The Night The Lights Went Out on Facebook

If you are like most people, and I am, you are familiar with social media websites such as Facebook. And if you are really like me, you have a habit of checking your Facebook multiple times throughout the day. For many of us Facebook has become more of an addiction than just a way to keep in touch with friends and family.

My addiction to Facebook was becoming more and more apparent. A typical day for me consisted of waking up at 6:15 a.m. and before ever even leaving my bed opening up both Facebook and Instagram to see if anything had transpired between the hours of midnight and when I woke up. (Usually not). I’d then go for my morning walk, which I of course posted my route on Facebook, get ready for work and then leave the house. My phone would stay on my car seat next to me so that at stop lights I could quickly scroll through my Facebook feed. Once I got to work I would then open up two tabs on my computer; my email and Facebook. Throughout the course of the workday I’d chat on Facebook to anyone who would listen in between working on my work projects. I’d often find myself having to quickly close windows so that I wouldn’t be noticed or assumed to be goofing off by my boss. After leaving work I’d head home to my fiance and our cat. Once I’d get home we’d often make dinner and settle in for our tradition of watching Jeopardy and trying to clear our DVR of all of the shows that we had recorded. Of course, we both would have our laptops open to Facebook or Candy Crush (or any other random social media or messaging sites). Then it is time for bed and one last check of Facebook before trying to sleep. Repeat.

Does any of that sound familiar to anyone? (Boy, I hope I’m not the only one! 🙂

I don’t think all of Facebook is bad. It certainly is nice to keep up with family and friends that you don’t have the opportunity to see regularly. Once in a while there are even positive posts from happy people or encouraging words for friends in need. The majority of what I’ve seen on Facebook as of late however, is anger, hatred and bullying. Whether it were my Facebook ‘friends’ complaining about the weather or posting photos mocking complete strangers or a public comment thread, there was SO much negativity. I often found myself on local news posts or celebrity gossip threads where people were just downright hateful. I found myself feeling that I needed to fight the ‘good’ fight and defend those that were being bullied or wronged. This was  not bringing any positivity to my daily life… and if it isn’t benefiting me, why was I so dependent on it?

I made the decision yesterday that I was going to end this addiction and tune out of Facebook for a while. My fiance has coined it as a “blackout”. My goal with this ‘blackout’ is to try and become more present not to never return to Facebook. I want to be more mindful of all of the life that is going on around me and not numbing myself by staring at a screen of meaningless status updates. I want to enjoy my fiance’s company without distraction. I want to appreciate the simplicity of reading a good book while sitting on the porch watching birds and squirrels play  in our yard.

As of approximately 10 a.m. yesterday morning I have not been on Facebook.

I wish I could say it is so silly simple to just not go to a website; that I am in total control of my life… but every time I pick up my phone or look at the internet I’m tempted to pop open a new tab. I’m sure it’ll get easier as the days progress though.

I did notice yesterday though that I felt pretty good by the day’s end. Not only did I not have to feel any annoyances with posts I was seeing on FB but I also focused on things I felt could benefit me. I joined and applied to a website http://www.randomactsofkindness.org. I read a magazine that I previously hadn’t had time for, I worked on a crochet project that I haven’t touched in close to a year and thoroughly enjoyed my time with my fiance and our cat. I felt great by the time that I went to bed and I woke up this morning with a clear mind.

I intend to keep this post up to date as I go through the detox from Facebook. I look forward to documenting any changes (if any) that may occur with my mindset and happiness. At this point in time I’m feeling pretty good about the journey.

What do you think? Are you addicted to a social media site? Do you think you could give it up cold turkey? What benefits do you get out of using social media?

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Express Your Self(ie)

I had been waiting to find the perfect ‘blog’ topic to write about for my first post here. Thanks to a wonderfully written blog at www.KristenDuvall.com, I think I’ve found it.

You can’t be on any social media website without seeing your peers, friends or family posting a selfie. For me, selfies started back in the heyday of Myspace. It seemed every week (sometimes every day) the popular thing to do was to post a photo of yourself. Typically the photos were taken at an awkward angle that is meant to give the impression that you are ‘artistic’ or ‘thinner’ than you are but in actually just make you look like a bobble head doll.

When I originally started taking selfies it was more because it was the ‘popular’ thing to do moreso than looking for validation or to stroke my ego. At first I thought nothing of it but the older that I got the more I started noticing that some of my friends would post multiple photos that looked exactly the same. It started to become a nuisance on my Facebook feed, so much so to the point where I would even block people from my newsfeed. I started to realize that if I was becoming tired of seeing my friends’ faces then surely people out there were becoming tired of seeing MY mug. At that point I decided that I would back off from the daily ‘selfies’ and only post them if there was something really important that I wanted to share with everyone or if I was feeling particularly good about myself.

When the idea of looking back at your old selfies and showing a progression of where you’ve been came up, I was very thankful that I hadn’t completely cut out the selfie habit! I had a great trip down memory lane this morning as I looked through all of my old profile pics. I encourage everyone to do the same! If you’re anything like me, you’ll run though a gamut of emotions (hopefully mostly good)!

Here’s my journey from 2008 to present…
2008
Aug 2008
August 2008 – I had just gotten my first flat iron and was starting to come into myself. I had just split up from a relationship that I had believed would be my last.
Dec 2008
December 2008 – I chopped off all of my hair and finally ditched my glasses for contacts. I had also joined a gym and was feeling pretty darn snazzy 🙂

2009
Oct 2009
October 2009 – I was having a great time enjoying my singlehood!

2010
Feb 2010.jpgJan 2010
January and February 2010 – I had been going to the gym for a little over a year and was feeling really great with myself. I was very much into the outdoors, still single and going adventuring almost every weekend. Wishing I had someone to adventure with though.

March2010.jpg
March 2010 – I started hanging out with this guy. Brian was one of the first guys I had met in almost 2 years of singlehood that I felt a real connection with.  And now he’s my fiance 🙂

March2010 (2).jpg
March 2010 – This photo is probably more important to me now than it was at the time. Looking back I  notice how silly I was to be taking photos of myself in a movie theater bathroom..but at the same time knowing why I was since (imo) my body looks pretty darn good after that year + of gym 🙂

July 2010
July 2010 – This photo was taken the weekend that I told Brian I loved him for the first time 🙂

2011
Jan 2011 (2).jpg July 2011
January and July 2011 – It would seem that a lot of my self confidence comes in how my hair looks. These are probably two of my favorite selfies.

2012
March 2012November 2012
March and November 2012 – late in November I had to go back to wearing glasses because my contacts were annoying me…I also started losing interest in “doing” my hair. I know this doesn’t seem of utmost importance but these days I have a lot of self confidence issues and I feel like I can almost pinpoint late 2012 as being a point when I started to ‘let myself go’. I had a lot of stress at that time with buying a new home and I think I just lost my way. There were a lot less selfies in 2012 than any other year up to this point.

2013
May 2013
May 2013 – This year there were very few pictures of me unless they were sweaty after an exercise class. These are the times I felt/feel best about myself.

I notice a trend in looking at these photos. It is when I feel the best about myself that I truly feeling like sharing ‘me’ with the world. That has fallen to the wayside over the last year but hopefully 2014 will bring a more confident Mindy with a lot more selfies 🙂

What does your journey look like in selfies? Please consider commenting with a link to your “Selfie” blog, I’d love to see it!

Thanks for reading! Also, if you are to know any more about me I also have a website dedicated to my “journey to health”… check out mindygetshealthy.wordpress.com if you are interested!