I expected that giving up Facebook for a month would be difficult. We hear so much about social media addiction and the constant need to be connected to our networks and phones. I have not been immune: mainly out of a sort of obsessive-compulsive habit, I was opening Facebook probably dozens of times a day. I don’t know what I thought I was missing, but just that quick flip calmed me – particularly in this age of near-constant changes in politics that feel life-changing at a moment’s notice.
I deactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts the evening of 3/6 and removed the apps from my phone. I realized a few days in that I couldn’t fully deactivate Facebook without causing myself a bunch of grief with work and connected logins, so I allowed the platform to reopen my account (when I needed to check some numbers in an ad platform) but I never signed back in. I have to say – I haven’t missed it much at all.
The time I was spending flipping open that damn app icon is now devoted to reading, give or take, half an hour a day. I’m able to really focus and enjoy TV shows I’m watching rather than half-listening while scrolling through an endless feed of photos I’m not in and don’t honestly care about.
I miss the status updates from some of my groups – one woman in particular is going through a rough time in her family and I want to know how that’s unfolding and how she’s holding up. We’re only Facebook friends so when I cut out Facebook, I cut out her and everyone in that group.
I’m also slightly annoyed about random events – trying to figure out if it’s half priced wine night at some restaurant I like, or if trivia is still happening even though it’s snowing. Things like that. Facebook serves as the primary resource for that kind of information and I feel a little blind without it. But you know what? It hasn’t impacted my life all that much. And if it did, I would pick up a phone and actually (gasp!) call someone.
We went to a caboose cabin in Asheville, NC and hit Greenville, SC for business on the way up. I took pictures but forgot about looking to see if people had Liked them, because I didn’t post them. I enjoyed my time with my kid and husband. We saw goats and bison and chickens, we ate at my favorite childhood restaurant (J Arthur’s in Maggie Valley), and we cooked hot dogs and s’mores around the campfire. We went to a Brazilian steakhouse, hit the breweries, and had fun at Cameron’s 1-year photo shoot with our friend Cami.
And we didn’t need to announce all of that in real time to my social network because frankly – nobody else cares that much!
I’m about halfway through this social media detox and I may just continue for a while. I thought this would be an insanely hard transition but it’s actually just been a breath of fresh air. If Trump does something so insane our lives are in danger, we’re probably all screwed anyway. And if he doesn’t, I’ll just hope I hear through a longer grapevine about his impending impeachment.
So I hope all of you guys are doing well. I hope you’re still loving being vegan, getting lots of baby giggles, enjoying the single life, bitching about the latest political outrage (I stand in solidarity with you and have not stopped my offline activism!), crafting, cooking, singing, photographing, running, and traveling. I still love you. But I don’t miss your online profile. And I’m willing to bet you don’t miss mine.
Books I’m reading with all my extra time!
*Janesville – REALLY well-written. Empathy-inspiring. Although not as much as…
*How To Kill a City – holy CRAP have we been awful to People of Color in this country. A study of Gentrification 101 in some of America’s key cities. (Detroit will BLOW YOUR MIND.)
*What Happened by Hillary Clinton – it took a long time to dry my liberal snowflake tears and open this book again. But I’m in the home stretch. It’s okay. It’s infuriating. It’s a little pandering. But it has one of the best quotes I’ve seen that sums up all of the books above:
“There’s been so much said and written about the economic hardships and declining life expectancy of the working class whites who embraced Donald Trump. But why should they be more angry and resentful than the millions of blacks and Latinos who are poorer, die younger, and have to contend every day with entrenched discrimination?
…After studying the French Revolution, (de Tocqueville) wrote that revolts tend to start not in the places where conditions are worst, but in places where the expectations are most unmet. So if you’ve been raised to believe your life will unfold a certain way – say, with a steady union job that doesn’t require a college degree but does provide a middle-class income, with traditional gender roles intact and everyone speaking English – and then things don’t work out the way you expected, that’s when you get angry. It’s about loss. It’s about the sense that the future is going to be harder than the past.”
*And I mean, of course I read Fire and Fury… which was fascinating, but really, it’s more like a 20/20 exposé than a real book.