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. :)

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