What should I do?

It’s not an existential question (not this time) – it’s a question I’m increasingly asking myself these days and it is great. It’s been close to a month since I deleted my Facebook, Linkedin, and even my old Myspace accounts – they are deleted, gone, not recoverable (but probably stored somewhere for government intelligence agencies … Continue reading “What should I do?”

It’s not an existential question (not this time) – it’s a question I’m increasingly asking myself these days and it is great. It’s been close to a month since I deleted my Facebook, Linkedin, and even my old Myspace accounts – they are deleted, gone, not recoverable (but probably stored somewhere for government intelligence agencies – along with every other piece of data that has ever been on the internet). The amount of time I spend looking at my phone has been reduced dramatically – I would guess it was at least cut in half. The amount of time I can spend mindlessly staring at my computer screen has been cut even further. And it’s amazing to me that almost daily, I find myself looking at my computer screen and saying “What should I do?” and without the mindless voyeurism of Facebook as an option – my answer is usually to close the computer and do something in the real world. It’s astounding – this happens every day – and when Facebook was there – it didn’t happen. And, get this, I’m pretty sure that it happened before there was Facebook too – and (and I have no evidence to back this up, but it makes sense) I’m sure that it is not just me that Facebook changed that way. Here’s the thing – I never noticed that shift in behavior. I wasn’t aware of it. When I opted to delete my Facebook account, I had a vague idea about it- but I didn’t expect this change.

So, without Facebook as a go-to, What should I do? The answer is usually much more satisfying than anything I ever did on Facebook – reading a book, taking a walk, playing my ukulele, spending time with my family, learning something, cooking a meal, going to the gym – and of course, I still have my online time sucks but they take up no time in comparison to what Facebook was eating – I play a couple of turn based games that take up about 15 minutes each day if I want them to – I check email, look at craigslist, and look at the news. All told, an hour is usually plenty of time to do all of that. On my phone, I have to admit to a minor addiction that I am surprisingly ashamed of – Pokemon Go. I started playing it with my 5-year-old and we still play together, but after I walk her to school, on the walk home, I’m the only one throwing pokeballs – and yeah, this confession feels a little bit like coming out of the closet. It’s a strange addiction that I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to give up – but not until I evolve all my pocket monsters and catch em all….ugh, this problem may be worse than I thought. Anyway, that’s it. I’m finding more time to write, more time to read, more time to do other things – and that is very good because time was something I was feeling very short of while I was logged onto Facebook.

I don’t miss Facebook – and because I know how Facebook works when you are on it – I am pretty certain that my friends who I was connected with on that platform don’t have the time to miss me. I hope to see them in the real world again someday.

A 99 Day Break from Facebook

UPDATE: Just a few days in and I already find that I have extra time on my hands. It’s amazing how when I have a spare moment on the computer or in the shop or at home, my mind says “Check out Facebook” and then when I don’t I realize – “Hey, I don’t need to be on the computer and can step away to do something else” – it’s amazing how much of my precious time I was killing with FB.

Yesterday, I saw an interesting proposal online – it suggested that Facebook might be contributing to general unease and unhappiness in the world.  I was already feeling a bit nauseated by Facebook in light of the recent behavioural experimentation the Facebook scientists have been conducting on users without their knowledge.

new-profile-picture

If you haven’t heard of it already, Facebook manipulated what stories showed up in the streams of users and then monitored what effect that had on the posting behaviour of those users.  They then, rather naively, published the results which showed that by manipulating what stories users saw, they could manipulate what kind of stories users posted.

So, the chances are that you have already been manipulated by Facebook. And that’s only the study they are telling us about…It was in that context that I saw a Danish group suggesting that a lengthy break from Facebook might make people happier – in general. And they created a website and campaign to encourage people to give it a shot. 99daysoffreedom.com

Upon hearing about it, my first reaction was – “Whoa, that’s three months, I don’t think I could do that – I use Facebook all the time.” and then, those words hit me…What exactly do I use Facebook for? I use it to see what my friends are posting, to try to post things that my friends might ‘like’ and as a sort of ego extension. I use it to try to increase my readership and once in a while I use it to buy or sell something.  The real question is Do I need it? The answer is very clearly “No”. I’ve lived most of my life without it and actually, I was happier with my use of my time during most of that time.  In fact, Facebook has more or less become a defacto boredom time killer and I don’t need to kill time…it’s my most valuable assett. I have so much stuff I want to do and haven’t been doing because I don’t have the time – but suddenly – if I’m not spending my time scrolling through platitudes pasted on nice pictures – or looking at other people’s vacation photos – I’ve got some time.

I mean, you want proof? I’m writing this. I’m not writing it on Facebook, I’m writing it on my blog which I’ve been sorely neglecting lately. You might be reading it on Facebook though because my blog automatically posts on Facebook without me logging in at all. I’m not logged into Facebook, I’m not checking to see if people ‘like’ me or what I post and I’m not being pithy, smarmy, or snarky.  It already feels good.

So here we are 99 days without logging into Facebook begins…if you want to see where it ends…you can see my countdown here..

And if you want to contact me – it won’t work to contact me on facebook. Try emailing me, commenting on this blog, calling me, or even sending me a letter.

 

http://99daysoffreedom.com/vago-damitio