It’s been a month since I deleted the Facebook app off my phone. And you know what? It’s been life changing. How lame is that? But hear me out because I can BET you feel the same way.
I spend so much time on Facebook. On social media in general, really. Part of it is because it’s literally my day job and the field I happen to work in. Part of it is because I’m a blogger. Part of it is because I run a small business and being on social media is just necessary these days. And part of it is because I’m a Millennial and being active on social media is just a way of life. I love social media, obviously, and could not imagine axing it all together. There’s just no way. But social media, and Facebook specifically, is not real life, and should not consume you!
I started noticing that Facebook was becoming more and more toxic. It was making me feel less and less positive, optimistic, and joyful, and more and more angry, annoyed, and jealous. Is that ridiculous or what? But it’s true! With so much turbulence going on in the world around us, it’s only natural for the negativity to filter down into my Facebook news feed. Any because I’m human, and curious, I see it, read it, and engage with it. I’m at the stage in life where big things are happening – people are getting engaged, married, having their first baby, maybe even having their second or third baby, climbing the corporate ladder, and buying their dream homes. I love being able to keep up with friends and family and celebrate their accomplishments, but it’s the negativity and ruthless comments that I really can live without. For some reason, Facebook has become a platform for professing your opinions on anything and everything, no matter the cost. There seems to be great power in hiding behind your computer screen. And seeing those things everyday, can really make you question why you even have Facebook to begin with, much less why you even follow the people you do. And that shouldn’t be the case!
You see, with Facebook, a few years go by and suddenly you have 1,000+ “friends”, even though you probably don’t even know who half of them are or even talk to them in person. I first got Facebook my junior year of high school, mainly as a way to connect with people going to the same college as me. But now, EVERYONE is on Facebook, and I feel like Facebook is like a snapshot of your life. It’s like everyone’s personal resume. It’s great for keeping friends and loved ones updated, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t just downright exhausting sometimes.
Now that Adeline requires constant attention, I was starting to notice that I was on my phone way too much. Scrolling through Facebook on our walks. Sitting in the car a few extra minutes just to check Facebook. It was the first thing I looked at in the morning, and the last thing I looked at at night. I was sick of feeling like I needed to check it every other second, and constantly needed to see what everyone else was doing. I felt this added pressure to “keep up with the virtual Jones” and be in-the-know. But you know what? Who cares! I am trying really hard to be more present, and focus on my own life, instead of everyone else’s. The moments I want to remember aren’t happening on Facebook, they’re happening right in front of me. I don’t want Adeline to grow up with a phone in her face, or in Mom’s hand, all the time. She already knows how to turn it on, which is enough to freak me out! (And yes, I take 10 billion pictures of her on my phone, so to some extent there’s no escaping it.)
I’ve committed to now only getting on Facebook with the following stipulations:
- Between the hours of 8-5, my usual work day. Give or take an hour or two.
- To post something of purpose: whether that be photos for friends and family to see, i.e. my mom, something related to my photography business or Adam’s woodworking business, a funny status about something Adeline did, to ask for advice on something pertaining to motherhood, an educational article, a blog post, updating my profile, etc.
- If outside the work day hours, it has to be for something important. And I mean important!
Facebook can be such a life sucker. Literally! It has this powerful way of making you think FACEBOOK IS LIFE. It can make you feel all the feels and leave you wanting to throw your computer out the window.
Feelings that may surface when you’ve wasted too much time scrolling through Facebook:
- Why didn’t anyone like my picture? Cue internal panic.
- Only 15 likes? No comments? Obviously nobody likes me.
- I can’t believe my mood is now ruined because no one liked my picture.
- Maybe I should delete it and post something else.
- NO. IT DOESN’T MATTER.
- They’re pregnant again?
- Am I secretly jealous of them being pregnant? Maybe I should get pregnant again.
- No, definitely not. Calm down ovaries.
- And they bought a house?!
- It’s huge, how can they afford that? How can anyone afford that??
- Their picture got 135 likes? Why?? I guess they’re just more popular.
- *Read political post* They’re idiots. How can they think that way? UNFOLLOW.
- *Read another political post* MUST LEAVE PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE COMMENT.
- Delete comment.
- Uggghh why do I even read these posts.
- I wonder what the other comments say.
- ABORT ABORT ABORT.
- Wait, my family member posted WHAT?!
- Haven’t I seen this ad already?
- How do they know I googled this 3 days ago?
- Another cat video? At least it’s funny.
- Why why why did I read that sad article??
- Do they ever post anything other than their baby?
- Their baby is literally doing what every other baby does.
- Wait, I only post things about my baby.
- I’m such a hypocrite!
- Whoa whoa whoa, did they just talk about their baby’s poop? Too much, too much.
- Oh look, another MLM post.
- Noooooooo they joined too?
- Who buys this stuff if everyone is selling it?
- Don’t comment. Don’t comment. Don’t comment.
- How on God’s green earth do they have 45K likes on their Facebook page?
- Her pictures are so pretty, every picture she shares of her house is amazing.
- Wait, she has 3 kids.
- WHERE ARE ALL THE TOYS!?
- Ugh, she’s perfect. Literally perfect. My house could never look like that.
- Oh cool they got a new job!
- How did they get that job? What am I doing with my life?
- I bet it pays way more than I will make in a lifetime.
- I bet everyone makes more than I make. Ugh now I am depressed.
- If I get one more invitation from them to play Farmville I’m going to scream.
- Who is that? Did I go to high school with them? Why am I even ‘friends’ with them?
- I wonder if they’ll notice if I unfriend them?
- I’ll just unfollow them. Easy fix.
- Has it really already been an hour? I just scrolled for an hour…
- How did I end up on this person’s page? I don’t even know them.
Point being, if Facebook is turning you into a grumpy, angry elf, it’s time to take a break. You can uninstall it. You can unfollow anything you don’t want to see. You don’t have to keep doing this to yourself!
Having Facebook ONLY on my computer (and not on my phone) has made me more productive when I am on Facebook. I don’t spend as much time aimlessly scrolling and falling down rabbit holes. I don’t avoid social situations by pretending to be deeply interested in a Facebook post. I don’t spend hours at night while we watch TV Facebook stalking people I hardly know. I don’t waste precious time on the weekends worrying about what the rest of the world is doing. IT’S LIFE CHANGING PEOPLE! I kept the Messenger app on my phone though, simply so I wouldn’t miss any important messages.
I think what it all boils down to is self control. Can you have social media apps on your phone, and be disciplined enough to avoid them if you know they cause you negative feelings? If not, delete them! If you thrive on them, then keep on, sister!
It’s all about balance, and not letting social media and technology replace the reality you are living every single day. Don’t miss out on living your life because you’re trying to live someone else’s online.
Do you keep social media on your phone? Facebook specifically? Do you give yourself limits and boundaries when it comes to spending time online?