I started an experiment to stay off facebook for a month. I did this because:
- I was compulsively checking facebook. When I posted a comment or blog post, I craved the positive feedback of “likes.” This felt unnatural to me. I shouldn’t spend my time seeking the approval of far-away acquaintances I may never have even had a real conversation with.
- I was getting updates on people I didn’t know very well, and these people’s babies and adventures were invading my consciousness.
- Facebook itself was becoming my best friend. I would talk to it, see how it was doing in my idle minutes, and spend more time with it than any of my real friends.
- After a while of going to events I got invited to via facebook, I lost track of who my friends were, because facebook was doing all the inviting. I started to long for the phone call invite to a party. A phone call or even a text invite says: “We’re friends, and I care about your presence at this thingy.” All a facebook invite says is, “I clicked a box next to your name.”
After 2 days without facebook, I have found that I’m doing a lot more phone calls and hanging out with people in person. Some of my 1-D friends are becoming 2-D and even 3-D! I have a friend who has a broken phone and memorizes her friends’ numbers. If these are your friends, put some time and effort into memorizing their digits. That says something!
We only have a limited number of hours in a day. Talking to a sphere of 40 people on facebook quasi-regularly means you aren’t talking to a sphere of 10 people very regularly in real life. I don’t know about you, but I like my friends three-dimensional. Without facebook, some of my 1-D friends are vanishing, but that means other friends are gaining extra pixels, coming into a closer orbit.
That said, I think I’ll be doing a monthly facebook day, because I do like facebook in moderation. I’ll stay friends with this ex but there’s got to be limits.