LAST week was a big week for me.
No, I didn’t overcome my fear of birds (that’s still very much alive…damn you magpie season).
I quit Facebook.
That’s right, no more seeing what Jill had for breakfast, no more reading about how much Sophie loves her cat and no more knowing what my ‘cooler friends’ are up to.
To say it’s been a long week would be the understatement of the year.
I joined Facebook 11 years ago.
I still remember the excitement from receiving my first friend request.
But over the years, the excitement and shine has definitely worn off.
A major cull two years ago saw me cut almost 300 people from my friends list.
No, it’s not that I don’t like you.
It’s just weird knowing everything about your life, and we haven’t spoken in over 8 years.
So what led me to such drastic measures you might ask?
Well, to be honest…it just wasn’t making me happy anymore.
Sounds like a break-up…and in many cases it has felt like one.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad.
I do love seeing pregnancy announcements from my girlfriends and it’s always great to see what your closest friends are up to.
But what I don’t appreciate reading about, and what my newsfeed seemed to be over flooded with, was the constant showing off and over sharing.
I understand that’s one of the beauties of Facebook – you get to share your deepest thoughts and experiences with a wide group of people.
But please…don’t abuse this.
Otherwise, we can’t be friends.
Curtin University social media expert Professor Tama Leaver gave me props for being antisocial and cancelling my account (just jokes).
What he did say was taking a break from social media was a smart idea and something which more people needed to do.
“Deactivating your account or detoxing gives us a chance to break any bad habits and think about what we are getting out of social media,’’ he said.
“It’s a healthy thing to do and we don’t probably do it as much as we should.”
So what was my bad habit with social media?
I was checking the Facebook app constantly and sometimes for no reason at all – many, many times a day.
Professor Leaver said if you find Facebook or Instagram overwhelming your life in any way (making you anxious, annoyed, angry, jealous etc) or you weren’t getting anything back from it then perhaps you needed to cut back your use and revaluate its importance in your life.
“In some cases Facebook is incredibly important, especially in a long distance relationship where the fabric of your relationship is connecting through social media,’’ he said.
We both agreed that over sharing on Facebook was a real concern – especially when it came to children.
How would you like all your mum’s work friends and tennis buddies knowing you came fourth in your school’s swimming carnival?
I must say since deactivating my account I learnt several things…
1 – My mind is a lot clearer. I suddenly don’t have 130 friends thoughts and posts running through my head.
2 – I’m less anxious about life in general. While I’m so happy for my cooler friends who hang out with Hollywood celebrities on weekends (yes I have some pretty impressive friends) I don’t need to be reminded that I’m probably at home, pretending to be a T-rex with my four-year -old son, or having an argument with my seven-year-old daughter that she can’t wear a midriff top until she’s 30.
3 – I have so much more time on my hands. I spent the other night just dancing in the living room with my kids (sorry husband for the hip hop music…we know it’s not yo thang ;)
4 – I’ve stopped comparing my life with others. I have a pretty great life and it’s time I enjoy it rather than worry about what others are doing or achieving.
5 – I have amazing family and friends and I don’t need to communicate with them via Facebook to maintain a relationship. Texting, good old fashioned phone calls and catch ups over a glass of wine are much better.
Like hot chips, I do find Facebook somewhat addictive and the withdrawal symptoms have been real.
That’s not to say I will not be back.
Who knows, after some time apart I may find the separation too great and I’ll resume my dysfunctional relationship with social media.
But right now, I’m enjoying the time away and I’m loving the freedom of not knowing what country Rebecca is in now.