A Green Spin

The black hole of Facebook

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I was over at Be More With Less the other day and stumbled across this post, Farewell Facebook [here]. Personally I am not in a position to delete my account. I’m a uni student. Deleting Facebook would be like deleting my university e-mail account – I wouldn’t be able to see the latest on the societies I’ve joined at uni and the various socials they’re holding; I wouldn’t be able to converse with seminar study groups and share the work we’re doing; I wouldn’t be able to easily contact the vast majority of my friends on when we’ll next meet up. This all makes me an active user of Facebook, and I don’t see much point of deleting my account.

However, up to the other day I was a huge passive user of Facebook as well. That ever-dangerous News Feed was the first thing I’d look at when I woke up in the morning and when I went to bed at night. If I was bored when I woke up in the middle of the night, I’d check my Facebook feed on my phone. Not for any weird, stalker reasons, but just out of pure habit. I’d do the same with my favourite news sites.

Back to my original point: the ‘Farewell Facebook’ post didn’t strike many chords with me, except one comment which I adored and which stopped my behaviour instantly:

Mostly, Facebook felt like a loud coffee shop in my head. I’m more of a loner and like to hear myself think sometimes. Twitter can be similar. Leo Babauta calls it a river, he says, “you can’t drink it all so just take sips once in a while”.

[this comment refers to Leo’s post on Twitter and using it productively: A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly]

After reading this comment, I tracked my behaviour over the next day. Within hours, I had eliminated the habit of checking my facebook feed. I haven’t gone back, and I don’t think I will again. Here’s how…

  1. Recognise what you SHOULD use Facebook for. I knew I couldn’t really delete Facebook, but I didn’t want to be a passive user anymore. I went onto Facebook notifications and stopped every single notification to my e-mail address EXCEPT for notifications on new messages. I knew if I didn’t allow it to notify me for messages, I would constantly be logging onto Facebook under the pretence of checking for messages, then allow myself to be distracted by the news feed and by meaningless notifications. I then paid attention to how many times I logged into my account – I only logged in when a message came in, and then I’d deal with my notifications at the same time, before logging off. This stopped me from being distracted by the Facebook tab in the background.
  1. Recognising why you use Facebook OUT OF HABIT, and why it is interfering with the rest of your life. This is where the above comment came in. Every time I was dealing with something difficult, I walked over to my computer to check my Facebook, under the pretence of ‘taking a break’. I must have sat down about twenty times that day and stood up again when I noticed I was logging into Facebook… this happened when I was decluttering my closet for Project 333. It happened when I was trying to write my essay. It happened when I was attempting to do some creative writing. Facebook is the loud coffee shop in my head of endless statuses and profile changes that allows me to be distracted from doing something for myself, from doing something that requires a bit of brain power, a bit of trial-and-error, and a bit of personal failure. I was so worried about writing a bad page of creative writing, that I preferred to tune into the coffee shop instead of my own mind.

Interestingly enough, the minimalist movement of blogs and websites has replaced Facebook to become my new distraction from my projects. Hopefully, that will end up only being a good thing.

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Written by Peppidee

March 23, 2011 at 1:45 am

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