Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Farewell to Facebook


School has just started, and I have to be on my game – it’s only 6 months until I graduate, and I need to focus on my classwork. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey provided a delightful diversion...and with purchase of the soundtrack and the book, it became an extended one.

In an audit of my time, I found Facebook to be the worst time-waster…so I decided to cut it out of my day completely – at least for seven days. Adding to this was the recent social network battle over gun rights – either side gets annoying after a while, no matter where on the spectrum you fall. I wound up being sucked into several of these conversations/debates/screaming matches – which, to tell you the truth, is not how I desire to spend my time on the internet.

This is how this thing will work: I will abstain from Facebook for seven days. I will write my reflections below, for your amusement. Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to read and/or comment on this post.

So, the big question…will I succumb to temptation and post – or will I succeed in weaning myself slowly off of the internet social network demon?


Day 1 – A Little Bit Nervous:
Confession (it’s not good, when the first day starts with a confession, is it?) – I did “like” a couple of things, which most likely resulted in postings on my wall…but I did not go to the site itself. All in all, the day was a success. I was having serious cravings for a Facebook Fix, however – when I needed a break from daily activities, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t doing Facebook – so I have to find something constructive to do. My American History reading assignments actually got done today!

Day 2 – The Sweats
I keep having to fight the desire to post. I remind myself – almost hourly – that I’m not that important. I mean…really. Who in their right mind gives a shit about the mundane daily activities of my life? My “problems” are nothing more than minor annoyances.

Day 3 – The Cravings Begin to Subside
Today, I honestly forgot, for long stretches of time, that there was such a thing as Facebook. It’s amazing what you can get done when you’re not surfing your News Feed, or commenting on the lives and opinions of others. Today, I volunteered at the Multnomah County Library, as I do every week - I process and shelve holds…it’s good practice for a future job as a Library Paraprofessional. I wrote an email to the Circulation Coordinator at my library, as a preemptive measure to setting up an internship in the spring. I did a Pilates video, which used an exercise ball exclusively. I came to the conclusion that a sadist must have invented Pilates (my core muscles are horribly weak – that is all my fault), and had the desire to post that on Facebook. Of course, I didn’t bend to the temptation. I also completed my American History test today, and read my assigned coursework in my Cataloging class. I also did all the dishes, and a load of laundry. I was just going to start work on my short English Lit essay, when I remembered this blog post. This experiment is proving to be a productive one.

Day 4: Getting along fine without it!
Today, I went to the store to get some exercise equipment, worked out, finished my English Lit Essay, and went out to eat with hubby at Red Robin. I threw a load of laundry into the dryer. Hubby and I went to the grocery store and spent a little more than we should have. We were supposed to meet a friend for dinner tonight, but that didn’t happen – she is very ill. So, I am putting together a “Get Well Soon” basket, and will deliver that tomorrow. I am very, very, tired. I thought little about Facebook – I thought about it even less than yesterday!

Day 5 – Too busy to care!
I got up early this morning – well, earlier than usual. I got together all the items for our friend’s gift basket, and drove it up there. She and I talked for hours. I fetched lunch at Subway, her treat. I made it home around 7:30PM to feed the dog and let him out – he was VERY glad to see me! When I got home, I watched a little bit of TV (those Roseanne reruns always suck me in!), did some quick studying, and then completed a test for my Cataloging course. I turned in my report for English Lit, and checked to see if I had anything to do for history – nope, I’m all caught up. I’m now preparing to do my reading assignments for next week for both History and English – I seem to have a little more productive time on my hands now that I quit Facebook.

Day 6 – What is this thing you call “Face book?”
Today, I only thought of going onto Facebook once or twice – schoolwork and quality time with the hubby and dog kept me busy. I rearranged the baking cupboard, wiped down the counters, and did the dishes. I read Chapter 5 of my history textbook, cooked jambalaya, and I’ve started to replace the sugar in my coffee, cereal, tea (and other foods and beverages) with Splenda. The hubby and I went out on a nice long walk for exercise today – and like every other day this week, we’ve walked the dog twice a day instead of once. The pup is actually tired at night, and it cuts down on the *ahem* “canine flatulence.” I rearranged the kitchen implement pegboard, and we went out to Fred Meyer’s to get a few odds and ends. I barely thought about the internet at all, except to check my online school – which, I’m glad I did, because there was a pop quiz in my English class, due tomorrow by 11:00am. I finished that and I’m now on my way to bed!

Day 7 – The Last Day
On the last day, I did what I did on most days – I cooked, I did chores, and I did schoolwork. I read the final chapter of my history homework and finished an Essay on Alice Walker’s “Everyday Use” for my English Lit class. I was energetic all day – I even helped my husband to paint one wall in our house.  I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and then we went on a long walk. I notice that I’ve been getting a lot more exercise this week - and I have been more mindful, more "present" than I have been for a long time.



I have been shocked at the amount of things I could be doing while perusing Facebook. I know that Facebook has good qualities – like connecting friends from across the world, or allowing people to vent their innermost feelings, or to be a part of a group, when you feel all alone. But it also enables procrastination. The oversharing phenomenon – where everyone thinks that their opinions and experiences are interesting, regardless of the truth – has imprinted on my mind. For the first few days after swearing off Facebook, I fell prey to these thoughts, but then I realized that I’m not really all that important; my thoughts aren’t really that interesting. I was strangely comforted in this fact – I mean; after all, I survived before Facebook. I also noticed that my stress level had gone down, since I don’t have to see those politically charged posts about gun control or abortion, or whatever the hell the media wants to politicize this week.

I don’t know if I’ll quit Facebook entirely – I do have friends that I can contact only through Facebook, and groups that I really like to participate in. But I’ll definitely cut down a lot – when I stopped, I saw a marked increase in productivity and focus.

Have you anything to add? Have you done a similar experiment? If you have, feel free to post a link to it in the comments – I may just update my post to reflect your observations.