I have written in the past about Facebook as well as taking breaks from it – Facebook Robots, Goodbye Again Facebook, Hello Again Blog, My MIA month from Facebook. One thing always occurred after deactivating Facebook; I ultimately reactivated it and resumed the bad habit of wasting my life (or at least most of my evenings) away on it.
I think for a lot of people becoming addicted to social media tends to be like consuming sugar. Nearly all of us enjoy it on a daily basis and think that as long as we’re not over-doing it then we’re fine. The thing about both though is that they find a way of sneaking into our lives and affecting us more than we realize. In the case of sugar it’s hidden in so many foods under so many ingredient names it’s nearly impossible to avoid even when we’re actively trying to do so. Facebook is even sneakier though. While we may be committed to limiting our time on it (some may even set a timer to ensure they’re sticking to their goals) we can’t easily see the long term psychological effects it has on us. If too much sugar can warp our physical health and lead to diabetes, then too much Facebook can sabotage our mental well being and turn us into narcissists.
I deactivated Facebook in September, not long after posting pics to show off Jason and my wonderful cruise with friends. The drama over NFL players kneeling during the playing of the anthem pushed me to a breaking point; I was literally sick of seeing nonstop posts and people fighting each other over it. I figured like most of my Facebook breaks in the past that within a few weeks I would be back on it. Besides reactivating for about 15-20 mins in Dec. I haven’t returned nor do I foresee returning.
I will add in that Jason also deactivated his Facebook around the same time and that certainly was a help in cementing my decision to quit for good. If neither of us had any gossip to share from the news feed then there was no chance of either of us wanting to reactivate it.
It goes without saying that by not wasting my evenings scrolling away on Facebook, I have begun blogging more frequently. It was if I actually added time back to the day. That is just the tip of the iceberg though.
I have started to learn what it means to truly blog, to develop a voice and writing style and engage with others who inspire my writings through the reading of theirs. Unlike Facebook where there is this underlying expectation to “like” most of what your friends and family post, when I like someone’s writing I’m liking it because it truly resonated with me. I like to think that bloggers who like my writings are doing it for the same reason.
I’m also finding that most bloggers are “real” in the sense that they post the good and the bad, not just try to showcase the best elements of their life or dramatize the worst ones. They’re not writing just for attention (like most people’s reason for posting Facebook statuses or pics), but to share a piece of themselves be it as a stress outlet, hobby or a means of connecting with others. When others post vacation pictures it’s to share their experiences rather than to just show them off. I have learned about so many places (and have now added them to my mental “must see before I die” list) because of bloggers who write about their adventures and not just post photos as is often the case on Facebook. I have discovered recipes, books, travel advice and running tips all through expanding my blog subscriptions. Adding more friends on Facebook never did that.
I never put much thought into writing my Facebook statuses. Those that I did, such as when the Dakota Access Pipeline protest was going on, seemed to never inspire or educate people in the way that I had hoped. Quite often posting a mundane status about a new recipe turning out well garnered more attention than posts about the environment. It was discouraging and fueled the cynicism and “glass half empty” mindset that I already struggled with at times. I don’t have that problem with blogging. Even if I write a post and it doesn’t generate any likes, I know that there is the possibility of someone, somewhere connecting to that piece. Not to mention the writing of the post itself enhances my skills and improves me as a writer. I can’t say posting a new Facebook status everyday ever did that.
By blogging more I feel that my mind is sharper. Instead of dulling it by scrolling memes, selfies and attention seeking posts, I am getting my creative juices flowing, exploring new writing styles and becoming more confident with each post. Blogging helps balance my mind much the way that running does. Reading posts by other wonderful writers (some of whom have deeper insight than I do or wittier ways of writing) expands my mind and makes me ponder new subjects either to research or write about myself.
I know there are those who will argue the benefits of Facebook, and I will admit I miss the ease of being able to find local events by seeing who else has “liked” them or are going to them. In general though the strides I’ve made with my blog and personally have a writer are well worth quitting Facebook for good.