I posed the question of being on Facebook too much — on Facebook. Someone said if I wanted to know if I was addicted to it, I should just quit it for a week. So I did. No blood pact or promise or fanfare or proclamation. I just stopped outright visiting.
I still had Foursquare and other apps and sites post on my behalf, but not directly using it was easier than I thought. I had a few (but surprisingly few) unavoidable business-related and block club things to check and do, and I did answer a message or two, but didn’t troll my wall or get into any discussions. Well, I almost did, replying via email (unsuccessfully) to a post that tagged me, mainly because it was a video purported to prove something that ironically proved the opposite, that which I had asserted to them previously. It’s hard to keep my mouth shut on things like that. But in the end, I did.
Like a fast from food, it brought out clearly its role in my life, it’s value, and the value of NOT being so connected. I didn’t keep tabs on people (that I probably wouldn’t have before Facebook anyway) and life didn’t end. I didn’t debate over topics, the discussion of which is statistically unlikely to add real value to anyone’s lives without being a greater expense of time and attention to my own.
My daughter had criticized me more and more for being on Facebook instead of getting work done, but I’m usually only active when I don’t have other specific work to do. And this has been one of those times. I can’t say I’ve been more productive without Facebook, but I really do believe I’m more happy.
Seriously. I can find other displacement activities, and I’ve proven to myself it’s not really an addiction, but I do stress over conversations all too regularly that are over-amplified in importance, or even Sisyphean with regard to my own personal efforts. I really love being connected to people, but now there’s the more palpable issue in focus of quality versus quantity.
I’m not going to say goodbye to my “friends” anytime soon, or stick my head in the sand and tape over my mouth about what’s going on in the world. But I need to not be living in that milieu more than “RL”. Playing in dirt has made me happy. Carpentry and campfires and reaching out to others in person makes me happy. Even dancing by myself at a bar makes me happy. Sitting on the roof listening to my daughter sing with her guitar makes me really happy. I am alive without bits or bytes or status updates.
Yes, I’m going to post a link to this now on Facebook. But from now on, I see it as a displacement activity I enjoy on some levels, but is not some immovable landmark in my life, the somewhat life-draining habit it had become.