Facebook often gets a bad rap. Some say that social media is causing our real relationships to deteriorate while turning us into screen-addicted zombies. Others argue that social media – and much of the internet – is a mechanism for shameless self-promotion that allows us to express endless self-obsession through posts about everything from our child’s first bowel movement to what we ate for lunch.
Personally, however, I quite enjoy social media. And I’m “guilty” of posting regularly on both my personal and professional Facebook pages. In many ways I treat Facebook like my daily news. I avoid reading most major news outlets, as they typically focus on spreading fear and negativity. Instead, once a day I read my “social news” and if I feel like posting something, I do.
In general I’d say that I have pretty healthy social media habits. I check Facebook once or twice per day – usually in the evening and rarely during work hours. And I don’t typically spend more than fifteen-thirty minutes on social media per day. When waiting for the bus or for an appointment, I rarely “troll” through my newsfeed on my phone. I never complete online quizzes or games, and I typically log out as soon as I notice myself “glazing over” while scrolling.
However, even with my limited amount of social media exposure, I notice that Facebook takes up a lot of mental space. I think about what I’m going to post (especially on my professional page, where I post daily). I think about what other people post. And I think about what people think about my posts.
I often log on to Facebook to “relax,” but it isn’t actually very relaxing. @BethanyButzer (Click to Tweet!)
Lately I’ve been wondering what would happen if I opened up my mental space by trading screen time for me time. What if I replaced Facebook with a real book, or some yoga, or painting, or playing an instrument? Is it possible that I might feel more creative and less mentally drained?
Or perhaps I’ll end up feeling disconnected and lonely. It’s hard to tell.
My curiosity led me to decide to participate in a self-imposed February Facebook Fast, with a “blogging break” thrown in for good measure. During the month of February, I’m going to refrain from logging into Facebook. No posts. No responding to messages. No scrolling through my feed. I’m also going to take a month off from writing blogs, which I typically write every two weeks, and my e-newsletter, which I typically send out once per month.
I have no idea what the result of this little experiment will be. Maybe I’ll have a creative breakthrough. Or maybe I won’t notice a difference. Either way, I’m interested to see what the next month will hold.
Intrigued? Consider joining my February Facebook Fast (and let me know about it in the comments below!). At the beginning of March I’ll share my experience, and you can share yours, too.
See you on the other side!
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
If you’d like tips on how to create a life you love, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
Image courtesy of Alejandro Escamilla.