For not the first time, I’ve contemplated taking some time off from Facebook. I find myself just randomly scroll the feeds, looking at everything that has been posted, reading the comments, looking at pages and pictures and stuff and stuff and stuff. Knowing I spend too much time on social media and Facebook in particular.
I sometimes miss the old Facebook. The one that used to be filled with friends with status updates about what they are doing and filled with pictures of their fun adventures. The old Facebook where, even when apart, you could still be a part of your family and friends lives. The new Facebook has progressed so far from that old scene, with most posts made just a shared post from another page. Is there no original content anymore?
I was also guilty of sharing posts from other pages, however, I did try to have original content about my life on my timeline. I use Facebook for keeping in touch with friends and family. I don’t have a gigantic list of friends on there, I don’t use it for making connections, just to stay in touch with friends and family.
The pages though, I think that’s what gets me stuck in the never ending scrolling loop. There are so many pages that I like and follow. Between the pages and the groups there is always something new to look at, then you throw in Facebook marketplace. Yikes! I was stuck. Help! I needed saving.
For me, I go all in, and like when cutting out desserts from my diet when I need a reset on how many sweets I’m eating, I need to go cold-turkey. I don’t want to give up Facebook permanently, but I did need a way to reset how I was using it. So like anything in my life when I need a reset, I went cold turkey. I figured a three week time limit on my cold turkey would work quite well.
My cold turkey is just for Facebook, not all social media. I still enjoy scrolling pictures on Instagram (although their newer algorithms that don’t actually show you stuff in chronological order drive me crazy), I don’t find it to be the same sort of time vortex that Facebook is. I also didn’t want to stop twitter, but I basically have twitter to enter contests, so that’s a different story.
I thought that it might be interesting to keep track of my thoughts and feelings during my three week self imposed Facebook blackout. Who knows how long I might keep this up, but one of the things I’m hoping to achieve with my blackout is to regain some of my lost creativity, so here goes!
August 14, 2018
Proclamation made, I’m taking time off from Facebook. I posted my last status updated and logged off. Sanctification in every click of the mouse button, knowing I was taking a break from the social media giant of Facebook.
OH DEAR GOD, WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!?
Maybe I’ve just made a gigantic mistake. It’s only been a couple of minutes, I can quickly log back on and delete my post before anyone sees it.
I don’t, just one of the reasons I made a proclamation, because I knew that these would be almost instantaneous feelings I’d have. If I made a proclamation, I’d be setting myself up for success.
Maybe I should write about my three week Facebook blackout and that will help with the almost instant regret of making that post.
~30 mins later
Initial paragraph finished, feeling a little better already and relieved that I wrote out a reminder to myself why I was doing what I was doing.
August 20, 2018
This no Facebook thing is working out pretty well. I can already tell you for sure once my three weeks is over, I will be going back onto Facebook, but with very different intentions. I don’t miss all the postings from companies. The ones I really want to see never show up in the algorithms anyways and the ones that I don’t really care about seem to post fifty times* a day and I get sick of seeing them anyways.
I have been keeping up with Instagram and Twitter, so those companies and small business I like to follow tend to have a presence on at least one of these two platforms, so not having Facebook doesn’t seem to be a big deal.
What I am missing though is the connection with my friends. There is definitely a bit of a disconnect, not seeing what they are up to daily. On the other hand, it has made my in-person get-togethers more personal. When I am back on Facebook, I plan to un-follow everything except for my friends. I really don’t need to see businesses posting the same thing on three different social media platforms, it’s sucking my energy away.
I do feel like a bit of my creativity has started to come back. I don’t know why I had been feeling so uncreative and unmotivated lately, but now I do know my endless scrolling on Facebook was definitely a contributing factor. Since I’ve logged off Facebook, I’ve actually completed a bunch of stitches on a crochet project that I’ve been working on for ages. I have also signed up for an art class Emily Carr University that I have been contemplating taking for almost two years. My house is slightly more organized and I have also done a bunch more baking and cooking at home, more than I have in a long time. The best part was that all the baking and cooking was fun to do it and it didn’t feel like a chore (like it had been feeling).
Another thing that I’ve done since my Facebook disconnect is that I’ve finally decided on a new name for my creative side Why I need to have multiple social media accounts for things, I don’t really understand, but I do like to have my personal daily stuff under a separate account from my creative stuff and my cats. Sure there is going to be some overlap, but for the most part I wanted to keep them a little bit separate.
I used to post my creative stuff under the name: The Artisan Penguin. Some time back though, I dropped this name as it didn’t feel right. I’m not a artist and I somehow felt like I was lying using the word ‘artisan’ (which actually just means a worker in a skilled trade, especially one that involves making things by hand). Sure, I was making things, but I was also writing things too, and any of the writing I was doing just didn’t, to me, feel like it fit with ‘artisan’.
In a flash of inspiration the word hodgepodge popped into my brain. I’ve used it before to describe why my website is such a mixture of different creative things. Suddenly I realized I had something. Now how to add the word penguin in there, since I am determined that it will be part of my creative social media stuff. Potpourri! It basically means the same thing as hodgepodge. This was how my new social media name of Penguin Potpourri Creations was created. So far I’m really liking it, and it doesn’t make me feel like a fraud. Anything I make or write or craft is a creation, a potpourri of creations. It feels pretty right. Let’s see how it goes.
*slight exaggeration on the fifty times a day thing, but you get the idea
October 1, 2018
Oh ya, I was writing about my time off of Facebook. To be honest, after writing my post of Day 6, I got bored of writing updates how my social media boycott was doing. It’s now been a month since my boycott was completed. I did go back onto Facebook one day earlier than originally planned, but that was because there were some details that I needed from my snail mail group.
After the first couple of days of my Facebook blackout, it got pretty easy to not be checking it out all the time and somehow I didn’t feel tied to my phone quite as much. Honestly it was a relief. Now that I’m back on Facebook again, I have a new outlook on how I’m using it. Once the urge to look ALL THE TIME was almost overwhelming, now I feel that I’m using it the way it’s intended, to stay connected with my friends. I pop onto it about twice a day to check things out, spending no more then 10 minuets per visit. It’s a nice balance between using it and abusing it.
Should you do a social media boycott?
I think that if you are looking at your phone all the time to see what notifications have popped up, you should take a step back from social media for a few weeks, just to reset. Don’t think you look all that often. Do a one day challenge where you don’t look at all. You will notice that the urge to look happens a lot more frequently than you’ve realized.
For me, the three weeks I took off from Facebook were really helpful. I am no longer finding myself scrolling endlessly to see what new post there is, waiting for an interesting notification. I still use Facebook, I do find it useful for events and such, but now I will pop into once in the morning and again in the evening to see if there is anything I need to know. A much more healthy way, for me, to use it.
Probably the biggest thing that happened with my disconnection from Facebook was my creativity started to return. After years and year of thinking about it, I finally signed up for some part-time evening classes. More on that in my next post.