Facebook was bad for me, so I quit ...for 30 days



Tap. Tap. Scroll, Scroll. Like. Scroll. Like. My poor little fingers are getting more exercise than any other body parts. I think my Facebook finger has a six pack by now.


Please tell me I am not alone when I say that I find myself logging into my smartphone constantly to check Facebook when I have no idea what I am looking for. On some evenings, I have spent what must be ten minutes looking through someone’s holidays photos from Egypt. Why? I don’t even plan to go to Egypt. I realize now that is ten minutes of my life I won’t be getting back.


So what is driving this constant feeling to check our smartphones? Is it purely habit or are we all just bloody nosey? Most of us probably just suffer from that illness called FOMO (Fear of Missing out). According to a study led by Nottingham Trent University, they asked participants aged between 18 and 33 to estimate the amount of time they spend of their phone and compared reports to their actual usage. The work, published in the journal PLoS One, found that people were accessing their phones twice as often as they thought. In fact, the study found that the average person checks their device 85 times a day.


So, let’s be honest, is it Facebook or it Boast Book? Do we just want to share the things that say 'look how great my life is’ or ‘look how wonderful my children are’? Oh look, here is another photo of my child dancing or here is the amazing hotel I just checked into. We all know real life is not as wonderful all the time. It’s just smoke and mirrors.


Don’t get me wrong, Facebook can be positive. It is a great way of support someone when they need a motivational boost. People wishing good luck, saying congratulations or simply sharing a funny joke or video. Perhaps it is just the fact that some people have more self-control than me!


I can easily split Facebook users into two types of people. Uploaders and watchers. I am an uploader. I find the users who are just online but watching abit unnerving. Just…watching…


Over coffee one day, I spoke to friend about my Boast Book theory. She said that I definitely had a Facebook addiction, which I instantly denied. To prove her point and for abit of fun, she set me a challenge. The challenge was that I was not permitted to upload anything to my profile for 30 days. That means no Facebook status updates and no photos. I gloated and told her it would be sooo easy! However, a few days in and I was already finding the challenge incredibly hard and I wasn't even sure why.


Within one week into the challenge I had failed. My friend saw I had 'changed' my cover photo on my Facebook profile. She text me simply saying two words 'you failed'.


I tried to fight my point of view saying I hadn't uploaded anything, I simply changed my cover photo; but she text back again 'you failed’. Damn. She was right and I was wrong. It was at that moment I decided to deactivate my account for 30 days.


So how did I feel for quitting Facebook for 30 days?

Deactivating Facebook proved to be good for my health. I felt freer of my phone and surprisingly liberated. Did anyone even notice I had left Facebook? Probably not. The challenge positively helped me to ‘be in the moment’. Perhaps something I haven’t done for a long time. But don’t get me wrong, I know I am still on my phone far too much, but with time, I am getting better at it.


I told my husband how great I was feeling from being offline from Facebook. To which he replied 'Congratulations. You must be really proud of yourself. Now you've just replaced Facebook by becoming an Instagram addict'. Oh.

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