A Human | Ideation, Input, Strategic, Connectedness, Intellection

Fast Flashback: A Social Media Detox in Retrospect










No Facebook November is long over. December 1st arrived and I welcomed social media back with a wink and a shudder…

The fast was not as difficult as I thought it would be…don’t get me wrong, my November was filled with plenty of #thestruggleisreal moments. I promised a follow-up so I’ll just let you in on most of the crazy and you can make up your mind about how you feel about me or social media detoxing or whatever…

The first few days my hands literally acted like they didn’t know what to do when they picked up my phone. There was shaking…and fruitless tapping as my thumb attempted to locate a non-existent Facebook icon on my phone’s cracked screen. After about 5 days into the fast my eyes stopped looking up at my browser tabs to see if I have new FB notifications. (Excessive or obsessive behavior?–sometimes you don’t realize how much this stuff is automatic–until you can’t do it.)

After a few days of subtle “What’s going on?…So like, really, what’s going on?” I found myself in a very legalistic position of “I can’t do that.” or “Don’t tell me.” My heart sank a little when my supervisor at work asked me to post something on my work Facebook page. I appreciated her support when she allowed the posting to be delayed until another co-worker could post it.

To best summarize the feelings of being disconnected for a month I will quote a fellow #NoFBNov participant:

“I was totally out of the loop on everything. Facebook has become the main source of communication for people.”

This is true.

My #NoFBNov participants reported missing out on births, health concerns, and death notices. There were a few reports of hurt feelings that were most accurately described as feeling “invisible”. Add a thin barrier to being able to contact someone–and it becomes very easy to choose not to contact someone. There were also more subtle barriers created by not being on Facebook–many people would assume that you would know about something because it was posted on Facebook.

One #NoFBNov participant noted, “I’ve pretty much stopped talking to everybody.” While another stated that it was funny how much texting even slowed down–because a lot of the time texts spawn off of what is viewed on Facebook.

I received a text from someone who I’ll always consider my best friend that asked, “Are you coming Saturday?” –I had no idea what she was talking about…I asked, “was this a Facebook event?”…of course it was…

Not being on Facebook can actually give you a good idea on who is actually paying attention…and remind you of your own responsibility to reach out to others. (I’m reminded of a conversation that I had with a friend about how people worry about what others think about them–when the truth is that they are probably not being thought about at all! There’s truth, pain, reality, and some appreciation in that statement.)

One of the things that #NoFBNov actually reminded me of is my habit of “not being a good friend”. You see, over the past decade I got in the habit of not really contacting people regularly…I had adopted some moderately isolating hermit skills…I had been working on improving that…but the added barrier of no Facebook…wait a minute…well-played…#NoFBNov, well-played…

I don’t think Facebook makes us more lonely…if you’re lonely, Facebook can highlight that loneliness…if you’re happy Facebook can enhance that happiness. If you don’t give a flip, then no flips are given.

–So far, this is sounding awfully negative–so let’s turn this party bus around…

What are some awesome things that came out of No Facebook November?…

According to participants they were able to be closer to the people who mean the most–family and friends.

One participant stated: “Taking a break from FB has been wonderful for me. I’ve focused more on my children, husband, and friends. I’ve been social face to face instead of via electronics and that’s been much more rewarding.”

Another added this: “For the most part it was nice not having to see all the junk, like the ads and passive aggressive crap people would post. When I took the fast it was mainly because everything I was reading was irritating me. People seem to have no respect for others at times.”

Just a thought…I’m sure most of my friends do not really appreciate or care for their friendship to be viewed as a social experiment. That might just be the risk you take when you attempt to get close to me…Call me! I won’t blog about our friendship–well…actually, yikes…#foreveralone

So why…has it…taken me over 15 days to actually write a reflection…

Because during November I was able to read a lot…

And I was eager to spend time with those who made time for me…

I was grateful to attend a Yancey book talk, a few meals with friends, Thanksgiving with family and friends…

I managed to eat quesadillas in the grocery store parking lot without posting about it…

Netflix and I got really serious for awhile…then I discovered Amazon and I re-watched every episode of Flight of the Conchords.

Most importantly–my time spent with my children had minimal interruptions.

My children said cute things…and they stayed between me and God…well…okay I did text some people some of their cute quotes.

And that was good.

There was comfortable silence.

And that was good.

There were thoughts that sat in my journal and stayed within my head.

Coming back to social media really has interrupted some of that positive that I was enjoying…During the month of December I’ve attempted to establish social media activity at a level that I find tolerable…something that adds to my life instead of distracts…but it’s none of those things.

I’ve returned to a social media filled with social injustice…and sometimes that overwhelms me. Grief, intolerance, inequality, poverty, racism, torture…it just gets more exhausting. And no matter what…I feel reminded that I’m not doing enough.

Facebook is this weird place where aggression is unleashed alongside cute puppy pictures.

Sometimes I feel cynical, defeated, and an incompetent sharer of unpopular opinions. My darkest days in November are light in comparison to the darkness I’ve seen in December.

This space represents one significant minute when I clicked away from writing this blog and onto FB.

And sometimes something hilarious happens so everything feels light again, and you can’t even.

Yeah…Facebook is a weird place…

This is what I think…if you don’t believe you could endure a fast from Facebook–then you should try it. At least long enough to identify any unsavory habits that you may want to eliminate.

Will my New Year’s resolution have anything to do with detoxing from social media? Nope.

I will now share some journal notes as they progressed through November…because this post is already way too long…so I’ll just keep going…if you’re still reading then maybe you think this stuff is worth your time…

The spread of love with word is silenced in mind without deed. No action, no legitimacy.

Fear spreads with word and requires no action to be effective. Fear destroys with no action.

Appetites are not satiated by eating.

Acceptance is not felt through comments. Sharing is acceptance. Acceptance is a shared meal.

Life is not lived on a timeline it is a circle full of engagement and interaction between moments of solitude.

If we judge ourselves by what we allow, can we also allow ourselves to truly judge the depth of what we allow?

Awareness of weakness is not a weakness.

So do you know someone who needs a break from social media?

If you’re judging someone else’s need for a social media break–then it is probably you that needs to take the break. Just sayin’.

5 responses to “Fast Flashback: A Social Media Detox in Retrospect”

    • It is amazing how much our eyes can be opened when we remember to look up. The often elusive feeling-of-peace-and-rest can be experienced when we allow ourselves to focus on affirming the person in front of us instead of receiving affirmations from those far removed from us.


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