Facebook Detox

Can there be moderation with Facebook? I'm on a mission to find out.  During my morning sickness I think I experienced a total Facebook overdose. Lying bed almost all day with my phone brought me to a new level of facebook checking. I read almost every linked article and commented on almost every unimportant subject and got upset about every injustice.  This, in combination with a visit I had with our friend Abby, brought on my Facebook crisis.

When Abby arrived for a visit, I showed her where she would be sleeping, I proceeded to give her the wireless password. She laughed and said she didn't have a computer with her.  She also didn't have a smart phone. I was floored.  I couldn't understand her way of life. It was so Amish.  This made me think a lot about my dependence on technology. Am I overboard?  Am I missing out on real life connections?

As Willie and I were talking about it a few nights ago, he said, maybe you should just delete your Facebook account. I have to admit when other friends delete their accounts, I always think it's a little extreme.  I try not to be extreme, but this could possibly be a case where moderation is too hard to pull off.  We will see.

I listened to this great NPR interview about social media dependence once and some researchers found that there is actually a chemical released in the brain each time you get a notification from facebook.  Even though the notification may be someone requesting you to play a game with them, just the chance that it might be a positive comment from a friend sends a chemical to your brain.  So we check often, we post often to try and get the positive response.  And in the case of photographers, we base our value on the amount of feedback we receive regarding our images.

To start my facebook detox, my first step was to take Facebook off my phone. That took care of the mindless checking when I have a few down minutes at the doctors office or waiting in the car or resting on my bed. That was an easy transition and I'm happy to admit I've actually picked up a book instead of my phone while on my bed.  I then got all set up on Instagram so I still had a way to share and communicate with a few friends. Then i decided to check Facebook once in the morning and once in the evening on my computer.  So far, I haven't been able to strictly keep to that schedule, but I've been close.

I'm mostly finding that I feel a little lonely.  I think this could be really good for me.  Maybe I'll send out an email or call up a friend or actually go see one face to face.  This could also be bad for Willie since I might bug him at work more to talk to me. No matter what beefs I have with Facebook, I do find community there, but is it enough?  Is it just pacifying a deeper need for real conversation and friendships?  When Abby was here we spent the whole time talking about everything.  We talked about politics, religion, and every issue you can think of.  It was so great having a face to face conversation with an intelligent person.  It really filled my cup. I may need more of that.

Facebook Pros:

1. Community.
2. Knowing where to find an old friend if I need them.
3. Seeing images from the lives of people I care about.
4. Learning about big news items fast

Facebook Cons:

1. Wasting time.
2. Negativity. No matter how hard I try, I can't protect myself from people's negativity (politics, gripping, venting, complaining, etc).
3. I dont' really write anymore (like on this blog) because I can just make a quick status update about the way I feel.

Wish me luck on my detox.  I'm hoping for moderation so that I can keep my pros and eliminate most of my cons.


  1. Art Boy said...
    I love it, Sally. I totally had to have a fast from my kindle (cheaper substitute for a smartphone) a few weeks back. I found I was constantly on it, whether checking email, facebook, games, etc. so I decided to do a week-long fast and it was so spiritually refreshing! I didn't think I would see such a difference but I did immediately. It really helped me refocus. So I hope you find your detox as refreshing as I did. I'm a definite believer in moderation. :)
    love Julie
    Heidi said...
    Again, I love your honesty and candor! I feel the exact same way about Facebook and have gone through many different detoxes...always to return to too much Facebook time. Part of me dreams of living off the grid in a cabin and the woods with my family and animals and not even using the internet! But I know that the all or nothing approach is probably not the solution...or even do-able! I think I will join you in a similar detox...probably from the internet as a whole in addition to FB. :)
    Christy H-B said...
    Sally--Always well written. Good real thoughts. I do think moderation can be accomplished. And I also think that sometimes FB is an easier friend outreach than scheduling realtime but not on the same level as quality real time.... It can be a tool or clutter. Good luck in your navigation. I have to admit that I'd miss the great pictures and insight you lend in the FB world but I'll understand any need to simplify and/or diversify usage time. What book are you reading? Hugs.

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