Dear brothers and sisters, I have been a blessed 30 days Facebook free — no friend requests, no status updates, no snooping or creeping or stalking or any weird digital human interaction for this cyber-sober lamb.
I am free to be mostly de-digitized on any of the week. I am no longer ever-so-gently sucked into spending precious time inside the Facebook machine, being easily led down the paths of other peoples’ vaguely interesting lives when I could be having a truly exciting one myself.
I don’t expect you to follow me on this. Your Facebook is probably very important to you. Too important to put away. I’ve seen Facebook be a real part of working life for a lot of musicians and politicians, and other public figures, keeping their faces firmly planted in your news feed. Ugh, can you believe it’s called a news feed, like they’re spooning it to us and we’re just sitting there in front of our computers with our mouths open for hours and hours?
It’s easier for folks older than my mere 20 years, I think. Older generations have context and memories of being social without the Internet playing a hand in their every interaction.
I got a Facebook account when I was what, 13? I couldn’t say I was quite sure how to have friendships without it, until this last month, Facebook-free.
You can gauge your own Internet needs. But I wanted to let you know that I found getting off Facebook to be a nearly effortless experience.
Taking a Facebook break is not like running five kilometres every morning in lieu of eating prebaked toaster pastries. It’s not like denouncing your bar star nights in favour of building houses in Mexico on a missionary posting. But I’d still say it’s a great big personal change.
Here are some awesome things about not being on Facebook. You know when you want to change the channel, more or less, on the mentally exhausting thing you’re doing, so you pop online for a quick breather? Totally normal feeling.
But with the easy break of Facebook out of the picture, you can escape into some 20-minute thing you actually want to do but never seem to get the chance. You can call your sister (whom you love), practise your handstand, do some chin-ups, file your nails, throw in some laundry, take a catnap, walk around a bit, doodle, talk to a real person nearby or play with your dog.
How much happier would you be? Happier than if you had spent that time reading about some friend of a friend’s outrageously lame complaints with their telephone service provider. Save yourself now!
Another awesome thing: having a Facebook account is like having your own website that represents you, like a business card. People can see it and explore the idea of “you” for as long as they’d like. But you don’t have to be there yourself. You get to do awesome cool stuff with your life, while redirecting annoying people to leave a message after they creep. Works out very well for the average awesome person, off climbing mountains and learning how to sail and waterski and make puff pastry.
Soon after doing this one small great thing, I wanted to make all sorts of useful small changes in my life.
The exciting part is that being away from your Facebook gives me all sorts of time to do it.
I wouldn’t say Facebook itself is going away any time soon, but there’s no reason you can’t go away from it for a while.
Buy yourself some free time for a while and see if it doesn’t suit you.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 22, 2012