Last month I decided to give up Facebook except for a few minutes each day to post things to the various pages that I maintain for work. I signed out of Facebook on my phone and installed the Stay Focusd Chrome extension to limit myself to ten minutes per day of Facebook time. Here’s what I’ve learned about Facebook and myself over the last month of not using Facebook.
Facebook Makes It Hard to Quit Facebook
As the manager of Facebook business pages I can schedule Facebook posts to appear at later times. I usually schedule Facebook posts on Thursday or Friday to appear over the weekend. So the first weekend that I went without Facebook I didn’t post anything or log into my account. On Monday morning Facebook sent me an email notifying me of 38 updates that I “might have missed.” These weren’t updates from my pages, they were updates from my friends about their dogs, cats, kids, and political rants.
Scrolling Isn’t Reading or Learning
Sure, I can follow some interesting pages about my favorite topics and I might pick up a few tidbits here and there, but that’s not nearly as effective as just Googling a topic of interest, going directly to an informative website, reading a book, or diving into a message board that is dedicated to a topic. I’ve gotten a lot more out of my time by going directly to topics of interest than scrolling through Facebook posts that are loosely associated to topics of interest.
I Can Read More Books
I’ve finished three books in the last month by simply picking them up and reading a page or two at those times that I might have scrolled through Facebook.
Fewer Moments of Melancholy and Annoyance
Those of us who are prone to bouts of being melancholy aren’t helped by scrolling through Facebook. Even if it’s done subconsciously we’re making comparisons to others and to ourselves. That’s not good.
No one has ever been convinced to change his/her mind about politics based on a Facebook meme. Not seeing those has reduced the number of times that I’ve been annoyed about things that I can’t control.
Lots of Other Ways to Waste Time
I’ve found that there are plenty of other ways to waste time. But at least now I’m making a conscious choice to read a book or browse stock charts when I should be completing a work task.
All in all, giving up Facebook has made me think about how I use my time during the day. It’s also let me look at the world around me with the wide eyes that I had before Facebook came along.