Monday, February 17, 2014

Why I do an Annual Social Media Cleanse

I am part of the generation that grew up with computers and internet. Granted, I wasn't as savy back then compared to the kids today but nonetheless, I grew up with Windows 98 and Windows XP (Whoooo!). I was those kids that spent hours on Neopets and Barbie and yes, one of those kids that fought over the computer with her older brother when our 1 hour has gone by and it was time to switch and "take turns".

This is my 3rd year (if I remember correctly...) that I've done a social media cleanse. I'm not going to lie, by social media, I meant Facebook. I needed Twitter just to feel that little connection. Oh, and I believe I kept Instagram too because I felt like Instagram was just a photo sharing app.

I started my cleanse as part of Lent and back when I completed my first Lent season, I wasn't even a Christian. I thought of it as a challenge.

If you compare Facebook to marriage/love... you need help. ASAP.
One of my ex's used to be obsessed with Facebook. As soon as we'd come home, he'll open up his computer and spend hours on Facebook... hours!! I'll admit, back then I use to be a Facebook addict, and I'm talking hours on Facebook doing nothing but after my first cleanse, I spend about 20 mins max on Facebook if I'm not talking to anyone. 

The screenshot above is actually one of my friend's statuses last month. I called him out on it, telling him how pathetic he was to compare Facebook as a relationship. He shamefully admits his addiction is out of control and I believe he's taking a break from FB, I'm not too sure.

My experience with my first social media cleanse was hard. I found myself constantly coming back to the Facebook homepage during the first 3 days. I spammed my Twitter timeline because it was the only thing available. I lost a lot of invites and missed some gossip/"life moments" because my Facebook was deactivated.

But after 40 days (Lent allows you to have a 'break' and indulge on Sundays but my cleanses last all 40 days), I felt... free. I was so happy to know that Facebook doesn't control me anymore. I look at all my friends with pity when I see how addicted and dependant on Facebook they are. I feel much more productive now that I can allocate those wasted FB hours into something good.

I broke habits too. I use to Facebook stalk people but after 40 days of not seeing their profile, I was happier. Now, believe it or not, I don't Facebook creep anyone. When I add people, I don't even go through their photos or profile. I broke the creeping/stalking habit just by one cleanse. I deserve a cookie!

All I'm saying is, in a time where social media dictates our lives, I think a lot of us need to gain back control and focus our time and energy on different things. Just by giving up Facebook for 40 days, I felt happier, stronger, more in control, and productive! I can't believe I use to spend hours on that stupid site.

Here are a few tips for those who want to challenge themselves and break the social media control:
  • Deactivate your Facebook account. I don't mean logging out and not logging back in, I mean, go to the deactivation page and confirm the deactivation of your account.
  • If you're new to a social media cleanse, keep Twitter and/or Instagram. Keep a social media outlet that is "smaller" than Facebook, if that makes sense.
  • You can download plug ins for your browser to block certain sites.
  • If you get the urge to log onto Facebook, step away from the computer and do something else. 
  • Or, visit a different page or start streaming a new movie.
  • Keep away from Facebook talk. If you're around a conversation that started with "Did you see on Facebook that ___________....." then excuse yourself.
  • Tell people you're taking a break from Facebook/social media. You'll be surprised at how many will congratulate you for being so strong.
  • If people ask for your FB account, explain to them you're taking a break and tell them you'll add them back later. NEVER LET THAT HOT BOY THAT WANTS YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE BREAK YOUR CLEANSE!!!
If you successfully complete a cleanse (it doesn't have to be 40 days), look back and notice what changed since deactivating your Facebook. I'll promise you that you'll feel much happier and stronger. You'll probably even notice that you can't stand Facebook anymore and probably only spend 10 minutes on that thing.

Let me know if you've ever done a cleanse or consider doing one!
This year for Lent, I'm doing a massive social media cleanse. For the first time, I'm deactivating all three big outlets: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

5 comments:

  1. I used to be addicted to Facebook and check it once every hour. Now not so much fortunately (it just happened gradually somehow), only when people message me or I see that little notification and check it quickly(because I have it on my iPad).
    To be honest I don't think I'll be able to do the same thing you did. The thing is since I now live abroad FB pretty much my main communication between family + friends and because it's just too convenient. Besides, now almost all of my classes use FB to announce things, and I might miss things out if I deactivate my account. I do think what you do is awesome though, since I realize we grew up with social media around us, and by getting rid of social media it can help us to be (a lot) more productive... Good luck!!

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  2. Wow, your classes uses FB too?! Most of my professors will just e-mail us and sometimes by the time we sit in class, the school's secretary would come by and announce that the professor wouldn't be coming to class... ugh, such a drag to go all the way to school just to find out class is cancelled.

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  3. Facebook has never really been a problem for me. Mostly because majority of the people I actually consider my real friends aren't big on facebook either. So all the people who ARE on facebook are people I don't really care to talk to. Haha. Twitter on the other hand....I love me some twitter. It helps me keep in touch with my internet friends.

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  4. I never really got addicted to Facebook... Probably because I'm at that "mature" age where old school habits still rule my life LOL. My parents though are really addicted to Facebook and sometimes Mom would get mad at me for not posting/being active on my wall LOL.

    I thought about a social media cleanse for Lent as well, however all my closest family and friends contact me via Facebook so I got no choice. :(

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  5. This is seriously a fantastic idea. I really want to try this. I am not really into Facebook like a lot of my peers but all the same it does suck you in!

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