Whether you’ve noticed it or not, a week or so ago I made the decision to deactivate my Facebook account. I’ve said before that I have a love/hate relationship with the platform. So many hateful words and inappropriate diatribes get spewed, and people who are loving and cordial in person sometimes let their tongues wag a little too much without fear of the repercussions. My mental and emotional health were screaming for a break. On top of that, I became a zombie scroller. I’d lose hours of time just flipping through the same information continually, dragging my newsfeed down to force it to refresh and show some new gleaning. And admittedly I didn’t (don’t) have the self-control to just stop. So, somewhat reluctantly, and without any fanfare, I deactivated my account. It felt freeing, liberating, like I had some sense of control over how I was feeling and how I was spending my time.
I’ve had a couple people reach out and ask why. And I’ve been honest. Saturday I was hanging out with friends and we were discussing my recent hiatus and he said “what have you been doing with your time instead?” And, honestly, I was shocked because I hadn’t really cataloged where my “free time” was going instead. To his point, such breaks from social media are usually most effective when backed by a plan of how to spend that time instead—otherwise people generally revert back to the platform they tried to give up. And so I thought: I’ve been outside more, I’ve been reading more, I’ve created a new Instagram account (yes, I realize this sounds counterintuitive) where I’ve been posting daily inspirational quotes/poems and design elements that are completely of my own making. These things have brought me joy. I’ve felt lighter. I find my interactions are deeper and more genuine because I don’t know every nitty gritty thing people post each day.
I know this break won’t last forever. There are things I miss and that are useful about Facebook. But I want to prove to myself that I can survive without it. And possibly after this time apart I‘lol be better able to self-regulate. And if not, it won’t be as daunting to deactivate for another set period of time. We are living in a climate that is so technology/screen/social media driven (amplified by social distancing and quarantine). But there are still ways to do without. And I am thankful for the respite.