Last year, I spent a lot of time on Facebook. A lot. Some of that time was usefully spent (sending encouraging messages, organizing things for our wedding, etc.) but most of it, well, wasn’t. Facebook would be the thing I would turn to when I was bored, had a spare moment, or when I was looking for a confidence boost. Not very healthy reasons, huh? Plus, I found that it was causing me a lot of mental anxiety.
“Oh no…I posted that picture half an hour ago and only 3 people have liked it!”
“Why hasn’t anyone responded to the thought-provoking question that I asked in my status?”
“She got 99 likes on that photo…I wish I was as popular as her…”
That was often my internal monologue as I was scrolling through my feed, and it reeked of comparison and discontent. Again, not very healthy, huh?
So, at the end of 2013, I decided to experiment. What would happen if I only got on Facebook once a month? I didn’t want to commit to jumping ship for an entire year, because (let’s face it) Facebook can be a good source of information, especially when it comes to people contacting you or being invited to events. I posted my plan and alternative ways of contacting me, and then logged my merry self off.
Enter one whole month of Facebook silence.
Let me tell you…It. Was. Glorious.
My word for 2014 is SIMPLIFY. My husband and I got on this whole “minimalistic” kick a few weeks ago, and ever since then we’ve been purging our possessions and paring down our time commitments. Incidentally enough, our pastor started a series called “Simplify” just a few weeks after we’d gotten the idea stuck in our heads. You can listen to those sermons here.
Getting off of Facebook was a huge step for me in the direction of Simplicity. Here’s why:
I wasted too much time on Facebook.
Getting off gave me time to focus on more important things.
I compared myself to others on Facebook.
Getting off relieved my mind of unnecessary discontentment.
I had been replacing face-to-face contact with people with virtual relationships.
Getting off encouraged me to connect with people outside of the internet.
Today, I logged on for the first time in a month. I checked my messages and event invites, scrolled through my feed, posted a brief status update, and then logged off. It’s refreshing to no longer feel tied to a website!
5 Tips for conducting your own Facebook Experiment:
- Let people know you’re going to be off Facebook. That way, you won’t be worrying about whether or not someone is trying to get in contact with you. If they want to get in touch with you, they’ll find a way outside of Facebook.
- Set your Timeline. Maybe once a month is too long for you. That’s ok! Try once a week to start with. Want to go all in? Try only getting on once every 3-4 months, or even deleting your profile altogether!
- Know why you’re doing it. Do you want more time with your family and friends? Does seeing someone else’s gazillion “likes” make you feel inadequate? Do you find yourself substituting face-to-face relationships with Facebook friendships?
- Have someone else be your “Password Keeper”. Will you be tempted to log on outside of your timeline? Have your spouse or a trusted friend change your password for you. That way, you’ll have accountability and you’ll have to ask for the password before you can get back on.
- Delete the Facebook app from your Smartphone. This was huge for me! My phone is always on me, and I would find myself opening the Facebook app whenever I got bored. Deleting the app deletes the temptation.
What can you gain by getting off of Facebook?