A Week Without Facebook

FacebookFacebook. Some people love it and others hate it. As a marketer, I find the amount of information collected about each user fascinating. As a user, it seems really creepy. We still use it though and many are addicted to it.

Viewing Facebook is such a habit that many don’t realize how often they do it. The constant scrolling of the newsfeed, stalking of friends and burying the face in the phone. We’ve all done it. We’re so used to Facebook being a part of our lives that it’s shocking when someone doesn’t have a profile.

Zuckerberg said he wanted to connect the world and he did. He also connected all of the bad things that came with it. That’s not his fault. It’s our fault. We use it. The trolls, the Joneses, the complainers, the predators and all the rest who don’t bother putting any good into the world use it. The best part is that we have the power to walk away from it.

My Facebook was starting to look like the evening news. All the train wrecks of the day, political idiocy and ads that have nothing to do with me appeared in my news feed. I was constantly selecting not to see things and unfollowing people. I started realizing my face was buried in my phone with Facebook more than ever yet I was increasingly annoyed with every view.

It was a Thursday night when I realized I needed a cleanse and would log off for a week… gasp! Yes. One. Whole. Week. No Facebook. I cleaned up the likes, unfollowed and unfriended people. I wanted to get my Facebook back to what I enjoyed which included a few real friends, family connections and the motivational pages I enjoy. I removed the app from my phone, logged off and didn’t look for a solid week. I survived. Shocking, isn’t it?

Here’s what it felt like the first few days:

  • The habit was real.  I wanted to go to Facebook a lot during that first weekend.
  • I was  constantly tempted to log-in.
  • I felt disconnected from my family and friends, especially since I live a few states away from some of them.
  • I thought I was missing something at first and then realized that I really wasn’t.
  • By the end of day two, I started getting e-mail reminders from Facebook telling me that I was missing updates and I should come back. Tempting, but no thanks.

Here’s what I learned:

  • Facebook is nobody’s fault, but our own. It’s a choice.
  • It’ll become a habit if you let it.
  • Even as a marketer, I can assure you it’s ok to take a break. If you’re a social media manager, you might get a break by utilizing back-up coverage. It will refresh you. I know from experience that is not an easy job.
  • You can tailor what you see in the newsfeed. Keep unfollowing and selecting the option not to see certain posts or ads as they come into your newsfeed. It’s worth it .
  • Don’t mistake real friends with the number of “friends” you’re connected with on Facebook. I’d take quality over quantity any day.
  • Putting the phone down is not that hard. It just takes a little practice and determination.
  • It’s a lot more fun to hang with my kids when my phone isn’t in the room and they appreciate it not being around, too.

I see people all the time with the phone in the face obsession. They don’t get that real life is passing right in front of them, not on Facebook. Similar to the cocktails I may enjoy on a warm summer evening, Facebook is a lot of fun when consumed in moderation.

From a marketing perspective, it’s a necessary tool to reach your audience and plays an important role in business. The greater lesson for me was learning that I can find a healthy balance with a little focus and some new habits. That’s exactly what my week without Facebook taught me.

How do you manage your Facebook use?





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