Tuesday, April 07, 2015

My Life Without Facebook: Some Surprising Discoveries

So it has been just over three months since I got off Facebook. I thought I'd share some of what I've learned in that time. This one thought of sharing has produced six tiny itty bitty thoughts:

It's actually quite easy to live in a world where Facebook doesn't exist.
This was is the greatest benefit, but also the greatest surprise. The initial step is the personal withdrawal from the site and use of Facebook itself. The first couple of weeks after getting off of Facebook I would still reflexively start typing in the site on my phone or computer, but that has stopped for the most part. The larger step, the one I wasn't really prepared for, is the one where Facebook doesn't really seem to exist. This one is fascinating. When you are actively on Facebook, the entire world seems to be there and it's difficult not to notice it. The button is on every website, comment sections on websites like ESPN are run by Facebook. It's easy to fall into the belief that in order to function in society you have to have a Facebook account. Untrue! Untrue! On the contrary, I have found that I get along quite well in a world where I am no longer in that space or even think about it. Yes, I'm writing about it now, but overall, Facebook is as dead to me as Derek Zoolander's dead mother. This is hard to believe, but I actually think we would all get on even if Facebook didn't exist tomorrow.

I am more intentional about active pursuits.
This is taking fruition. I am not on my computer as much at home. I don't scroll through my phone in front of my wife and son; in fact, I have my phone on me much less. I think of who to text or call and follow through with that. Instead of posting photos on Facebook and assume family is going to look at them, I actually send texts of pictures to friends and family directly for a more personal touch. Stacy and I even sent physical notes with pictures of Asher to loved ones a few weeks ago. I am writing more -- BOOM! -- and have slowly gone through Benjamin Graham's classic book on investing, The Intelligent Investor.

I am more intentional about wasted time.
On my blog post about getting off Facebook I mentioned how it is such a mindwaste for me. Thirty minutes would pass without my knowing how it happened, only to see drool on the table and screen continuously scrolling as I invade the lives of my "friends" who've generously put it on public display for me to see as my "news." Thanks friends! I wasted my time everyday doing that or commenting or liking or whatever, but what was worse was the feeling that I had no control over that. Facebook's vortex did. Now, my wasted time is more intentional. Sure, I can get sucked into a show, but I don't mindlessly just watch TV. I still read online and whatnot, but again, there is a sense of control (it might just be a sense, but let me know with there) and I much prefer to choose that wasted time than have Facebook choose it for me.

I am not writing as many letters as I thought.
I was ambitious with this. I had a vision of being like C.S. Lewis or others who would spend nights writing personal letters to people regularly. I have always appreciated a hand-written note sent to me in post and thought I could do the same, but I am not doing this. While Stace and I did to the pictures and notes for people, I have yet to write a single letter and drop it in the mail. Perhaps this will change.

I am not as productive as I thought I would be.
While I am more intentional with both wasted time and active pursuits, I would say that my wasted time still has too much of a role in my life. I have picked up a few TV shows and freaking plowed through all of Mad Men to catch up to the season that just started on Sunday (and I'm actually super proud of that). Sometimes on the train, instead of reading The Intelligent Investor I will scroll through blogs or look through LinkedIn, so I'm not actually as knowledgeable about investing. Additionally, I am not as much of an expert in my industry or job as I would like at this point. But what this is all actually revealing is inner critic who will be endlessly dissatisfied no matter how much I do, accomplish, learn, or produce.

This blog will suffer in readership.
Facebook is a great platform. I have thousands of connections there and it would be a great spot to promote this blog. But I'm foregoing that, placing my bet on a few other channels. The most important one is consistency. I am more serious than ever to write everyday, to get better, to be relevant, and to make this a place that is worth going to for readers. And then I will use other means to spread the word. I'm not off social media altogether, so Twitter and Instagram will help. E-mailing my peeps and letting them know what I'm doing will help too. And I'm hoping that if you read this you will help me spread the word. What if you all started posting it on Facebook for me? Oh man! Headlines read: The Silly Guy Who Won't Use Facebook is the Most Shared Blog on Facebook!

1 comment:

  1. Such a great analysis of this season! I loved this quote: "I much prefer to choose that wasted time than have Facebook choose it for me." Ugh....since I put the fb app back on my phone I'm seeing lots of little chunks of time go flying out the window. You've got me thinking...