Last year, news spread that Facebook had conducted a “Mood Manipulation Experiment”. Although the experiment was legal, the whole thing ticked me off. I’ve lived with depression for most of my life. Many of my nearest and dearest live with mental illness and it’s not a game. Though it is unlikely I was part of the test group; I didn’t like the idea of Facebook toying with my emotions.
One day, while killing time on Facebook. I came across a profile with this photo in the avatar…
I’m a curious person so I dusted off the old Google to see what it was all about. I found the source of the image and the homepage posed this question…
Do you ever wonder what life is like without Facebook?
I did wonder. Facebook was a huge time suck for me, an easy procrastination tool. It had become a compulsive habit. I didn’t sit down to my computer planning to spend an 2 hours on Facebook, it just happened. Whoops, I fell into a Facebook k-hole!
This is one of my favourite quotes…
As if you could kill time without injuring eternity – Thoreau
It was time for me to take those words to heart and give up my time killing habit. On 08/22 I followed the instructions on the 99daysoffreedom.com and logged off for my 3 months. It was a scary thing to do as a blogger, I didn’t want to leave my small group of Facebook fans hanging. My solution was to schedule my Facebook posts using CoSchedule. That way, I could post to my blog Facebook page without having to log on. Some might call that cheating, I don’t.
The hardest part about quitting Facebook was losing the micro-interactions with friends. I’m an introvert and real-life socializing can drain my life force. Online socializing helps me feel less isolated when I’m going through a period of low energy. The best part of quitting Facebook was the reclamation of self. My time without Facebook gave me time to think about my goals, my strengths and my value without comparing myself to others.
During the 99 days, I did use other forms of social media. The difference is that I used them primarily for business purposes. My Twitter feed is primarily food/wine/chocolate talk. Pinterest is a tool I use for inspiration and sharing my own recipes, I don’t really consider it social media. Instagram, I dabble…but I’m not a hardcore user.
So, what did I accomplish during the 99 days? Here is a shortlist…
- Attended the Social Venture Institute at Hollyhock
- Landed 3 television commercial acting jobs
- Came up with an amazing business concept (to be released in the New Year)
- Made new friends in real life and went out for a couple of dinners
- Attended the Food Bloggers of Canada convention
- Grew my blog readership significantly
- Listened to a bunch of great audiobooks
- Decluttered my life by giving away 12 boxes and bags of belongings when we found out we had to move
- Helped a friend get a meeting with a major publisher about cookbook
- Posted a bunch of great recipes
I have been busier than ever, in a good way. This is not a complaint. I’m spending much more time creating content and less time consuming it. I finally feel like I can proudly call myself a creative person. I’m actually creating things…real things, not just ideas.
Will I return to Facebook? The short answer is “yes”. I logged in briefly when the 99 days were over to collect my messages. I wasn’t tempted to linger. I’m planning to post in my favourite groups next week, just to check in with old friends. Will I fall into old habits? It’s possible, but I have so much momentum going in other areas of life that it’s hard to imagine having the time to kill.