Why I’m having a Personal Facebook Detox this month

My alarm goes off in the morning, I swipe it right, pick up my phone, type in my pin code, and check four things: messages, emails, Twitter and Facebook. If I see any messages, emails or tweets, I tell myself that I’ll reply to them when I’m eating breakfast. The process with each lasts around one minute altogether on average. Yet, with Facebook, I scroll through for 5, 10, sometimes 15 minutes.

What do I actually do in that Facebook time? Nothing. I read statuses that have nothing to do with me, news articles that I would never choose to read if it were in a physical newspaper, and stalk profiles of people who I haven’t spoken to, and usually won’t speak to, in months – sometimes years.

I get sucked into other people’s worlds before I even get a chance to wander around mine.

It doesn’t stop there, though. Some days, when I’m not on the phone or replying to tweets and emails on the go, I’ll be scrolling through my newsfeed on my way to work – catching up on anything new that’s come in since I checked an hour ago. I’ll then go onto check it several times throughout the day – often hourly over the weekend.

Sometimes it’s the last thing I think about before I fall asleep.

I don’t want to know how many hours Facebook has consumed my life. It’s too terrifying a thought. What I do know is that the majority of those hours were completely unnecessary, and some have had a negative impact on my life.

Last night, for example, was Halloween. Despite my excitement over Halloween, I wasn’t well enough to go out in the end. Yet, rather than let myself rest, I spent half an hour scrolling through a newsfeed full of “Excited to go out tonight/Look at how great I look/Aren’t I a great Zombie” photos.

I started feeling sorry for myself and envious of everyone else. “How boring am I, spending Halloween watching House of Cards and lying in bed at 8pm? My boyfriend must be annoyed.” I thought, incessantly, despite being assured that he really wasn’t.

Had I not been obsessing over what other people were doing, I actually would have thought: “It’s a shame I couldn’t see my friends tonight, but at least I get to spend the evening watching a great show with someone I love.”

I made the decision to deal with my Facebook obsession a few weeks ago, but last night proved how important it is that I make a change.

I’m going on a personal Facebook detox.

From today, I am not checking my newsfeed or my personal profile for a month. Being a Social Media Marketer and using Facebook to communicate with the PS readers, I will have to use Facebook Pages professionally. I will also keep using Facebook Messenger for communicating with friends, housemates and family. However, the Facebook apps are so advanced, I won’t need to use the website to access these.

I need to stop comparing my life to others; I need to stop getting frustrated by statuses written by people whose opinions shouldn’t affect me and I need to stop wasting time investigating the lives of people who aren’t even part of my real world.

I wasn’t going to write this post. To tell the truth, I was embarrassed by how much of an impact one website has had on my life. However, after speaking to people about it and reading up on Facebook addictions, I realised that I’m actually, well, normal. Almost everyone I know has this problem.

I even know a handful of people who have called off a wedding or had a divorce because of Facebook.

I don’t want to sound self-righteous and urge all of you to follow in my footsteps. If you’re happy as you are, then please just see this post as nothing more than one person’s opinion. Everyone’s experiences are different.

However, if you read this and have been reminded of times when your over-investment in Facebook has ruined your day, your view of someone or even your marriage, maybe a detox of some kind is for you too.

Before I go cold turkey, I’m going to do a few things…

♦ Write down the dates of any of my friend’s birthdays happening in November. I know it sounds bad, but I’ve become reliant on Facebook to remind me.
♦ Write a status about it, just so anyone who tries to write on my wall knows that I won’t be replying until December – but I am available on messenger.
♦ Delete the Facebook app off my phone and my iPad – to help resist temptation.

I have no idea what I expect to come from this. I hope that it’ll combat negativity and help me to focus on things that matter more, but I can’t be so sure that I won’t find another distraction. Facebook isn’t the problem here; it’s the habits that I’ve formed.

It's time to be connected, be discovered and be off Facebook.

Digital, ThoughtsPippa Says