What I’ve Learned Staying Off Facebook
Why Facebook Is Awesome
Since sometime in 2008, I have been a (self proclaimed) Facebook master. To me, there have been several reasons to update my status at least daily, if not up to half a dozen (not kidding) times a day:
- Because this is hilarious.
- Because people need to know how humans are supporting something awful, here's why, and here's how to stop doing that, plus how good you'll feel and attractive you'll be when you change that like I did.
- Because I'm doing something so awesome that everyone will freak out.
Other perks I have found:
- Running into people I haven't talked to since as far back as grade school. This was a fun little season of discovery!
- Finding other Gundys not only in the U.S., but over seas - also a couple here in Colorado!
- Testing out jokes before I take them to the airwaves or an open mic comedy night.
- Feeling like, if some major news flash happens, be it an international crisis or something in the music world, I'll know.
What Went Wrong
Over the past year, I have felt an increasing disconnect from what's happening on my Facebook wall. I still love everyone, but at this point I guess I pretty much know that:
- You take your kids to soccer or football practice and they do great.
- You love bacon.
- You're a [insert political party affiliation.]
- You just want someone to finally love you right, even though you're doing everything wrong (ha.)
- You probably did your taxes.
- You love to do outdoor stuff - when you're not posting on Facebook, mainly.
I pretty much know my friends, and it comes back to this: If we need to communicate on a daily basis, we probably already live together. Or we at least meet up regularly to do some of the amazing stuff we both love. Likewise, you're aware of my family structure, pastimes, taste in music, political slant, spiritual beliefs, and odd sense of humor. If not, again - we should hang - otherwise, is it that important?
Then there is the increasing debates over everything in the U.S., and frankly I find reminders of it all sad and scary, and not at all funny; and rather than joining the debate, anymore I tend to just try not to be a sh**ty person, and make that set of actions my argument for every one of my beliefs. So far, it's working out pretty well!
The past six months or so, I've noticed that I just don't feel better after scanning my Facebook wall, so I am currently going on four weeks abstaining from Facebook, other than posting a few things on the X page. I love to connect with my listeners through the mic, seeing you at station events, and yes, social media.
What Is Different Since I've Ditched Facebook
- My thoughts are on what's going on around me. Rather than racing with the internal monologues of several hundred people, my mind is full of what's truly important to me, moment by moment, throughout my day. And it brings me peace. I have been told I am noticeably happier, in fact.
- I have more time! There was a time not long ago when, if you wanted to know what was going on outside your door without leaving your home or office, you watched something like the 6 o'clock news, read the newspaper, or sometimes caught up with your gossipy neighbor. Facebook is a huge time suck. And when your latest scrolling session is over, what do you have to show for it?
- My confidence isn't as challenged. We all know that people generally post their best stuff, which is natural, and actually really cool. But, all too often, it seems like everyone has a perfect freaking life (or they only post drama, which is annoying for an entirely separate set of reasons,) and when I'm having a day when I haven't gotten out in too long, my kids are needing a lot of attention, two or more of my four animals have puked on my carpet, and something new in the house is broken, I feel I'm really not playing on the same field as everyone else, who is at the beach in Florida again, on a date night with 20 good looking friends, and just bought a brand new car. This one is a Gundy thing - perhaps a weakness of mine - but maybe you can relate.
- I am replacing brainless Facebook sessions with deliberate entertainment. Before going to bed, now I think of a website I like, i.e. Men's Health's "Joe the Bartender" segment, where he gives super sage and witty advice to people who write in. Or I seek out some moving music video. This, after sitting on the deck with a glass of wine and talking to my lady while watching my girls play made-up games in the backyard. First thing in the morning, instead of being burdened by everyone's thoughts, I take a peak at an inspirational app I love, check the weather, grab my coffee, and get out the door. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?
It's all about taking control of what you let into your mind, and in this age of unprecedented distraction, to me it's more about shutting certain things off than making myself even busier with an over abundance of white noise.
I miss when I would post hilarious stuff several times a day, or share a great time I've had this weekend. But, increasingly, I've noticed 90% of my "friends" don't give a damn about any of it, or if they do, they don't let me know that. Where's the love, Facebook?
Hard telling if I'll be back in full force on the site, but right now, keeping Facebook at an extreme minimum and just doing life without letting all that other stuff in through an increasingly impersonal website where everyone seems to be looking for attention and approval, is a sort of rebirth I'm really enjoying.