Removing Facebook: Conclusions in my Social Experiment

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!


Removing Facebook: An Experiment in Socializing

Let me start by saying I don’t get out much and when I do, it’s often with my boyfriend which can create a bubble between me us and the outside world. When I walk to school, I don’t talk to anyone: 15-20 minutes of silence. That’s crazy. I could be spending that time chatting with a friend, if I had a friend to walk with. I wrote before about my dying social skills and my goals for the rest of college (new college). I also updated you on some progress I made. Now I’m ready to take things a step further: I’m getting off Facebook.

The experiment: I will stay off Facebook for a full month to see if/how it affects my social life. I am allowed to use FB Messenger (a few of my friends prefer it’s free services to texting). I also wrote a post of my departure: today is my last day. (The experiment will last from January 25th to February 25th, unless otherwise noted in the future.)

But WHY?! Part of that explanation is in my first post on this subject. In short, I want friends. I want more friends, closer friends, study buddies, and local friends. Recently, I tried to simply stay off the FB app on my phone. I was inspired by a post on FB by a friend who was vowing to uninstall the app and only use the messenger. So I took the app off my home screen. In the beginning I definitely kept off FB more than before, considering most of my use of the site is on my phone. But I was not dedicated and it didn’t work long-term. The app is still off my home screen, but I find myself opening it all the time from the apps menu. It’s ridiculous. I have now spent more of my free time scrolling and re-scrolling through my FB feed than I have reading or working on homework on most days. So it’s a time waster and way to procrastinate. However, my bigger issue is my friends. I know what you’re thinking, “How can your friends be the issue if you want more/closer friends?” Well, I am from Washington (state) but currently live in Portland (<3). The majority of my friends live in Washington and if we were just beginning to get close when I lived there, they are now loose ties. If we were best friends before, now they are just friends. No one visits, and I only see a handful when I visit home my parents. My local friends are few, and on FB most of them are people I met at a party but haven’t seen since. How can I make more local friends? Leave the Washingtonians behind! Get outside and explore the people physically around me! This is my plan.

This week I took some time to reflect on a year in my life when I was really happy and content. I was more outgoing, relatively healthy, and felt like I was on top of the world . So I asked myself: “What contributed to that?” Well I was still in K-12 so let’s start with everything right with school. In 6ish hours a day, I figure I managed to spend around 3 of those talking with my friends. I had a range of creative hobbies I got to practice through elective classes (and after school). I played sports and bonded with more people through them. I did spend a good amount of time on the internet or watching movies when I got home. That’s okay. I still spent 3+ hours a day socializing, face-to-face with real people. I had parties at my house a couple times a year (small,intimate ones) and I was doing a lot of stuff. That is something I want to recreate in college.

Now this not a scientific experiment. And I’m not suggesting this will work for anyone else (if it works). This is specific to my situation. Also I will not simply get off FB and sit around the house. I will couple it with consciously pushing myself to get outside and explore things around town (something I already wish I did more of). I may or may not strike up conversations with people. I am hoping by removing FB from my daily activities, and getting outside, I will become more comfortable around people and they will approach me or I will be more outgoing. I am pretty much broke, so anything I do out of the house will be cheap or free. Not everything will be “social” activities, e.g. job hunting. But I am excited to see the results, if any, and keep you updated through this blog.

Has anyone else done this? Did you go all out and *gasp* DELETE your Facebook account? Does anyone think this is crazy? Share your opinions below!