I’m over 2/3rds of the way through my self-imposed Facebook blackout. I thought I’d reflect a little bit on what I have learned so far. These reflections will be neither in depth nor particularly well written because I have to be conscious 6 hours from now.
1) First, a confession. It hasn’t been a complete blackout because I did mindlessly surf there once from my drop down menu in Firefox. I also inadvertently clicked on a link that took me to Facebook even though the link didn’t really indicate that (damn link shorteners.) So because I was there, I checked my notifications but didn’t read anything. There wasn’t anything earth-shattering in the notifications although someone did send me a request in Farmville (ugh) and there were a few Words With Friends notifications.
2) I really don’t miss it. Amazingly, I’ve been able to get on with my life without knowing the mundane details of everyone else’s life. This is not meant as a slam against anyone – Facebook is the place where mundane details get shared so complaining about that is kind of like complaining about the Pope being so darn Catholic.
3) That being said, I do feel out of the loop on a lot of news stuff. Surprisingly, Facebook has become a pretty important place for me to read news articles. What that says about me I’m not quite sure.
4) Not posting links to my blog posts has caused a precipitous drop in hits. I wasn’t even posting them on Twitter at first, but I am now. This bothers me a little because I really do like it when people read what I write – I am only human after all. I’d like to think that I’m not just speaking into the void, but I’m sure there is an element of that in blogging no matter what you do. And speaking of Twitter, I haven’t really used it more to compensate for the lack of Facebook like I kind of suspected I would. I’m tempted to extend this experiment a week and include Twitter in the blackout just to see what happens, although Twitter doesn’t cause me as much consternation as Facebook does. But with Heidi going out of town next week, I may need whatever adult human interaction I can get.
5) Overall, being away from it has been good for my mental health. I sometimes feel like it alternates between being a high school reunion you can never leave and a large room where everyone in your life is talking at the top of their lungs about whatever they want. Again, I don’t begrudge Facebook being what it is. I do reserve my right to walk away from it on occasion. I was talking to someone earlier this week who is not on Facebook but who applauded my decision, calling it “brave.” I don’t know that I would characterize it as that, but whatever. She told me that she knows more people than she can count for whom Facebook is very hard on their mental health – be it because they misuse it or go there searching for validation or whatever. I can relate to that. Still, I wouldn’t call it brave.
We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure I’ve found any alternate connectedness in the absence of Facebook, but I think that has a lot more to do with me than it does anyone else or Facebook.