Giving up Facebook for Lent

My cousin’s birthday was 2/13 and last week I texted her to apologize to her for forgetting to call her.  She replied that I had posted on her Facebook and all was good. I honestly had forgotten that I sent her a cute message complete with a fancy image and everything.  That’s because I have not been on Facebook since February 14th.  I gave Facebook up for Lent this year.  Let’s talk about it.

Of all of the things to give up for a little over a month, Facebook was the first thing that came to mind.   Last year I got into the planner community and went more analogue. I started keeping a paper planner and journal.  This was critical in getting me out of my writers block and it helped me to get back into writing down my own thoughts.  For the past year I have been keeping paper journals where I can just say what I want and not worry about filtering it so that people don’t think I am crazy.

Then something crazy dawned on me. Social society is meant to be expand on our network, and reach out to people we don’t see often. but here I was censoring myself, and my friends.  I found that people didn’t really engage if you got too deep, and posts that I thought would start a conversation just got likes and laugh emojis.  I decided I needed a step back to figure out what this meant to me

I came up with a list last week of things that I disliked about Facebook and things that I actually missed.

Things I dislike about Facebook – and that I am also guilty of

  1. I have too many “friends” with whom I don’t interact.  I am guilty of this too.  I have hidden/unfollowed people who I am not close with because I am afraid to just unfriend them.  I feel like I am hoarding and then hiding from “friends” when what I need to be doing is reaching out and fostering better friendships with my close friends and acquaintances.
  2. It’s not real life and it just makes people sad sometimes. Everyone tries to be perfect or funny or have the best opinion but most of the time we are just brain farting onto the screen.  Many conversations devolve into jokes, and there is no real substance to looking at the world’s best tuna sandwich.
  3. Emotions are high and politics are loud right now. In fact they are louder than I have ever remembered them being.  Social society tends to talk and think with their feelings and not with facts.  There is false information everywhere and so sometimes we are yelling but at something that isn’t even real. Who wants to debate over a fake economy article with someone you have-not talked to face to face since you were both failing economics in high school?
  4. Facebook is a time waster. I have been logged out since 2/14 and already I have written something every day. I have read close to 4 actual books, learned a new sewing skill, and actually completed 2 sewing projects. Even with games still on my phone I am way more productive in less than a month while not on it. I actually feel like I have more time.
  5. My family and friends actually call/text reach out to me now.  I could go weeks without a text message from some people.  Now that I am not on telling everyone what I am doing every moment of every day, they are calling to see what I am up to.  This has led to quality interactions and conversations.  This is one thing I am really happy about.  I actually have had really great conversations with people in the past few weeks, on my phone or by text message. There is something to be said about this point alone!
  6. This weekend I was attending an online summit but didn’t to realize that all of the links were going to be posted only to a private Facebook group.  So I did have to break my fast on Saturday to get the links for the summit. As I logged in I kept to my own promise that I was going to be in and out. I saw that I had over 100 notifications and ignored them.  I was pulling the link file from the private group when I got a chat message.  It turned out to be a friend asking me to join their MLM group. I got what I needed from the private group and got out.

Things I like and find useful about Facebook

  1. My private groups.  I have several active, engaging and fun private groups.  I really miss everyone on them right now.  I feel like I interact with them more than I had with some people I actually know.
  2. Seeing updates from family and friends, especially with all of the crazy weather, we have been having.  I am keeping in touch but it’s nice to just make sure people are okay.  The platform is useful for that.
  3. “Being there” for events when they happen, like when a friend has a milestone, or a far away family member gets married, graduates, or just does something they are really proud of and sharing in that moment with them.
  4. Events/Birthdays and local events.  I miss those, but it also makes me think that I need to add a birthday list to my perpetual bullet journal so that I have that with me.  That’s something I have already started to tackle.  I suck at remembering birthdays/anniversaries

So thats about it really.  What I plan to do next is spend some time reflecting on these two lists to see what to do.  I find these lists both encouraging and telling.  The goal now is to decide IF I want to come back and if the answer is yes, WHAT that would look like.  It’s time to make the algorithm work for me.