On Sunday I did something different. I took a break from social media. Well, I tried. After church I realised I should check some stuff on the house group message about arranging gas/electricity. Then I figured I wasn’t giving up texting so I sent a few individual messages via Facebook Messenger because that’s free for everyone and used the same as texting. At around half 9 I finally caved and went on Facebook to wish a friend a happy birthday. I scrolled down a bit and checked the Facebook group for the student magazine, on which there was a post.
None of these things required my immediate attention, but it shows how Facebook has become intertwined with other activities. If you’re hosting an event, it’s on Facebook. Photos from your last holiday, they’ll go on Facebook. Emails that no-one bothers to check, put them on Facebook instead. Being off Facebook for a day has kept me out of the loop, but to be honest I haven’t missed much over the last 24 hours. I have 9 notifications to read that could be important but I doubt it. If it wasn’t the way to keep up to date in today’s society I’d probably stay off Facebook a lot more.
From the student magazine post I was directed to a website but still within the Facebook app. I did something else and then went looking for something on the internet. I absent mindedly went back to Facebook thinking it was Chrome and clicked back to the News Feed and kept scrolling. I forgot what it was I was searching for. And then I remembered it was Paramore lyrics that I wanted to find – I wouldn’t find them on Facebook!
I did sort of break my promise to break from social media for a day, but I used a different app for messages so I stayed away from the Facebook website until the birthday message. Yes, it was hard to stay away when I was a bit bored, but I tidied and I wrote and I scrapbooked and I feel quite positive about my day’s activities. So I’m going to try limiting Facebook time. I won’t check it first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I’ll probably have a look in the middle of the day and then again in the evening. Maybe this will work, maybe it won’t.
This has brought back to me though how society has started to work. People look for approval by the online response to what they post. We work to project an image of ourselves by our online activity. We cut out the bad bits of life and emphasise the good bits. It’s damaging and unhealthy and I’d like to get away from that.
So, I challenge you to take a social media break. And if you ‘see’ me on Facebook, ask me why I’m online and if I’m sticking to my promise to not be online quite so much.
Also, a lot of the stuff about a society saturated by social media is covered in Tim Chester’s book Will you be my Facebook friend? – 50 pages on how to tackle the issues found with usage of social media.