Sunday, January 19, 2014

Facebook Lite

I felt like I needed a break from Facebook so I decided to take one.  From my birthday, December 21 till my wedding anniversary January 13, I did Facebook Lite.  Which meant that while I did occasionally check pictures in which I was tagged and check my Facebook messages via my Yahoo account, I didn't post on my page, look through my news feed or visit any of my groups.  It was a good thing to do and I'm glad I followed my instinct to do it.  

Why did I feel l needed a break?  Checking Facebook had become a compulsive behavior.  I would end up on Facebook sometimes and say to myself, "Hey, this is not where I wanted to go!"  And then while on it, I would find myself rolling my eyes at some of the things folks were posting that frankly I found trite and annoying.  Things like, "Here is me using my hot glue gun to make a house out of popsicle sticks."  For like the 15th time that month?  Really? I'm just not interested.  I would hear myself thinking, "Being on here is such a waste of time! There's no need for it!"  Yet I would still scroll down.  Still check.  Every 30 minutes.  

Taking a break helped me to really understand why I was doing it.  And the answer is kind of brutal but honest: it's often lonely for me being a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom.  It can be very isolating.  Especially during the cold winter months when I tend to stay very close to home.  We don't go to the playground.  We don't go to the library and just hang out as often.  We don't go on walks or do nearly as many play dates.  (Winter is extremely hard on me.  I just kind of put my head down and try to power through December through March as best I can.)  Facebook, then, served to fill the gap.  Not completely, of course, but it is indeed a way to interact with other folks in some way.  To see what other adults are doing and thinking.   

I would say what made me start feeling like I really needed a break from it was that I recognized maybe not altogether consciously that I needed some real connection and interaction.  I wanted someone to come over and hang out, have some tea, and chat.  And so Facebook was actually becoming frustrating because it just wasn't a suitable substitute for the real thing.  

Lately I have been thinking again about my decision to be a stay-at-home mom and admitting to myself that even though I am more of an introvert, I do need almost daily some kind of physical, stimulating interaction with the world.  My old Saturday teaching job (which got so intensely boring and stressful after a while) would have me back but I don't really want to go back.  Do I go in search of another type of job? Where?  Will getting a job do the trick?  How can I get what I need while continuing to do the kind of hands-on mothering I want to do?  Maybe I should just hold off on any big decisions until the weather improves . . . 

I wish I could say that during my Facebook Lite period, I got tons of stuff done.  Lots of crochet and knitting, lots of reading, lots of writing.  Started to meditate again.  Something.  It was good to see that at least it wasn't Facebook keeping me from doing those things.  (It's mainly my 16 month old, my 6 year old and my 8 year old.)

So I am back on Facebook but the compulsive need to check it has vanished.  I go on once a day and that's that. The break helped me understand on a visceral level that Facebook cannot adequately fulfill my need.  There's no need to get mad at folks for posting their breakfast, lunch and dinner--that's kind of what Facebook is about.  You can see the meal but you don't actually share it even if you click the share button.

I did realize that Facebook is beneficial in some ways.  I do get a lot of my news there (like the news that one of my favorite poets Amiri Baraka passed--no one in my real life would have mentioned that or really cared).  And I find interesting articles and tips that I would never come across without Facebook.  So no, I won't be canceling my account anytime soon.  

1 comment:

Ahava & Amara Life Foundation said...

I think I have been on fb for 4 years and over that period of time I have seen a good number of my "friends" announce a fb fast or a deactivation of their account. I haven't ever considered a break, sometimes I wonder if I should. I have had mini breaks here and there while I was traveling or while at certain events and may have missed a few days here and there but not ever a specific fast. But the reason why you say you do like fb are the reasons I don't feel a need to. A reset and recharge is good with anything though..

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