So, last year, I blogged (ok, I ranted) about putting my money where my mouth was, and the perils of social media. I decided to give up Facebook and Twitter for 60 days. I wrote ablog post about what I was doing. You can read about my 60 Day Blackout and visit my Just Giving Page if you’d like to.
On January 1st, I handed the passwords of both accounts to LSH and signed out, of both sites, and haven’t been back to them since.
I have had a few sms’s asking me “how I’m doing?” and if I am in withdrawal, or not coping. I have to say, that much to my surprise, it has been incredibly easy, and although I have caught myself thinking “I’ll just pop that on Facebook” or “that would make a good Tweet” and I have wondered how the world of Facebook was doing, I actually HAVEN’T MISSED IT THAT MUCH! Yes, you did read that right, and no, I am not joking.
Things I miss:
- The social aspect of Facebook. When the children were tiny, and I was up a lot in the night, feeding or settling them to sleep, Facebook and Twitter were lifelines, I could chat to friends in other time zones, and be entertained by the goings on of people I follow, as I sleepily fed a baby at 3am. Parenthood and being a stay at home mum can sometimes be a little isolating, and I’ve laughed with, consoled along side and shared snippets of life with many a mother in a similar place to me.
- The interesting people I’ve met, and got to know. Friendships rekindled, and relationships maintained, because the other party is on the other side of the world, or works full-time, and we don’t get to “see” each other a lot in real life.
- I’ve won things on Facebook and Twitter, I even scored tickets for LSH to see the cycling trials at Box Hill, pre the Olympics.
- I’ve connected with people who have been through similar issues to myself, and we’ve shared a bond and supported each other
- I’ve been asked to contribute to blogs and parenting articles
- I’ve been followed by some very prominent people, and some very interesting bloggers and writers, which whilst mainly a stroke to my ego, is still a plus. (George Michael replied to a tweet I sent him, wishing him a speedy recovery, when he was so unwell last year, this MADE MY MONTH, as I have been a fan since I was a teenager)
- I’ve gotten advice and support, both from friends on Facebook and Twitter, when I have asked or needed it.
- I’ve been educated on things I didn’t know much about, from politics, to human rights, to breastfeeding, to cooking, parenting, you name, it, you can find it on Facebook and Twitter.
- We’ve shared other people’s joys and sorrows, deaths and births, triumph and tragedies.
- It’s generally fun, light-hearted and enjoyable.
I miss all of this, it does bring colour and interest into my life.
Things I don’t miss:
- I have spent so much time on both sites, and because I am “well-known” in my little circles, on there, now, when I post a comment or put something up, I find myself fretting at who likes my posts, how many comments I’m getting, who retweeted me, how many followers I’ve got, why did that person unfollow me? What did I do to offend the person who un-friended me on Facebook…? This is not healthy, I don’t need this in my life. It isn’t reality, I need to not be so fixated on these things
- Things that make me angry, because they are not my opinion or how I view life, or what I would do. I often think Facebook is used as a cover people to say dreadful and cutting things, even horrible things that they would never be brave enough to say either in public, (racist, homophobic, sexist etc) because they’d either get beaten up or arrested, or to be brave enough to be so mean, sometimes downfight bullying, to people in real life (I myself have been the subject of some “harassment” on Facebook, someone I barely know, took it upon themselves to send me messages criticising my marriage, my parenting, my children’s behaviour and generally my outlook on life, simply because I didn’t agree with them on something. I am pretty sure they wouldn’t have had the courage to actually do that to my face, and since I deleted them on Facebook, they have avoided being around me, and not spoken to me)
- I have gotten into arguments with people on many subjects and come away from Facebook, feeling angry and frustrated. In reality, I know that no one actually changed anyone’s mind, converted them to a different choice, changed their views on certain subjects over a post on Facebook, I’m not sure why we try. Facebook is free, we aren’t obliged to be on there, when I found myself in tears over a comment that someone had posted, who I didn’t know, on a mutual friends post, insulting my country, our values and how we do things, I decided that enough was enough, and it was time for a break.
So, I am doing ok, 5 days in. I am not missing it too much. I do miss news that I would normally be plugged into, via both sites, but actually, it’s been really good for me. I’ve actually called people, sent sms’s to people I normally would only communicate with via Facebook. When I add up all the minutes I spend checking out statuses, commenting on posts, posting my own rants and observations, editing photos and making sure I like the right things, I can see it’s a fair amount of time. Time I am putting to good use, doing other things.
I know LSH is happy with the break, too. He dislikes the amount of time I spend on FB and Twitter, and feels like sometimes my spending time on there, is more of a priority to me, than spending time with him. I am ashamed to admit, he is right. When my 60 day black out ends, I will need to re-evaluate my usage and time that I spend on these things and the impact it has on me, and my family and life.
So, yes, I am missing Facebook and Twitter, but I am surviving, coping quite nicely, and surprisingly am not a quivering wreck, and I am confident that I will make it to the end of 60 days without breaking my resolve. I’m fairly stubborn and determined, once I set my mind to do something, I tend to do it. Those of you who didn’t believe me, probably don’t know me as well as you think you do….
Maybe there is life after social media. How on earth did we manage before it was invented?