I don’t hate Facebook. In fact, I like it a lot.
During March 2019, I took a step back from all social media. And for me, social media is mostly Facebook. I don’t use Twitter; I have an Instagram account, but I rarely use it.
It felt good to take a step back from Facebook. While I enjoy aspects of it, I really don’t like the mindless scrolling. Also, I am definitely one of those people who gets jealous and anxious when I compare my life to the news feed version of other people’s lives, and I don’t like that part of Facebook at all.
I’ve written about this in a few other posts, but in case you’re a new reader – I decided to step back from social media in March 2019 after hearing Cal Newport, the author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work, talk on a podcast. His advice is to only use social media and apps that support your values. After some careful contemplation, I’ve decided that occasional Facebook usage supports several of my values: family, friendship, connection + community, creativity, and (sometimes) books + reading + writing.
It’s pretty obvious how Facebook helps with family and friendships, right? My family uses Facebook a LOT, and so do many (though not all) of my friends and colleagues.
While I dislike scrolling mindlessly, I enjoy the times when I use Facebook intentionally. I like it when I am really and truly paying attention to what I’m reading. And I enjoy writing comments on things my friends have shared. ACTUAL COMMENTS – not just the like button!
I like using Facebook to share my blog posts, and I follow lots of people and pages about writing. I’m also in a couple of really fun Facebook groups that are focused on books + reading; I get and give a lot of good book recommendations via these groups.
But my most favorite reason for using Facebook is events. I am ALWAYS *interested* in events happening in my community, especially since having kids. I like to know if there are kid-friendly activities going on that I can bring the boys to, and I like to support and attend events thrown by my friends.
I learned a lot by stepping back from Facebook. I learned the role I want social media to play in my life. Here are the ways I want to use social media:
- Connect with my community by getting info about events my family can attend.
- Celebrate and share life’s moments with words and photos.
- Interact with people I care about, through Messenger or posts, with intention.
- Engage in communication that supports things I value, like books + reading or blogging/writing.
And, finally – here are the limits I’d like to put in place regarding my social media diet:
1. Only use social media on the iPad. (This one might be hard to follow, so we’ll see how it goes!)
2. Hide or unfollow anything that is uninteresting or causes me to feel bad.
3. Share blog posts, whenever I want.
4. Mostly focus on just checking my notifications – the little red number that tells me when someone is interacting with me directly. (I’ll still scroll occasionally, but I’m going to try to limit my scrolling to 1 or 2 times a week.)
I really loved taking this time away; it helped me appreciate social media for what it brings to my life, instead of drowning in the negative feelings it sometimes inspires.