I did the unthinkable.
In conversations with peers and literally everyone that is younger than I am, I get weird looks and follow-up questions.
People often jump to conclusions and assume I’m hiding something.
I can’t download and play a growing number of games on my iPhone.
Apps are becoming harder to use as Facebook buys them and forces you to “login using Facebook”
I honestly don’t miss any of that. But Jimmy, What about all those funny videos and breaking news stories, how else will I stay in the loop? The best suggestion I can make to you is this, make friends offline. Clearly, not everyone would go through the withdrawals of Facebooking mindlessly for hours per day, but for those of you that do take the plunge, there are only benefits.
I’m not one for using absolutes very often, but this is one time that not having something does offer only upside potential.
Humans aren’t designed to be in contact with hundreds and thousands of people on a daily basis. Throughout most of out history, including all that time that our brains were adapting and improving, we lived in tribal societies. Modern humans have been around for an estimated 200,000 years (if you think the Earth is 5,500 years old, please hit the little “x” button at the top of your browser window, k thanks) yet we’ve only lived in cities for a few thousand years.
~97% of our history was spent in small tribal societies
It’s no wonder that Facebook and constant exposure to other forms of social media have such negative consequences, including, but certainly not limited to:
- lessening your ability to think independently
- increasing appetite
- lowering self-esteem
- decreasing interpersonal communication skills
A quick google search can bring you to the journals in which these conclusions were published. (I suggest searching .edu to narrow it down to published studies rather than just pseudoscience that you normally find on…you guessed it, Facebook)
Personally, the biggest benefits for me have been not knowing the latest less-than-important news going on in the world. Most of it is fleeting anyway. The biggest story today will be forgotten within the next week being replaced by a newer, flashier version. Rinse and repeat. Being constantly bombarded by “breaking news” is just, well, exhausting.
If you’re a fan of Bad Boys II you may remember the scene where they’re in Tapia’s house planting wires and Marcus comes across two rats humping. [The humping rats are the latest cat video or fail video] He excitedly radios to Mike, Mike responds with “Now how is that suppose to help me do my job?”
Funny videos and similar do have a place in our lives, but I don’t think we, as humans, bare the discipline to put it away when it’s not necessary. So, for me, my friends will gladly show me something funny so that we can laugh together when we’re having a beer or just relaxing between classes or on break at work. Moderation is a beautiful word, and as with anything, it has its own time and place.
Another benefit I’ve noticed is that I no longer waste hours per day. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that you do not waste hours but if you were to track it, I would bet my paycheck that you do. Have you every had a conversation with someone about possibly learning to play guitar, learning a new language, starting that blog of yours or maybe running 4 days a week but promptly follow that up with “Oh but I just don’t have the time to do x or y.”
You do have the time, do you know how I know? Because the clock, father time, doesn’t disciminate. It doesn’t care if you’re Jame Harrison for the Steelers or Joe from Starbucks. I have 24 hours, you have 24 hours, we all have 24 hours. (Now go back and read that as if you were Oprah…you’re welcome (: )
In life, it’s not the biggest things that have the biggest impact but the small things repeated over time that make the most impactful changes. The 4 hours per week (4/168=2.3% of your total time during the week by the way) can easily be taken from Facebook.
Give it a shot! No, don’t make an announcement in order to make a dramatic exit from your virtual hangout, just deactivate one day and I promise if someone just has to get ahold of you, they will find a way.
No, you won’t get 23562346 birthday wishes on your birthday but guess what, the 10 that you do get will be so much better and over time you will realize that having those 21342 “friends” added nothing to your life but losing 21342 of them made all the difference.
Simplicity is natural in all of us, and the best part is it’s always there just waiting for you to cut through the bullshit and gently hold on to it every now and then.
Don’t set a goal, don’t make an announcement, just deactivate and start viewing yourself as someone who’s just not on Facebook, you won’t be dissappointed.