Previously I wrote about going off Facebook for a month. I deleted the app off my phone, and stayed off the site on my computer entirely. I did keep the messenger app to stay in touch with friends who prefer it to paid texting and I did have to log in to my account through third-party websites to use them (e.g. Spotify). Let me just start by saying that I did not make it the 30 days I had planned. I made it 20 and then gave up after Valentine’s Day because I wanted to know if anyone I knew was up to anything interesting that I could go to. But I want to tell you about what this experiment did and did not achieve.
1. Learning Self-Control
I learned to practice self control in staying off FB for those twenty days. Each day was hard but I got through it. When I try to diet, I tell myself I can’t have sugary foods and I immediately get defiant and eat a crepe with powdered sugar. Diets last hours for me. Not days or weeks. So it was nice to feel power over myself at least in the sense of going on (or not) FB.
2. I learned what Facebook is…
And what I use it for. At first, I craved being able to tell someone something funny that happened or complain about school (see Twitter below). But then I craved seeing what others were up to. What were they complaining about or laughing about? And that craving had me break down after 20 days instead of waiting 10 more. These are things that I should be looking for, in any basic relationship. A give and take of daily grievances and delights because my boyfriend can’t handle it all (and sometimes straight up doesn’t care).
Also I use Facebook to: share interesting websites or news stories, “networking” (never really works on FB), and to relive the past.
1. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Tinder, and Snapchat
I used all these apps instead to fill my time. However, some days I was more quickly bored with them and decided to read a book or do my homework or watch Netflix instead. None of these things made me more social, instead I just craved more social interactions.
2. I made zero friends in the process.
I did talk to more people, but we never created a lasting bond beyond the conversation. Would I of made new friends by staying on Facebook? Probably not. But the point was to make friends with my new free time. That did not happen.
3. It wasn’t enough to force me out of the house.
I made a few trips to coffee shops and spend a ton of time at the library on campus. Did I go to any social events? No. I went on a double date that I was forced into and thought was “meh”. This might be partially because I have no money right now. Like super broke. Without money I can’t go to coffee shops or bars or events that cost money. I justified not going to other events because they were far (transportation costs, time to travel) or just plain scary (I don’t know anyone there!).
In conclusion my experiment failed to achieve what I was after: more social interactions and friendships. I did find out that there wasn’t much I had missed during my 20 day hiatus and Facebook means less to me now than it did before. My next plan is to see a therapist through my school because of my new found social anxieties. Wish me luck!