You would think that as a social media consultant, I would live and breathe on Facebook...especially since my past nonprofit and social enterprise clients rely on it heavily. However, my personal engagement on Facebook is becominbut quite frankly, it's becoming a problem for me.
Much of it is personal - the emotional consequences of the past few months have hit really hard. My efforts to balance freelance work and caregiving have been successful, but I'm also finding myself a bit depressed and needing some personal time.
Unfortunately, like many others, I'm turning to Facebook to avoid dealing with my emotions. (And often using it when I can't sleep...which is never healthy). As someone who works in social media, I'm finding that I'm relying too much on Facebook as a substitute for social interaction than as an opportunity for real social interaction. I'm becoming more focused on finding ways to escape via Facebook than actually conversing....and sadly, I'm finding myself reacting more selfishly, wondering why nobody is liking my posts.
But right now, my mother is transitioning back into care. I have various freelance writing projects to compete. I also need to build my portfolio of nonprofit/social enterprise freelance consulting work as well). I'm posting my goals publicly for both transparency and accountability:
- I am publicly pledging to spend at least 72 hours off of Facebook starting at 10:00 am CST on July 12th, 2017
- My stretch goal is that I will spend 7 days off of Facebook, signing back on around 10:30 am CST
Here are the steps I'm taking to avoid using Facebook:
- I'm logging out of Facebook on my laptop, which is where I tend to use Facebook the most.
- I've also logged out of the mobile version on my smartphone (I never installed the Facebook app, since it consumes too much data and power)
- I'm installing a Chrome browser extension to block Facebook, and will sign out of Messenger on my Opera browser;
- I will avoid Hootsuite (since many of my Facebook pages are connected with that platform) and if I choose to engage on Twitter, will do so directly; and
- Next week (either Wednesday or Thursday) I will post a follow-up describing my experiences regardless of whether I succeed or not.
Why am I doing this in a very public manner? Let's be honest - part of my reasoning is very selfish: I don't think many of my friends will notice that I'm missing, and that's part of the point.
Social media has allowed us to turn our lives and beliefs into commodity. Our social capital is the coin of the realm, and everything from politics to lifestyle is fair game. However, sometimes we have to replenish that capital...and that takes actually moving outside of our comfort zones.
Since February 27th, I've chosen to safe in my isolated bubble rather than fully engage with the outside community. Dealing with personal issues hasn't meant that I haven't been social - I've been active with the Doctor Who meetup, and even took in a recent Raks Geek performance (with several of my friends from January's Artists Against Hate ACLU fundraiser)...but I've felt increasingly alone and disconnected, and that can be potentially damaging when working with nonprofits and social enterprise.
Facebook engagement means making our lives public. It also means time away from doing other things. I need to reclaim that time, to get some other tasks done, and to (hopefully) start moving forward in my own life. If it means that friends can only reach me via e-mail for a week, that's fine. If it means that I'm out of the conversation on our Facebook page for a few days, that's fine, too.
But there's a whole community outside of Facebook that I've been ignoring for awhile. And I need to change that.
Talk to you next week, and thanks for reading!