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Treat Yourself to a Facebook Detox

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by Vanessa de Largie (subscribe)
Published December 27th 2011
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

For many of us, the New Year represents a new beginning; a pristine slate to etch new mistakes on. Not only do we feel the urge to de-clutter our life, it also seems to be a time when we want to clean up our minds and bodies too.

We join gyms, make vision boards and go cold turkey on the alcohol and cigarettes. We purchase books on how to create wealth and buy tasteless diet yoghurt, attempting to fool ourselves that it replaces the undeniable loveliness of our favourite chocolate.

By the second week of the New Year, most of us have ditched our New Year resolutions and returned to our guilty, sinful lives. Oh lord, the tragedy of it all.

I think balance is the key rather than all or nothing. Unfortunately balance is one of those elusive states; difficult to attain and difficult to keep.

I do believe its beneficial to be disciplined, to sacrifice, to detox our minds and our bodies, even for the shortest of periods, as we can spring back to life feeling rejuvenated, with more of ourselves to offer the world.

I would now like to suggest a different kind of detox - a social networking kind.

Facebook has become a normal part of our lives, a site many visit every day.

We log on to share our thoughts, our days, to catch up on what our friends and colleagues are up to and to view photos. But are people addicted?

I believe a lot are. I admittedly was and I am proud to say I deleted my account and have been sober from Facebook for four whole months. This choice is not for everyone, but it was perfect for me.

I live my life now in the moment. The time I spent on Facebook is now spent being creative, being physical and last but not least being social with my friends and family in real time, rather than sitting alone behind a computer screen.

I recently noticed on the tram that everyone has their face down, looking at their phone, reading texts or sending them or checking their Facebook or Twitter account. Very few, look out the window or are even aware to the reality and people around them. Is being present in our lives now a thing of the past? Again, and I say this with a mouth full of sarcasm - social networking? Oh, please.

This is my suggestion for you this weekend. Deactivate your Facebook account. You can do it for two days or perhaps even try a week. Your Facebook account will still be intact when you reactivate, all your friends will be there, as will your posts and photos. It will just be like taking a holiday for a few days.

Watch the change in yourself. Become aware of how much more productive you come in your time away, how much more present you become in your own life.

Facebook is not your lifeline, you are.

Treat yourself. The rewards are delightful.
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Why? A holiday from Facebook
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Your Comment
Yip I definitely agree to this, I've deactivated my page for about a month now and it's so good, we need to spend time on ourselves instead of looking on facebook to see wat other people are up to, but I guess everyone is different:-)
by lfaat (score: 0|9) 3372 days ago
Great article. I've been off Facebook for nearly 5 years now. I do use Google+ and Meetup, for different reasons, so it's not like I don't do any social networking.

I think it's funny though that there's a Facebook "Like" button at the end of the article -- and 34 people have already clicked! Just gotta love ironic humour.
by CaryG (score: 1|10) 3360 days ago
I certainly echo your sentiments. I had tried so hard to, for lack of better terms, use or even control my Facebook sensibly. I only added people I was actually friends with, put some photos in private files, but sadly my account too came to its own demise last year. I do feel a site such a Facebook can be fantastic for getting in contact and sharing information with others, but what is with all the people using it without an apparent ounce of common sense? I loved it for the news feeds and one silly application called 'funny status', that, however is where it ended. Why doesn't it occur to some users that adding over two thousand people including people you would never even want to be friends with normally and allowing them access to EVERYTHING? Your friends, family, work, photos. I went on a holiday last year and set up a word press blog. People just need to exercise some common sense. Oh and to all of my so called 'friends' who could only poke me and not call my mobile which has had the same number for over seven years, you better go get some credit because I am not coming back to Facebook to do more than down load all my photos. Facebook just ended up becoming 'Annoyingbook' to me...
by FIONA (score: 2|168) 3548 days ago
I totally agree with you on this Social Networking Addiction. I recently went to Thailand for a month. NO FACEBOOK. NO TWITTER. NO SOCIAL NETWORKING AT ALL. Well, it took me about 14 days to detox. that is when I decided to get my life back. The next two weeks was so much fun. I even interacted with other humans, face to face.
by guyma (score: 1|26) 3434 days ago
Cleverly written! If everyone on FB were this funny, I woudn't need to deactivate :-)
by rowen1 (score: 0|3) 3552 days ago
I can't remember the number of times I nearly run someone over with my car because they've crossed the street whilst looking at their iphones. My near year's resolution will be to swerve out of my way to squash one of these sods...
by jibob (score: 0|3) 3556 days ago
Facebook has always amused me, people 'interacting' online pfft pick up the phone and TALK to someone! Arrange to meet 4 a coffee anything other than talking to people that are supposed to be friends through a monitor. That is NOT interacting in fact it's the complete opposite, I truly can't stand how people say it's a wonderfull tool for meeting new people catching up old friends etc or for people that travel., again ring someone! Talking to a person conveys a hell of a lot more than you could ever do through typing, texting. To actually phone someone now days seems to have become almost faux pas gotta keep up with the trend kiddies and stunted 20-30yr old adolescents also! There is nothing revolutionary about any of these sites and I find it a disturbing trend, I trully believe through various actions of 'friends' etc that it has made a lot of people far more self absorbed bordering on narcissistic, and yeah I agree with you not living in the 'now'. I had an account for about a year at the insistence of friends as "so much easier to keep in touch" b.s for starters. Has anyone else noticed how everyone seems to be in competion as to who's got the happiest busiest life? People seem reluctant to put anything up that would be honest as in having a pretty crap day? What the hell is with the stupid thing where people put up "at such an such with so and so! Having a blast" I don't care where you are or who your with! tell i dislike my generation and FB much :)
by potox (score: 0|5) 3556 days ago
I deactivate Facebook every second month, it's been my tradition. I need to hibernate for more productive days !!!
by yourm (score: 0|4) 3557 days ago
fantastic!!! lets stop living a virtual life and start to live in the present..
there is sooo much to learn, experience right here, right in the NOW
by purpl0 (score: 0|4) 3557 days ago
Try watching Black Mirror - new 3 part series on channel 4 in UK. Its fictional but touched on these issues in a sort of twilight zone way
by matth (score: 1|31) 3557 days ago
I agree! Ironically I just deactivated my account on Christmas Day when I realised I was checking it four or five times a day. For those who can use it in moderation and still have a life - good for them - but I was definitely an addict.

