A while back I did something radical, I deleted my Facebook account. Here are some observations six months out:
I have noticeably less distractions. Facebook used to be my default time filler. The problem was I could sometimes get pulled into a rabbit hole of reading posts (and savoring drama) that before I knew it two hours had past and I hadn’t gotten anything accomplished. This was one of the main reasons I decided to leave social media, and I see a huge difference in my productiveness.
Now I stick to a schedule that includes writing at least one thousand words every morning, exercising for an hour sans connection to any device, and reading for two hours daily (the old-fashioned way, with an actual book). When I have a moment to fill while waiting in-line for example: I daydream, or if I feel the compulsion to use my phone I’ll play chess, which is at least exercising part of my brain. Mostly though, I keep my phone in my purse. By eliminating that distraction I have retrained myself to seek rewards elsewhere. Also, there are worse things in life than boredom.
I didn’t lose any friends. At least not the real ones. When I deleted my FB account, I had over 1,000 “friends”. Let’s be honest. We hardly knew each other, and I’m sure few of them even noticed my absence. The friends I had are still the friends I got. When we want to communicate we call, text, or email. Sometimes we meet up for coffee.
I do sometimes miss the posts from friends and family for whom it was much easier and more preferable to passively stay in touch through observing (and occasionally liking) their posts rather than having to make the effort to get together. Frankly, we rarely got together before social media. Sometimes politely letting each other off the hook from forced social obligations is a way to show love and respect. If something big happens, we’ll know about it. If we happen to see each other at the next wedding, funeral, family reunion, etc. that’s great. And just because we don’t want to hang out doesn’t mean we don’t care. Right?
I sometimes miss an event because I didn’t know about it. But more often than not, I would have just stayed home anyway. Now I just have a better excuse. If someone really wants me to attend, they’ll shoot me a text.
There is nothing wrong with social media, obviously. So many people use it and love it. No judgement here; but six months out, I’m convinced that leaving was the right choice for me. Having built-in restrictions helps me to focus.
The final verdict: I don’t miss it.