Considering that I own a content marketing firm, a huge portion of our work is done online (and that includes a lot of time spent on Facebook). So, while my break from the “book” as I lovingly (or not-so-lovingly, depending on the day) call it, was short lived (a woman’s gotta eat), it was still worth it.
Even a short time period off was needed immensely for my sanity.
Why the break?
I have an eclectic group of friends–republicans, democrats, workaholics, workout-aholics, friends with kids and friends without.
I was crabby. And I had had enough.
Enough of people going on about how great their lives were, about how well-behaved their kids were, about how they worked out for 3 hours that day and then posted a grandiose recipe and suggestions for what not to eat. And the worst? Seeing pictures of happy friends hanging out at an event I clearly was not invited to.
In short, Facebook was bumming me out.
And of course, we all post (mostly) the good things, because it’s what makes us happy (don’t get me wrong, I do it to). But I started to compare myself to everyone else and it wasn’t boding well for my psyche. So I put myself on a time out.
What my “break” consisted of
Like I said, I couldn’t take a full break from Facebook as there are many client accounts we manage on a daily basis and I needed to be sure we were cognizant of things that were going on within their pages, etc. However, I DID take a full break from any personal Facebook activity.
For six days, I remained off Facebook from a personal sense; no reading posts, no logging in, no posting pictures or status updates.
I even went so far as to pull the Facebook apps off of my iPad and my iPhone. And any time I did need to log in to the account for work purposes, I quickly changed to “use Facebook as [insert page name here]” so I wouldn’t be tempted by anything in my personal account.
OK, one confession: On Wednesday I logged on to put a plea out for a kickball tournament that I’m playing in this Saturday. We were short players. And I REALLY need this tournament to happen.
Again, for my sanity.
Was it hard? (and am I lame if it was?)
Yes. It was hard.
And it was also enlightening.
There was a part of me that felt lost or a bit “off” not having the apps at-the-ready. What was I going to do while I waited for 5 minutes for my daughters prescription? What about my nightly Facebook check-in to see what everyone was up to that day before I feel asleep? How in the world was I going to pass up the opportunity to share that my 2YO stole not one, not two, but THREE ice cream sandwiches and ate them (but only the cookie parts) before anyone woke up this morning?
I had a sense of how much time I spent on Facebook (even if it was unnatural) but this hiatus really put that in to perspective for me. I would find myself reaching for my phone or randomly wanting to check things out in the middle of a task I was working on just out of habit.
The other piece that hit me was, while it’s all well and good to think that we can go back to “the way it was” before the Internet and communicate face-to-face, it’s just not the way things are anymore. And, if I want to know what time to be at kickball on Saturday or what the theme is for the poker league I play in, or that a friend of mine is in need of help, then I can’t quite take a full break.
The people I associate with use Facebook as a major means of communication.
The business twist
And so, it comes back to this–something I always tell my clients: Just because you aren’t on social media, doesn’t mean your customers (or in my case, friend, family and other peeps I like to keep tabs on) aren’t.
And they’re having conversations without you.
And, as much as you think you might not be affected by it, you will be.
But, as individuals, we also need to be comfortable with the fact that we all need breaks; it’s OK.
I am of the mindset that nothing beats great company and conversation in person, but I’m also OK with the need to rely on technology to help facilitate my connections and keep in touch about current events, general happenings and my friends’ crazy nights out (as long as I’m invited next time, OK?)
And so, my hiatus is done. I will take one again and, I will probably make it a point to go offline a bit more regularly. It’s good for my attitude; I’m feeling refreshed and ready to dig in again.
And after all, isn’t that what any good break is all about?