Thought it would be hard to not have it, but four days later and I haven't been tempted to go back yet!
by Vee (score: 0|4) 3557 days ago
i deactivated my account last year..... dont miss it one bit! its such a time waster! whatever happened to a letter or a phone call? now its posts, friend requests and likes!
by lala_ (score: 0|2) 3371 days ago
Do you realise that Facebook is only worth something because people upload information for FREE that Facebook can then use for advertising and promotion?
Facebook promotes a shallow kind of interaction that disconnects people from real life. I challenge everyone to take a digital Sabbath. Have one day a week where everyone in the family turns off the computers, their phones and all digital devices!
by trici (score: 0|2) 3374 days ago
I left Facebook a while back and, honestly, am so glad I did. I can't even begin to state how much my life has changed as a result. Not going to Facebook every time I'm on the computer -- not wasting hour upon hour wondering who will change their status update next. No longer wondering who will 'like' what I had to say, or if my friends will look at my vacation pictures. Facebook is the ULTIMATE time sink, and it is one that I have put long behind me so I can move forward in my real life. There is no need for Facebook. It always ends up as a waste of time, and I am glad to hear that others are leaving it behind.
by metro (score: 0|2) 3429 days ago
If facebook is an addiction then probably one of the less damaging ones.
by ldale (score: 0|2) 3553 days ago
and, too much reading and writing is bad for the health.
by schmu1 (score: 2|171) 3555 days ago
choc-o-late is ok in moderation.
by schmu1 (score: 2|171) 3555 days ago
Deactivating it or not, you couldn't help using it again just spend as less time as you can. I've never cared about it as it doesn't interest me. I mean I've got to admit it's a great tool for business though. I only keep it on only because of my social life.
by luvly (score: 0|2) 3557 days ago
Hi Vanessa. Only last night did i actually uninstall the FB app on my phone. Like you, I have noticed too many people not noticing what is going on around them as their faces are buried in some app on their phones. All the best for 2012
by nadia34 (score: 0|2) 3557 days ago
mmm... facebook is a way for many people especially who travel to keep in touch with family and the many friends they made around the world. if i hadn't had facebook, i wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet up in Thailand with my German friend that i met in Australia for example... the problem is not facebook, the problem is what people do with it...
by jenni (score: 0|2) 3557 days ago
I enjoyed the irony that this good article has been "liked" four times so far in Facebook! As someone who's never had a FB account and never will, I can only guess at the status a "like" imparts.
by Tim McKnight (score: 0|6) 3557 days ago
I agree completely and had just made similar observations with some friends of mine recently.

Great article! Do it, take a facebook holiday!

Do appreciate the irony that you can like this article on facebook ; )
by carli23 (score: 0|2) 3557 days ago
Facebook is good for a few things. First of all, people can contact others they havn't seen in years and meet them in real life again. And secondly, it opens up social media networks and group networks for people to fight for justice. In addition to this, people can communicate globally, and tell the world what is happening in their countries. This can be said for people of dictatorships, who are now trying to become democratic. More awareness of global issues causes people to make positive changes.

On the other hand, facebook is addictive for some and is used as an avenue for collecting information and marketing to people. There are pro's and con's of this technology. However, I whole heartedly agree, to get away from the internet and live a full life.
by crrs (score: 0|9) 3556 days ago
I think you just need to remember a very old saying 'Everything in moderation'. Maybe those that find FB consuming their lives are the ones who also would (or do) have the cigarette addiction.
by kelli (score: 0|3) 3556 days ago
Thanks for the reminder. I deactivated Facebook last year for 3 months and it really was like taking a holiday.
by eva.2 (score: 1|44) 3558 days ago
totally agree! and wouldn't it be nice if they talked instead of texting :-)
by pfuit (score: 1|67) 3340 days ago
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