Yesterday, I did something that I have been meaning to do for quite some time. I pulled the plug on my Facebook account. No, I didn't delete my account. I logged out, uninstalled the Facebook app from my phone, and said goodbye to my Facebook friends for a week long sabbatical.
Why a Week Off from Facebook?
For some of you reading this, a week may not seem like a very long time. For others, you may sweat bullets just thinking about not being able to access your friends, Facebook messaging, and Facebook groups for a week.
I am a little embarrassed to admit that I was of the latter group. I have been saying, “I really need to take a break from Facebook” for months. It has been eating up way too much of my time. I have wasted too many moments checking and rechecking my feed, my wall, my groups, and my blog page for new replies and ‘likes', as well as funny or interesting status updates, articles, and memes.
It's not that I don't think that Facebook is a valuable tool. It's just that the tool had been consuming more and more of my time and my creativity.
Even though I knew that I needed a break from Facebook, I made many excuses. I told myself and others that I needed to be able to access my Facebook groups and pages. I am an admin for several groups and pages, plus I use Facebook to connect with my readers on my blog page. “I would give up Facebook if I didn't have so many people counting on me,” I said.
But is it really true? Sure, it would be nice to feel that I am missed, but everyone would be just fine without me on Facebook for a week. Most of them would hardly realize I was gone. Maybe some of them would even text me or email me. As for my fellow bloggers, I would miss exchanging a few shares, but maybe a break from Facebook would force me to actually visit and read the blogs I like the most and start commenting more.
The Benefits of Giving Up Facebook
Whether you decide to give up Facebook for a day, a week, a month, or more, is totally up to you. I have a feeling that once you get a taste of the freedom of going ‘no Facebook', you will want more. However long you decide to leave the social network, you will reap some of the benefits.
Here are just a few:
- Time for reading books (remember books?!)
- More time with family
- Time to cook real food
- More time for gardening
- Less jealousy of others and more thankfulness
- A less cluttered mind
- More creativity
- More exercise
- A cleaner house
- More time for devotion, meditation, and prayer
We all have our own reasons for wanting to take a ‘time out'. The things that are important to you may be a bit different from my list, but the goal is to make more room for the things that matter.
If nothing else, some time away from Facebook will allow you to clarify and think about what does matter to you. Perhaps you do not know, and you need to clear your mind to find out.
What To Do Instead of Facebook
If you currently fill up a lot of your social time (and other time) with Facebook, you may be wondering how you will connect with your friends and what you will do in place of the time you would normally be on Facebook.
Here are just a few ways that you can connect instead:
- Email – ask your friend to email you if they want to chat or if they have something important to tell you. The bonus to this is that emails are sometimes longer and more thought out than Facebook messages, and email is easier to file and sort through.
- Text or Call – Texting or calling generally requires a bit more etiquette than a Facebook message, but it can also be a bit more personal. Challenge yourself to pick up the phone and call a good friend or family member. Sometimes it's just good to hear someone's voice.
- Write a Letter of Send a Card – Letters and cards, remember those? There is something special about receiving a card or a letter in the mail these days. It says to the sender that you cared enough to take the time to write something out and put a stamp on it just for them.
- Blog Comments – Instead of relying on your Facebook feed to tell you which blog posts and article to read, seek out your favorite blogs and topics. Leave a comment and start a discussion on these blogs. Trust me, my fellow bloggers and I will appreciate it!
- Chatting in Person – Something happens when you are not bound to Facebook as your means of social connection. You actually begin to strike up conversations with family, neighbors, and complete strangers. Challenge yourself to get to know someone better, and maybe exchange emails so you can get together more often.
Whatever you choose to do, I think you will find that it's nice to connect with people outside of Facebook and that you won't be lost without it.