A writer / adventurer who loves an awesome weekend.
Published June 14th 2013
I enjoy social media. It is a fast and convenient way of keeping in touch with family, friends, sales and news. But recently my use of Facebook got out of hand and I knew it was time to have a break. I was accessing my account too often and I felt bombarded with information I didn't need to know. Embarrassingly, I often composed status updates in my mind when doing day-to-day tasks and would feel validated when people liked or commented on my photos or updates.
After a bit of research and reflection, I found a study from the University of Chicago that says social media can be more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol. Social media was stealing my time and moments that could have been used more creatively or constructively. Also, I read that bad news is known to get more interest than good news. So by following media outlets, I was reading an unbalanced amount of sad or negative stories. I decided it was time to take a month trial separation or even break up with social media entirely.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one Facebooks it, did it really fall at all?
If you would like to break up from social media, here are some things to make the break less painful as well as giving you a good chance to stop the habit.
Firstly, set a realistic goal and consider what you want to achieve by avoiding social media. I wanted to stop thinking in Facebook updates and use spare moments to be mindful or more creative. I knew I would need at least a month to see an improvement and that seemed achievable for me.
Secondly, share your plan. Let everyone know what you are doing so that you don't miss out on super important information. This means you'll be less concerned with missing out on event updates or news from your close friends. Also, it means that you will have all your friends on your back if you do give in and check your account. Provide an alternative contact before you log off.
Thirdly, the best thing I have done is to delete the Facebook app from my phone. It is just too easy to access through the app – make it harder for yourself to cheat.
Finally, enjoy the time you recapture. Craft a long email to a friend – how quaint. Catch up with friends for a coffee and actually catch up, rather than rehashing conversations you have already had online. Appreciate that some events – like a frost, a great cup of tea or a child's laugh- can be enjoyed without sharing them with others.