30 Days Free of Facebook
On March 21st, my sister-in-law shared a video called “The Innovation of Loneliness”, put together by a student named Shimi Cohen as his Final Project at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Israel. The video goes through the alleged negative effects of social media, what I took to mean Facebook in particular. On the spot I decided to spend 30 days off of Facebook to see what sort of changes it would make it my life. Here is what I experienced:
In the past I spent far too much time on Facebook. Why? Mostly because I’m homesick. I live in Israel, a beautiful country in the Middle East you may have heard of once or twice. For the time being I’m in the US, having an amazing time with family, but missing home all the same. Facebook allows me to connect to people, and I’m grateful for it.
What I came to realize though is that I use Facebook to broadcast, not to listen. I want to share my new projects, my attempts at humor and my cool pictures. I’m sometimes surprised that I don’t share my meals or more pictures of my kids. I’m self-promoting and for that reason that relationships I held on Facebook never felt real. As illustrated in Cohen’s video, Facebook left me feeling lonely, not in a depressing way, more in a subconscious way.
I expected a greater change after logging off, but the truth is I’m having a hard time gauging how great – or how meaningless – the change actually is.
- I did not use the time to connect more with my spouse or children as I should have.
- I did use the time to work harder on coding and design projects.
- I did use the time to get out of the broadcasting frame of mind. For example, I took multiple family trips and only took pictures when I felt it of things I personally wanted to remember, as opposed to taking pictures of things I wanted to share. I also kept those pictures private, simply because they’re for me and not for the world.
- I spent more time learning the ins and outs of Twitter, coming to realize that as someone now less interested in broadcasting, I don’t have as much of a “use” for that platform either.
- I did use some of the time to read more. Books. Actual books. (Ok, some of them were comic books, but, you know….because I’m Batman.)
- I believe being “Facebook Free” allowed me to transition into prayer and meditation in a better fashion.
At the end of the day, I have no issues returning to Facebook, but I would like to think it’s with a slightly different tone.
- Instead of broadcasting, I would like to listen more.
- I would like to configure my Facebook settings to “spend more time” with the people with whom I have deeper relationships. As of now, I have close to 430 Facebook Friends. I think I’m actively in touch with 20 people, some via Facebook, others via email.
- I’ll still use Facebook to gather feedback on projects and designs from my peer group, but I’ll stop using it to look for users/customers.
- I’ll try to helpful where I can be.
So, is Facebook the devil? No. Are there better ways to spend your time? Absolutely. Is it worth staying on Facebook to keep in touch with others? Yes, if that is where your friends are hanging out. In retrospect, I should have never accepted or reached out to 430 Facebook Friends, but you live and you learn (and no, I will not be un-friending a mass amount of people now.)
Here is the video, for your viewing pleasure: