As the last week of my Facebook rehab ticks by, I've found myself not really anticipating the end of the 70-day experience, but rather dreading it.
Admittedly, I have slipped a bit. When I officially launched a new business last month, I returned to Facebook briefly to set up a business page there and to schedule a dozen or so automated posts so that I wouldn't have to babysit it for a while. The entire experience added up to about thirty minutes of Facebook time.
What I didn't do while I was there creating the business page was read messages, look at my news feed, or check the hundreds of notifications waiting there. I avoided the time-suck that the social media rehab was meant to curb, so even though it was a bit of a "slip", I guess it can also be considered a real-world test of my new powers of will.
If I can resist the gravitational pull of Facebook, then why am I still dreading the end of my fast?
Because people will expect me to be there and to be reachable at all times.
Yes, even my friends who know that I'm writing, working a part-time job, and running two businesses still expect me to respond to comments and messages within the hour. Every hour. All day.
Contrary to popular belief, we are not all fused to our screens 24/7.
From what I've learned from the curious folks who were willing to strike up conversations after hearing about my social media avoidance, I'm not alone in this overwhelming feeling of intrusion. It's like the accessibility that social media allows also destroys any boundaries that we used to consider "polite" in terms of social interaction.
So, what have I been up to these past two months? Quite a bit--enough that the assembly of this list surprised even me.
How I spent some of my time away from social media:
(In no particular order...)
- Gave away a lot of stuff.
- Sold a lot of stuff.
- Reopened my Etsy store.
- Started going to yoga classes.
- Donned a mascot suit and became the Grinch for a day.
- Won a scholarship.
- Reconnected with my brother.
- Renewed my CPR/First Aid certification.
- Began volunteering with the American Red Cross.
- Launched a new business.
- Attended my first drag show.
- Studied and am scheduled to take the exam for my ACSM Certification for personal training.
- Joined the US Strongman Organization.
- Registered (and stepped up training) for my first Strongwoman competition.
- Picked up watercolor painting again after a seven-year hiatus.
- Paid off our debt.
- Practiced photography.
- Launched a new blog.
- Read a lot of books.
If you're thinking that this experiment has been a positive one, then you're absolutely right. Getting my mind away from the constant chatter of trending headlines and rolling news feeds allowed me to get back in touch with me--the person behind the online presence. The person who used to talk to people instead of relaying messages through a cold network of screens and text.
Instead of reading about what others were doing, I went out and did my own thing.
It has been amazing. In fact, it's been so amazing that I may never go back to just daily social media check-ins. Weekly may even be too much.
Who knows? I may just turn out to be an old-fashioned kook who writes actual letters to their friends and calls people every once in a while to invite them to an event.
That doesn't seem so strange to me now.