This past Friday, I realized something that I’ve realized many times before: I spend way too much fucking time on Facebook.
A lot of us do.
The hardest addictions to break are the ones that you consciously enjoy and consistently indulge in, especially without thinking twice about it.
I set up my Facebook account in 2007, and in the years following, haven’t really gone weeks at a time without checking it at least once per day. I use Facebook and Facebook uses me.
A Facebook addiction really is a complicated one. I did some research on the subject and was partly grossed out, partly in understanding. There’s books and books about it. The only people that I know who don’t fit under an addictive category to some degree regarding the site are the people who have gone years without using the service at all. And those people are equated to be psychopaths and people who raise concern to potential employers. Strange times.
First and foremost, delete the app from your iPhone. It’s honestly not any good. If you have notifications set up, it is the most annoying thing in the universe. It will interrupt your day and piss off your friends if you’re constantly checking it. Before you know it, you’re checking your screen at phantom vibrations and it’s gone up a level of compulsion that I simply am no longer interested in.
Next, acknowledge if Facebook is too integral to your day-to-day routine. There is nothing wrong with utilizing the service — until it is abused. If you can relate to any of these habits as signified by Buzzfeed, you are doing it wrong. If you’re always late leaving the house because you’re on Facebook, you are doing it wrong. So on and so forth. It’s a beast of its own kind if you let it be.
I’ve read articles about how pointless commenting on a blog can be and have had countless conversations with my boss and peers about it. Adding comments to a blog does not give the blog value. Simply put. Spend five minutes reading comments on a popular YouTube video and you’ll get a taste of what I mean. Sometimes comments, especially in forums utilized properly, can be of value, if it builds a conversation where points are raised, challenged and acknowledged. But most of the time, comments are simply garbage. The same goes for comments on Facebook statuses. There are exceptions to this, of course. Especially if you use Facebook in a helpful way, asking your friends their opinion, their plans, etc. But remember a notification on Facebook doesn’t mean its an important notification.
Which brings me to my next point – I went just about three days without checking my Facebook and when I logged in this morning, I had 59 notifications. Of those notifications, three were of significance. One was my friend posting a link to an event (my friend’s birthday) — which I did attend. One was a photo of my friend and I, as taken on her birthday. And the last one was a link to a book that my friend recommended to me at dinner on Saturday. Other than that, the rest was nothing of immediate importance. Event invites. Event notifications. Person updating event. Other person updating event. That’s it.
My lack of notifications has nothing to do with a personal reflection of me not having friends. I occupied my time this weekend fully and had plenty of social interaction. I did go on Twitter and Instagram, because 1. a modern junkie will always find alternative means and 2. I don’t (and have never) spend as much time on those two services combined, compared to Facebook. I will continue to use Twitter and Instagram. I haven’t yet figured out my stance on Instagram’s new privacy policies, because I’m not sure I care that much.
Cutting out Facebook from my weekend resulted in a lot of free time. I could make a list of all of the shit I accomplished but it doesn’t really matter, I got things done and I filled my weekend just fine. I only had one significant moment where I wanted to break my weekend deal, and once I thought about it, I simply found something else to do. It wasn’t that hard.
The biggest thing I took away from my digital detox this weekend was that a lot of what’s on Facebook specifically doesn’t matter at all. AT ALL.
Perhaps my personal Facebook (and consequential use) is out of hand. I have over 2,000 friends, “like” over 1,000 pages and admin 7 pages (one of which I get paid to update). If I have at least one mutual friend in common with someone, I will accept the friend request. If I’ve met you once, and you add me, I will accept you as my friend. It all seems kind of normal to me in 2013. (Which upon reflection is, of course, weird). Occasionally, I’ve been “recognized” from Facebook. Part of this may have something to do with the work I do for KAB, for Beatport News, for Brooklyn Street Art, and other sites I have freelanced for. Having someone recognize me by my work alone is the best feeling, but Facebook taints it a bit. Because it’s Facebook, ugh. I’ve made great friends through acquaintances and sometimes that happens through being familiar through Facebook. Use it to reconnect with old friends and keep in touch. Whatever. It’s not all bad. But it can be.
I have had promoters ask me to “share” events due to the sole fact that I have a lot of Facebook friends, which feels a bit exploitive. There’s networking and then there is spam. If I’m writing it or posting it, it’s a reflection of self. Gross, right. The more I look into my thoughts about Facebook, the more I realize I hate it.
If I’m putting content that I stand behind 100 percent online, then it is a positive use of my page on the social network. I share links all the time. I have it in my head that my blog posts are more likely to be read if I share it on Facebook and Twitter — Because they will be. Sometimes my friends (my parents, for example) will read my work only because I wrote it and put it on my Facebook page. Which is exactly why I’ve always made this weird argument in favor of Facebook. I like it. I like using it. I like sharing blog posts that I compose about music, art, local events, interviews, etc. with my friends.
I’ve always made this argument that I use Facebook productively. That’s the thing, though. I’m just like everyone else: Productive about 15 percent of the time.
Deleting my Facebook (just to reactivate it) is the wrong approach. I still see an actual need to use Facebook, considering my career, my interests and my out-of-town friendships.
Here’s what I’m going to try to change: only use Facebook during the work week, during work hours. The rest of it all can wait and doesn’t quite matter.
Another way to use Facebook without it interfering is to only have the Messenger app on your phone. Some of my friends don’t have phones, don’t have my phone number, think messaging is the most convenient way to get ahold of me, etc. Either way, the Messenger app is not as interfering to me as checking my Facebook page is for some reason and I treat it like a text message.
Lastly, you can do what some of my friends have done. Completely start over. Delete your page with 3,000+ “friends” and make a new account, adding ONLY the people you ACTUALLY talk to. It’s up to you.
No one is forcing you to use Facebook, which might be the scary part. It’s all in how you use it.
Cheers to hopefully 51 more weekends of the year completely void of Facebook.