A few months ago I was on Snapchat all the time. I would take short videos of my kids to post to a personal account so that family (mostly the grandmas) could see. But then I felt sucked in. I constantly had updates from friends to view and it was time consuming to keep up. So I quit. Unintentionally, really. I just stopped posting so much, which meant that I wasn’t there to see updates from other snappers. Eventually, it felt kind of foreign to get on and post or view snaps.
However, even though I’m much more addicted to Facebook, I hadn’t yet moved my Snap fast over to that platform. Until the Christmas break. It started rather unintentionally as well. My husband and I drove from New Jersey to Kansas over Christmas, and I wanted to be a better co-pilot on the drive. I tend to snooze and/or get distracted by my phone when I’m not behind the wheel, so I put my phone down on the first day of driving and didn’t pick it up much during the 36+ hours of road time. When we were visiting family, I didn’t check it much just because I was busy and visiting with people I rarely see.
Then I took a bold step: I disabled it on my phone. When I didn’t get shaky withdrawal after a couple of days, I went to uninstall it completely. That ended up just updating it and putting it back on my app screen. I’m still working to figure out how to uninstall it because I’ve tried twice with the same result, but I’m logged out and haven’t been tempted to put in my password yet. Facebook knows I’m trying to cut back, too: Just a few days without checking meant that I started getting emails when friends would post updates, which I’ve never gotten in this quantity before. They’re just trying to suck me back in with promises of glimpses of others’ beach vacations.
Am I done with Facebook forever? Not likely. But I felt like this was an important experiment. I don’t feel like my life is less full without seeing constant updates from people I rarely talk to. In fact, I’m definitely more present and in the moment than I’ve been in a long time. I think I can live without the occasional viral video. I certainly can survive checking once every few days rather than hourly. To that end, I’ve written a new Facebook rule for myself, which is to check it only on my laptop. Because I don’t work on my laptop all day, there is a much greater barrier to getting that FB fix.
If you’re interested in kicking your tech obsession to the curb this year, head over to Zen to check out Alison’s post with tips on breaking your phone addiction. It has concrete reasons why you might be doing it and how you can ease out of the addiction.
Have you ever taken a social media break? Did it stick? —Erin