Saturday 25 January 2014

What I've learned from not being on Facebook for (nearly) a month

Sounds crazy, but I've probably used Facebook nearly everyday for the past seven years or so.  Which is why I figured it was time for a break.  Partly just to see if I could.  Self-discipline isn't a strong point, I've tried to limit myself to just once a day or once a week, but that didn't work.  If I had to say I was addicted to one thing, it would probably have been Facebook (and a cup of tea first thing in the morning!).

I share nearly all my photos on there - and I take a LOT of photos.  I probably 'update my status' most days, at least once.  I advertise events on there, have a 'page' for my poetry, and use the messages more than my personal email or my phone to contact friends.  Yeh, it was a big part of life.  Although I have a few times 'culled' some 'friends' - (e.g. the people that I probably wouldn't speak to if  I saw them at a party, because I never knew them that well to begin with!) I still have quite a large number of contacts on there.  This is mainly due to having lived in lots of places, gone to several places of education, and done a number of volunteering/projects/jobs where you meet a whole bunch of people and get to know them pretty quickly.

Living in Cornwall, away from friends and family, has made me use Facebook even more, to feel more connected with the rest of the world.  

So, in this relatively short time, what have I learnt/achieved from not being on Facebook?

1. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  I've only looked over hubby's shoulder at his account a couple of times, mainly to see if specific people had shared photos/information on a couple of specific big events (i.e. having a child!).  Funny thing is that they are more private than me, and don't share everything with the world - and this pushed me to make of an effort to skype/call/text them, which was better!

2. My close friends and family will make the effort to find out how I am, without facebook.

3. Not that many people seemed to notice I'm on it at the moment. [ I only had one email from an aunt checking that I was OK!  Oh and I think my mother-in-law may have thought I was ignoring her!].
  In a way this is humbling - there I was thinking that what I shared might have made a big difference to people.  But maybe it didn't.  Maybe no one cares. Waaaaaaaaa. Sob.  OK i'm exaggerating (sort of).  I have a different thought everyday on the sharing of thoughts and pictures on the internet.  I am undecided.

4. I already knew I was crap at remembering birthdays - so I'm not really surprised that without Facebook I have not been aware of one single one this month. Sorry :-S

5.  I am highly distract-able.  Without Facebook to turn my attention to whilst working at the computer at home, I have been using Twitter quite a bit more.  And have even started playing 'Candy Crush' on my phone to fill in awkward/boring moments like waiting for buses and when everyone else is doing 'stuff' on their phones.  I'm not usually a game person.  And feel a bit guilty.  But I may also be trying to prove a point to Mr Q about how unsociable it can be...  (I don't think he's noticed!)

Twitter's good in that it links you to a wider world, and I have discovered more blogs, read more articles and learned a little more.  However I have the same quandry about the validity of sharing things on the internet.  Why do I feel the need to do it?  What am I trying to prove?  And there will always be (a LOT of) people who say more interesting things, have (way) more followers, etc.  It gets me comparing myself and coming up short.  So yeh, not sure about that one, and I'm on it less now.

I have also read two or three novels this month which is more than I have in a long time, which I'm a little more pleased about than the other time-fillers I've found!

6. I have made more contact with specific friends this month than I have in a long time.  I've sent personal emails, phoned people and skype-d.  This was one of my aims for this year and it's definitely something I want to continue.  It's made me value the friendships I have more and realise I don't want to lose them simply out of not putting in enough effort.

7.  I don't feel like I've particularly missed out on any events or information - not that I'd know, I suppose!  Our social life in Cornwall wasn't exactly thriving anyways, so I doubt it's made much difference.  It might have done in Brighton though - and that's when you wonder if people will make the extra effort to invite or inform you.

8. Photos - the main thing that I share.  I thought that ones people were tagged in would remain visible, but I don't think they did.  Even so, no one's really said anything, so again maybe no one does care that much.  However if/when I return, I probably will continue sharing photos, because I still believe people like to see/have them.. It feels selfish and a waste to keep them all to myself!  But then I may be slightly obsessive on that one....  I didn't take any less photos when I was away in Portugal, but did give all the files to the family I stayed with and they have put them on Facebook... the proud part of me tries not to care that people don't know I WAS THE PHOTOGRAPHER. haha. just being honest.

uhh think I'll stop there.  Writing this is actually a distraction from doing work. oops. on that note... I don't know that I have blogged more - but I do think less people are reading it without the link from Facebook. ah well.

My aim was to quit for a month, but maybe I'll extend it... not sure yet.  Think the pros have definitely outweighed the cons so far!


Unknown said...

Just to let you know:
- I still make the effort to read your blog, even though you don't post it on Facebook (though, I confess, it was easier to see it in the feed & click on it than to remember to be checking on it. I need to just "follow" it!!
- Alana and I gave you credit as the photographer when we posted your pics on Facebook
- We care! And we love you! Facebook or not Facebook! :)

Unknown said...

Haha thanks Maureen you guys rock :-)

Circus Queen said...

I'm impressed that you've been managing to maintain your Facebook-free challenge. I would struggle and I waste so much time on it. Time I should be sleeping and, embarrassingly, even some times I should be giving my daughter my full attention! This has been a great post to read about what getting off it has given you. Less social media, more novels, yeah?

Ron Chapoloko said...

I was off all social media from October till about half way through December. Deleted all those apps off my phone too. I constantly caught myself picking up my phone and just staring at it haha. Definitely texted people more... And I developed a fondness for CNN and BBC lol