Saturday, August 23, 2014

The First Day of No Facebook

So, yeah, it's only the end of the first day and I'm already blogging again.

Facebook withdrawal?

Maaaaaaaaybeeeeee ...

I noticed something interesting today. While I was actually out and about for a big chunk of the day, I had several hours at home in the afternoon and evening. I started out doing some writing. After a bit, I noticed my brain shifting away, wanting to play an app game like Candy Crush, or hop on Facebook.

So I started learning a new song. I want to keep my soprano range in shape, so I chose "Glitter and Be Gay" from Candide. I remember seeing it years ago performed by a beautiful woman with a the richest soprano voice and the strongest jawline I'd ever seen on a female. Then I saw Kristin Chenoweth do it with even more humor looking like a little Dolly Parton in a big blonde wig, cute pink dress, and high heels that laced like ballet slippers.

This song is going to take some time. Talk about your vocal gymnastics. Whew!

When my mind started wandering toward app games and Facebook again, I started making a mini teddy bear. I designed a new pattern (I've made dozens and I'm still not satisfied with the results. I'll get there someday.) If I like the way this one turns out, I'll crochet a scarf and hat from the green qiviut yarn I got a while ago. I haven't used it because it is around $95 for a small skein of about 175 yards. Precious stuff.

Anyway, every time my mind would wander to Facebook and games, I'd direct it to some other project. For example, this blog post is happening because hubby is busy and I'm avoiding Facebook.

So here's my revelation:

I hadn't realized just how often I get on Facebook or play Facebook-related games on the iPad, or those time management games like Diner Dash on my laptop. It was my version of spacing out in front of the TV. I wasn't engaged, I wasn't thinking, I wasn't producing anything. I was just zoning.

And I was doing it a lot!

Even when I stopped teaching at the club, I felt like I didn't have that much time to do stuff. The time I spent trying to read everyone's posts and see everyone's pictures, as well as making and sharing posts and pics of my own, was astronomical. The time spent playing games that I didn't really have to pay much attention to was almost as big. Even when I was "cutting back."

The desire to tune out is addicting. My drug was Facebook and app games instead of the television.

The television is actually more of a tool for me than Facebook. I use it to help me get motivated to do certain chores, like washing dishes. Yes, I really did say I use the TV for washing dishes. This seems like it would be a hinderance, but I usually put on musicals and sing along with the show tunes while soaping and rinsing. Otherwise, doing dishes is a hideously boring chore that has to be done, much to my dismay, every single day.

And no, I do not have an automatic dishwasher.

Only one day without Facebook, and I'm already so much more productive and feel better about things in general.

Don't get me wrong. I miss seeing my friends on there, chatting with people, seeing baby pictures and Throwback Thursday photos, sharing the posts of kitties needing adoption or fostering (Alaska has some uncommonly pretty cats!) While I knew some people were annoyed with my sharing of adoptable cats and kittens, the two times that friends of mine adopted one made it worth it. So worth it.

Nonetheless, I have the feeling I'm done with my personal Facebook account. I'm thinking of going back to Twitter for a bit, since I never spent very much time with it. Perhaps eventually I will start a professional author Facebook page.

Then again ... ;)

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Break From Facebook

I remember when I first started using Facebook. After the blingy-ness and teenager-ish feeling of MySpace, it seemed very plain and almost boring. It wasn't long before I was on Facebook exclusively.

I started playing games like Yoville and Family Feud. I collected more and more friends from theatre, from home, from high school.

And then I hit a turning point. I'm not sure why. I guess I just started noticing how much time I spent on Facebook and not doing all the things I love doing: reading, writing, singing, playing guitar, keeping my house clean. (Okay, I don't really love doing that last one, but I do love the results.)

As time has rolled by, I've limited my visits. The more news reports on how Facebook invades our privacy in the name of advertising and making money, the more I cut back on my Facebook time. I stopped keeping up with my newsfeed, even knowing there were things I wanted to see and wasn't. I stopped "liking" everything, especially when I learned that's how they gear their advertising to you specifically, and even control what you see.

I recently quit my job. Oh, did I forget to mention that? Yeah, I quit my job as a fitness instructor. Lots of reasons, a whole other post on its own. Let's just say we did it to cut back on expenses related to it, and to increase the amount of time I can spend with my family.

So you would think that with all this extra time on my hands, that I wouldn't worry about time spent on Facebook.

In reality, I find I have even less desire to be on Facebook than before I quit.

So I'm conducting an experiment. If you've ever tried to reduce the clutter in your house, you are probably familiar with the adage, "If you haven't used it for a year, get rid of it." Or to test this, you put the things in a box with the date on it. If you haven't opened that box within a year, donate it to a thrift store without even looking inside.

I'm giving up Facebook and all related apps for a week (stuff like Candy Crush, etc.) I'm encouraging friends to send me their email and home addresses because I want to start writing the old fashioned way. I really loved that old book series "Pen Pals" and want to bring that art back. I dusted off my address book that usually only makes appearances at Christmas. I plan on using Skype whenever possible as well.

I'm starting with a week, just to test the waters. If I don't miss it, I'll keep going. At some point, I'll probably decide to delete my account entirely.

My only stumbling block is that I love being able to see all that's going on in my friends' lives. I live thousands of miles away from many of them and Facebook has been the only reason I'm still in contact with some of them. Some have new babies, and I love watching their videos and seeing their pictures. Some do theatre, some go on thrilling adventures, some share my interests like writing. These are the reasons I was on Facebook to begin with and why I've stayed with it for so long. It's very convenient for this purpose.

So I'm not sure what to do about photos. I do love posting photos so my loved ones can see what we're up to. But I'm not at all familiar with websites that are photo-centered. Are there any out there that aren't just as bad as Facebook at violating our rights for the sake of selling us stuff?

On the upside, this may mean that I make more blog entries. :)