I stayed off the social network site for a week and here’s what happened…
This blog post might be a bit out of place on my book blog but I thought it was a good place to share my thoughts on my own ‘social experiment’ and knowing that I planned to write a blog post on the experience helped me to keep, so there was no cheating!
On Sunday 4th June I decided that I was going to give Facebook a break for 1 week. I was lying in bed unable to sleep just scrolling through content that I had no interest in and other content that worried me. The terrorist attack on London Bridge happened the evening before so my news feed was populated with the latest updates, videos, etc.
Being so close to home, the attack scared me. It has been the 3rd in a matter of months here in England, when before this the last one I can clearly remember happening was in 2007. While I was scrolling through Facebook I found myself clicking on these links, even though I knew the content would only worry me more. That’s why I decided to ‘stick my head in the sand’ so to speak and stay off Facebook and away from temptation of reading these articles.
Heading into London at the end of the month to watch Aladdin also played a factor in my decision to stop using Facebook for the time being. The more I was reading, the more worried I was getting and it made me start to worry about visiting. It’s a trip I have been looking forward to for ages, so I wasn’t going to let what I was reading on social media stop me from going. Especially as it isn’t all from reliable sources, half the stuff I was reading could have been fake news!
That’s why my first step was to stop using Facebook (I also cut out Twitter for the week, although I don’t use it that much so it wasn’t as difficult). I would carry on using Instagram and also checking the BBC news website every now and again, I wasn’t going to completely cut myself off from the news, just cut down a bit so the impact wasn’t as intense.
Monday 5th June was soon upon me and I started my Facebook free week.
Begin at work made it easy to resist during the day and even lunchtime. Instead of scrolling through my news feed I was reading books that I have been meaning to read for ages and it motivated me to go swimming more and I had time on my lunch breaks to run errands.
By not spending hours just scrolling, it also made my battery last so much longer! There were three nights during the week that I didn’t put my phone on charge overnight and normally I have to plug it in every night to give it some juice so that was a positive.
By staying off my phone to avoid Facebook (I hadn’t deleted the app so there was that temptation) it also made me cut down on the amount of time I was spending flicking between apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, etc. and it was incredible the amount of time it freed up! I didn’t realise how much time I was wasting looking at my phone until I stopped.
Without realising I had also managed to pick the week of the General Election in the UK as my week off Facebook. This was actually a good thing for me as I am easily influenced, so seeing someone else’s opinion on Facebook normally affects mine. By not going on Facebook and reading all the posts that get hundreds of comments or viewing the videos that had hundreds of thousands of shares I had to do my own research into the party policies. To do this I used the Guardian and the BBC news websites, I chose these as I believe them to be reputable news agencies and so formed my opinion off of the information on the main policies they provided. This was so good for me as normally I leave my choice of vote until the last minute and make up my mind (not intentionally) but normally after I have checked social media sites. This time around I felt like I had made an informed decision on my vote and that this time it would actually count and be towards something I knew about and agreed with, rather than guessing.
By Friday evening FOMO was kicking in, especially on the Saturday morning when I wanted to see what everyone had been up to on Friday night. By the Saturday evening I had given in and was back into my old habits and last night I was scrolling through again while lying in bed.
I wouldn’t say that I was addicted to social media, but trying to stay off of Facebook showed me just how much time I spend on it and how difficult it is for me to stay off of it! Although last night when I was scrolling through, I did spend a lot less time on it than before I had my ‘Facebook detox’.
During the week I found I slept so much better not staring at the screen for ages before I went to bed and not being on my phone also gave me time to do other activities that I enjoy – like reading! I have nearly finished ‘The Kite Runner’ during this week and it has been sat on my TBR pile for ages.
Staying off Facebook is definitely something I will try to stick to and just check a few times a week. Being without my phone made such a difference that it has made me think of cutting down the time I spend on all my apps and on my phone. Not being glued to the screen gives you time to do stuff you enjoy, and I think helps your mental well being as you can’t compare yourself to others if you can’t see what they are doing.
Anyone thinking of doing it, I would say go for it! Even though I failed to stay off Facebook for a week, I would say that my little experiment was a success as it has shown me just how much extra time I had if I wasn’t scrolling.
What do you think? Do you use Facebook every day or have you also had a ‘detox’? Let me know in the comments!