Thursday, August 18, 2011

Facebook Unplugged

Monday night I did something I thought I would never do: I shut down my facebook account. I have been a steadfast proponent of facebook since my college days (my school was one of the earliest schools to join). It has been life changing in so many positive ways: connecting with distant family and friends, taking new friendships to a deeper and more jovial level, cataloging pictures, and keeping in touch with family. Unfortunately there is a negative side to social networking, and after quite a bit of reflection, I decided to disable my account for the following reasons:
1. I was checking my account an obsessive amount (20-30 times per day)
2. Sometimes I was planning my life around how it would look as a status update
3. I had stopped checking news sites, and had no desire to become informed about current events, except for what I saw on my news feed. I could literally feel my brain atrophying.
4. Occasionally I would embroil myself in some sort of drama either of my own making or someone else's

So it's been only a few days, and this is what I've discovered so far:
During the first 24 hours, I thought about checking facebook at least 30 times, how I would word a clever status update 8 times, and had the urge to stop by the profiles of different friends 5 times.

The second day I started missing the positive side of these social interactions: The friend who drops by your page with a random comment, the feeling of shared camaraderie when you and others you know post on the same picture or comment thread. The ease of planning events, finding out about exciting news (like births and engagements), and storing photos and sharing them with others.

Despite that, I have been much more at ease since I quit. I didn't realize how much facebook controlled my thoughts and actions until I started down this path. Today I spent an hour reading the Wall Street Journal, something I never would have done if facebook was accessible. I have been more present (mentally and emotionally) in every conversation I've had the last two days - it's much easier for me to concentrate on what the person I'm with is saying, without worrying about the pull of social networking.

Overall, I'm much happier now! Will I ever return to facebook (or its equivalent)? Perhaps. If I can overcome my addictive tendencies, and use it in a balanced way, it could enrich my life and my interactions with others. But until I am sure that I can do that, I am going to stay unplugged, as inconvenient and hard as that may be.

I will let you know how it works out :)

No comments:

Post a Comment