After the Facebook Fast

Two weeks ago I gave up social media for seven whole days (here’s the link). Well, sort of. To be honest, I checked my stats on WordPress (this blog) for the first two days of my social media fast. I also waited to delete all of the social media apps from my smartphone until day two. So, while I didn’t know what my Facebook notifications were, I knew I was still getting them – for the first two days, at least. Other than that, though, I didn’t check Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram, or OkCupid, or my blog.

Here is what I discovered:

Not checking Facebook on my phone every other minute is great.

I felt antsy for the first few days, but after that I barely thought about it. I thought that maybe the terrible boredom and lack of attention I would inevitably feel during that week might force me into some amazing sort of adventure, like talking to a girl in a bar, or Trader Joe’s, or something. It didn’t. Apparently the same affliction that drives me to obsessively check Facebook also ramps up my anxiety in ‘actual’ social situations.

I called my Dad, though. I did my dishes and cleaned the kitchen. I did a load of laundry and I took a few busses around Seattle. My brother and I even bussed ourselves to Bellevue and walked around the Microsoft campus in the rain. Then we went to the nicest thrift store I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m talking, brand new appliances everywhere without a hipster in sight.

None of that is important, though. I could have done all that and still checked Facebook. What is really cool though is that now, a whole week after the Facebook hiatus ended, I still haven’t reloaded all those social media apps onto my phone. I am even considering giving up my iPhone and AT&T contract to buy the lamest, least smart phone I can get my hands on. Progress through regress!

After the first three days my insatiable desire to check my social media began to fade. I started to focus on my social phobias a bit more, instead of burying them under multiple windows with multiple tabs of websites on them. It was enough to scratch an itch I’ve had for a long time now. Give up social media completely.

I knew Facebook wasn’t doing me any favors a long time ago. That never stopped me from fiendishly scrolling through my Facebook to read about whatever my e-friends were posting about. Nowadays I’m only checking it once or twice a day. When I’m not checking it, though, I now find myself thinking about maybe really giving it up. I think about no more iPhone. I think about moving to the Himalayas, too. But that’s alright. I’m on to something.

Maybe I don’t need to move to a third world country to get away from my social media vices. Or my chemical vices. Or my emotional vices. Damn. Maybe I have to remove them from myself, rather than removing me from them. A weeklong Facebook fast didn’t change my life, but it did get me thinking about better ways to improve myself; better ways to stop hurting myself. Maybe I’ll try giving up beer next week. Well, beer, and gin, and wine (still and sparkling) and cough syrup, and whatever else I can desperately think of to drink in a frustrated effort to ignore the deficiencies in my life. Maybe.

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