With more people fleeing Facebook, or at least taking a break, I started to wonder if the time spent on the site was doing me more harm than good.
Checking my feed was the first and last thing I did each day. I was constantly scrolling on my phone. The app was taking time away from my husband, my kids and myself, time to do things that mattered. So I decided to pull the plug, temporarily, to see what life was like without by beloved news feed.
It was easier to get out of bed in the morning, because I didn’t spend 20 minutes scrolling through my news feed.
I was more active with kids, taking them sledding during the April blizzard, and bike riding a week later.
I cooked more and even baked.
When I ran into neighbors, we had something to talk about because I hadn’t already seen all their pictures from their Arizona vacation.
I didn’t miss the mindless scrolling. You know the kind: photos of a baby sting ray; a picture of a friend’s sun-tanned legs snapped from a hammock in Mexico; a viral video about an invention that keeps your socks from getting lost in the laundry.
Facebook sent me on a guilt trip. Once I managed to find the elusive “deactivate” button, I got an “Are you sure you want to leave?” message, plus a reminder that Kristi, Jennifer, Annie, Jeffrey, Samantha and 1,467 others would miss me.
It was harder to connect with my friends. Facebook had become my social planner and my address book. And without Facebook to remind me, I missed a good friend’s birthday.
I lost an efficient way to get my daily news fix. I set up my account so that local news is the first thing I see in my news feed. Without it, I had to log on to all local news websites.
I felt kind of lonely. And I’m not alone in that. Sixty-seven percent of Americans say online communication strengthens their relationships, compared with just 18 percent who say it makes those relationships weaker.
With more time away from Facebook, I might have given my friends an old-fashioned phone call or, who knows, even set up coffee dates. I’ll never know, however.
After two weeks, my digital detox is over. I’m logging back into Facebook today.