Life without Facebook… it’s a barren wasteland.
Okay, no, not really. It’s been less than a week since I deactivated my account and in many ways it’s been good. I’ve spent less time stuffing around on my computer, but I am realising that I haven’t necessarily spent less time stuffing around in general. I still play computer games, read books, crash out on the couch watching telly and hang out with friends. Getting rid of Facebook hasn’t stopped me wasting time, if that’s what it is. (Sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s how I deliberately choose to spend my time.)
I wasn’t entirely sure what I hoped to achieve by deactivating Facebook. It was a sudden decision which was largely fuelled by my inability to sleep and my insomnia-driven obsession with Facebook, coupled with the feeling that all my creativity was being channeled into status updates instead of other forms of writing. Ages ago, a friend told me that he’d given up Twitter and was drastically minimising his Facebook usage because he felt it was sapping his creativity. At the time I kind of understood, but not really. Now I do. Things happen in life, ordinary things, and I find myself thinking about how I can frame it in a funny or thought-provoking way for Facebook. I have a blog, and I complain to myself that I’m out of ideas, yet I spend ages thinking up witty status updates while my blog sits here untouched. The witty status update is not a bad thing, but I really don’t want it to be the only thing I write.
However, in the past not-quite-a-week I have missed Facebook. I haven’t missed my obsessiveness with it, but I’ve missed my friends. I keep wondering what certain people are up to, and honestly, I don’t have time to check in with all of them individually. And there are some people who have moved around a lot and I have no idea how to contact them outside Facebook.
So I’m reactivating my account. There is a part of me that feels a bit pathetic, like I couldn’t even hack a week without Facebook. Maybe that’s true. But maybe… maybe I don’t actually have to prove anything. I stepped away from it, and in doing so I re-set some of my buttons. That’s been helpful. Is there a rule about how long I have to be away for it to be a “real” break? I don’t think so. I’m choosing to step back into Facebook. I think I’ll probably use it differently in some ways – there are already some posts and people I plan to block, because I can see now that they were causing me stress – and maybe I’ll even use it less often. I don’t know. I am going to make more of an effort to turn my status updates into blog entries when I can, and I’m kind of looking forward to stretching myself that way. And the rest of the time I’ll be checking out people’s photos, laughing at dumb jokes, getting annoyed with ads, rolling my eyes at utter stupidity, listening to friends, talking nonsense, having good conversations and wasting some time. You know… just like real life.