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 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?