU are doing!
  • Like any good addict, when one addiction is taken away, you replace it with another. My twitter addiction has grown since being off FB, and my number of tweets has about doubled. Moral of the story is you can ditch one addiction, but it doesn’t make you addiction-free or necessarily give you any spare time. You just spend your time elsewhere.
  • It’s actually really inconvenient NOT to be on FB. Meaning, when you’re planning a party, or you’re a guest of a party being planned, MOST of that is done via FB messages/events, etc. So when you’re not on there, you have to actually figure out how to contact everyone or they have to figure out how to contact you, and then REMEMBER to update you on information. I know it is sad, a little bit crazy, but these are the times, and people should adjust.
  • You miss out on a LOT of things by NOT being on FB. You miss out on pictures that you otherwise wouldn’t see, announcements – new jobs, babies, weddings. People don’t actually think to notify anyone outside of the generic FB status/message, so if you’re not on there, chances are they’ll forget you don’t know. Maybe it means you’re not that good a friend, maybe it just means they’ve succumbed to the Great Black Hole that is Facebook.
  • Just as you miss out on seeing updates/pictures from family and friends across the world, so do they miss out on your updates. I did have a few people contact me and tell me they missed my updates and pics of Nick. It’s especially hard on family who live so far away, unless you are going to send them frequent emails with pics and news.
  • People are either surprised at what you have done, and think perhaps you’ve completely gone off the deep end, how could anyone live without FB?! Or they are jealous. I wish I had $10 for every time I heard, “Oh I wish I could do the same thing!”
  • Housework gets done, dinner gets cooked, books get read, and generally everything is right with the world, when you do not have the distraction of FB.

I actually really enjoyed being off FB. I have since reactivated my account but have made a lot of changes. I have unliked, unsubscribed and unfollwed a lot of pages and people who I never interacted with and vice versa. It clears out the timeline, which I found I had to read every single thing that had been updated since last I was on.

If I’m going to have a mutually beneficial relationship with FB there are some ground rules I’m going to have to implement.This list may get added to along the way.

  • No Facebook in the mornings before taking Nick to kindy or before Nick’s bed time.
  • No Facebook before showering/house chores etc.
  • Unsubscribe/unlike/unfollow any page/person I do not interact with
  • App on phone to be used for uploading pics only
I’ve now been back on FB for about 5 days and I can go most of the day without even thinking to look at it. My news feed as slowed waaaaay down, so I only see what I am really interested in. I could not believe the amount of stuff I was subscribed to and how long the unsubscribing process was. I was tempted to just start a new account and just add close family and friends. And more proof my addiction is gone replaced, when I opened my web browser this morning, without thinking, I clicked on the Twitter bookmark, not the FB one.
Maybe it’s time for a break from Twitter????

How much time do you spend on Facebook and how do you regulate it? Are you addicted?

Linking up with Singular Insanity for Things I Know


8 thoughts on “Things I Know : The Facebook Edition

  1. I have also cut back my time on FB but haven’t deactivated my account. The quicker net ration on Twitter appeals to me but FB is good for keeping up with what is happening to everyone else. I don’t have heaps of friends so only read about things happening t people that I want to know about (on the whole anyway).

    Hope you don’t stop tweeting – I would miss you heaps but would totally understand if you did.

    Love, hugs and positive energy.

    • FB is so much easier without all the crap! When you just get notifications about your true friends, NO pages (or at least only a handful instead of hundreds) it makes it so easy to look at it and be done in 5 minutes. I find if I post something I check it more often to see if anyone has responded, but I’m not posting much and I think that will stop. I hope. It feels good to use it moderately!

  2. It can be an addiction, can’t it? Same with Twitter. I try to limit my FB time, but have it on and off during the day, as I work from home. I tend to used to catch up on news from friends and blogs, rather than to actually post stuff, unless it is on my blog page.

    Glad you got some learnings from your experiment and that you were able to put them into action.

    Thanks for linking up with Things I know!

    • It is certainly the easiest way to keep in touch with people. In a sense, I’m thankful for that – I’d rather know through facebook than not know, I guess, but it can be very impersonal and also leaves you open to people “stalking” (use the term lightly) you.

  3. I have a smaller scale experiment planned for one of the break weeks in SYL – i want to take a whole week off the blog/ FB everything and go back to my pre-blogging / pre-social media life and compare

    glad you are back even if in reduced amounts ; )

    • Oh man, are we going to all have to do that?!!? LOL. Actually, after going 3 weeks without FB I am confident I could go a whole week with none of it – FB/Twitter/Blog.

  4. Great observations! I especially felt enlightened By the one about people not always notifying others anymore outside of FB. Ivenever thought about it that way, but you’ve got a point! I do check FB almost daily and usually several times a day. I wouldn’t say I’m addicted but I have done the refresh numerous times in a few minutes on occasion. Iwas on twitter a lot at one stage too but as we tweeted, I cut back. It’s a lot more time consuming to follow what’s been happening by back tracking conversations and the to try and find the right place to jump in. It feels like a skipping game I played as a kid when you had to time it just right otherwise you stopped the momentum and ruined the game. I also found I put a lot in but didn’t regularly enough get any responses so I thought I needed to prioritise where best to spend my time. I now tend to only get on twitter when I’m settling my girls to sleep or a feed in the morning so I am not on for long. If I get dragged into a fruitful conversation, I’ll stay a bit, otherwise I jump off and use my time elsewhere. Sorry for the essay!

    • The whole people not notifying people off FB thing came up b/c of a friend’s hens night. The organiser said “Oh, I’ll email you all the info” and in 3 weeks I didn’t hear anything about the party! So I’d probably have missed out! It’s just the easiest/quickest way to reach everyone, it’s just people don’t think there’s anyone NOT on facebook! Twitter is hard for me when I’ve worked all day and haven’t been on, I miss SO MUCH, but I’ve learned to let that go now!

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