June 25, 2018
Taking an extended Facebook break is an easier and more rewarding experience than you might imagine.
By: Jessica Roberts
The decision, like so many key moments in life, was made in the bathroom. I was literally looking in the mirror when I realized in a flash: I had to reclaim my time. Facebook had to go. For the next month, I had to log off the world’s largest social media platform.
Within ten minutes, I had changed my profile and header pictures to “see you next month” and cleared my cache. No passwords, no memory. In one fell swoop, I was done. Can’t imagine? Well, neither could I, before that epiphany. But for the past five (almost six) weeks I have done the seemingly impossible: I broke-up with Facebook.
Here’s how it went.
Like many of us, Facebook is the daily portal to the various and far-reaching eras and phases of my life. Thanks to the ingenious scroll, no matter where life takes me, I can still support my high school mentor, see photos from former coworkers or cheer on the success of grad school friends. Knowing life before and after social media, I appreciate the miraculous sea change it has brought to our lives: Graduation, a new job or a big move no longer means cutting ties. Now those transitions mean simply seeing life from a digital distance. A goodbye is no longer forever.
SO WHY TAKE A BREAK?
Because ten years of daily use equals a lot of hours that weren’t always keeping me closer to people I cared about. The endless scroll was bringing less joy and more unease; updates from the friends who have now become loose connections seemed to underscore the shift in our relationships, rather than enhance a new era. Because while I didn’t want to say goodbye, an extended holiday was in order to re-evaluate my digital ties and assess my relationship with social media. And, honestly — I wanted to make sure putting down the phone was possible.
HOW HARD CAN IT BE?
Staying off was surprisingly easy. Perhaps because the rewards were instant and substantial. Within a few days, my productivity and attention span increased dramatically. The habitual half hour of morning screen time was replaced by a painting — a long-held dream. The sense of accomplishment from completing my first canvas will last a lifetime.
WHAT WILL I DO WITH MYSELF?
Anticipating the inevitable urge to “check in” I replaced Facebook with an app for free online courses, to divert my attention (and helped me avoid going cold turkey). Four weeks later, I’m eligible for a certificate in the history of graphic design!