Breaking Up with Facebook

I got my Facebook account in 2005. What this means is I have never been a grownup without Facebook, save the occasional stretch of a couple weeks at a time at Lent or in Uganda with limited internet access. Some good things have come out of it: renewing and deepening friendships when geography or life stage brings us into proximity, selling my kids’ old stuff to only semi-strangers, having a rich and mildly embarrassing collection of internet-hosted photos from the last 13 years at my fingertips at all times.

But mostly I waste a lot of time.

This Lent I structured my fast differently: I set up the Moment app to track my phone usage and also made a rule that I could only use Instagram and Facebook when my kids were asleep.

And you know what? Even with my self-imposed restriction, I was using each a half hour a day.

To be fair, I’m still logging a couple hours most evenings nursing and reading while J works beside me. It’s not like I could be mopping or painting or sleeping (don’t tempt me) or something. But it’s also not as though I’m busy managing a Facebook page for work or even this blog, either. It’s just cruising around and seeing what grabs me, pretty much, and morbidly reading way too many articles about freak accidents and the ways I am/am not screwing up my children.

I was explaining this to friends over Easter chocolate chess pie and just decided: I’d deactivate and take it from there.

And it’s been ok. I haven’t just switched to an hour on instagram, which I worried I might, so it is carving out time for reading and writing.

What I have actually missed:

  • Pictures of my mother’s garden
  • The occasional incredible local secondhand deal
  • Consulting my local Facebook friends for advice

The hardest thing, embarrassingly, has been losing a lot of my blog readership. (How vain is that?!) I wish I had left up a notice longer that I was going off Facebook so people would know where I’d gone, but I also realize it matters way less than I imagine it does.

I might go back on Facebook someday if I can use it like a responsible adult, but I might not. I might go off Instagram or drastically reduce my feed so that I’m spending less time on there, but I love it as a way to be mindful about photographing my everyday life, and I feel like I glean good inspiration in my faith life and homeschooling through having a feed made up of unstaged, creative, thoughtful people.

I loved Jenny Uebbing’s recent post on her own struggle with social media:

I hate that this is such a struggle for me. I hate that I’m modeling poor boundaries for my kids, who aren’t even allowed to play video games or use screens without mommy or daddy present. It’s hypocritical as hell, and I know it, and yet I wave them off with a guilty internal resolve to do better “tomorrow,” because gosh darn it, today is hard and I need a little distraction fix.

I am not morning sick anymore and I don’t need an escape. I need to engage with my beautiful, ever-shifting life. And if such a commitment requires me to leave the phone on another floor of the house to do that and miss the ongoing conversation of the day, so be it, I guess.

Do you ever accidentally swipe the wrong way and then you’re on selfie screen shot mode sitting in bed scrolling Facebook or whatever? Below is how I look using social media. I’m not saying you look this way, too, like a cave-dwelling, double-chinned Gollum, but, I mean, you probably do.

How I look not using social media*:

So, all this to say: I didn’t unfriend you, and if you still want to talk, let’s do it here, or by email. (I’m as uncreative as you’ve come to expect–just my full name at gmail.)

I still like you. I just don’t like who I am with too much social media.

*ok, I posted this photo on Instagram (so, you know, social media.) But not Facebook!! Baby steps, my friends.

6 thoughts on “Breaking Up with Facebook

  1. Wow! So funny we both wrote similar pieces on the same day.. Except FB is harder for some and Instagram hard for others.. wonder why that it! I also got FB in 2005. Got ride of my account in 2016 then re-upped FB in 2017. But I have a lot less friends and use it mostly for the FB groups. Thanks for sharing!

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    • I loved your piece! I had written this and queued it for later but friends were starting to notice I wasn’t on Facebook and I wanted to offer a blanket explanation 🙂 I think in post-Lent a lot of us are trying to decide what changes should be permanent!

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  2. Yay welcome to the clubbbbb! I gave up fb about a year ago, and I haven’t looked back. I love not being on fb, which is surprising, because I was possibly addicted. It’s nice to actually contact people when I want to talk to them rather than just happening to see what they are up to on social media.

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    • Right after I posted this I accidentally left my phone at my husband’s office for about 18 hours and while it was liberating, it almost made me itchy! It definitely reaffirmed my decision and made me want to keep going down this path.

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