There’s a current trend to quit Facebook based on some naughty actions that Facebook has done. Honestly, I’m surprised anyone is shocked this. When you get something for free, YOU are the product. That’s the basic truth now, just like looking both ways before crossing a street, or visitors and fish begin to stink on the third day. I’m sorry, I thought everyone knew this by now.
I didn’t #quitfacebook out of some misguided political action, or even a consumer statement against/for anything. I simply made the commitment to myself to be more of a producer and less of a consumer, especially of things like social media that are a time waster. If I’m using social media to promote my work, that fine, but that doesn’t require me thumbing through useless information for 20 minutes.
So I didn’t delete my account, and I didn’t make a bold statement of my intentions on Facebook. I just stopped checking. At least that was my goal at first. It’s amazing how the manufacturers of smartphones have figured out how to drive behavior. A simple red number on the Facebook icon was enough to make me fight myself to check for “what has happened.” That’s really how I got hooked on Facebook, to begin with. I’ve always had this issue with thinking something great will happen without me when I’m not looking, or right as I go home. It’s what keeps me looking for something better, and it’s what keeps me not wanting to go home until the lights come on at the end of the night. I have a problem, I know this. But one simple change in my iPhone settings to not display the “Badge App Icons” and I was done. Now, when I glance down at my phone, with no visual indicator of how much crap is going on that I might have missed, my brain doesn’t feel like I must check. And with that easy of a change, my Facebook activity was drastically reduced.
But wait, there’s more
I also turned off Facebook from being able to use cellular data. This way, unless I am connected to wifi, Facebook won’t even come up. So I check once or twice a day, just to stay connected to a few friends. This writing thing can be exceptionally reclusive, so I do feel that I need to reach out and maintain some relationships. Because what I am not doing is announcing to my social network that I’m writing. My first two years of doing this, I’d like do without the interruptions of friends and family. This might be a huge mistake, but I want to figure out who I am on my own. I fear that if I immediately bring my writing to my network they will influence what I say. That may be a good thing, as my goal is to eventually sell something to someone to support myself and my family. But as financial returns are not my primary goal at this time, just pushing myself as a writer, I wanted to stay anonymous for the most part.
While I list getting off of Facebook as one of my “sacrifices” to writing, I don’t see the time-wasting activities that I sacrificed as bad things to give up. These were all activities that were consuming and non-productive. While it’s fine to occasionally take a break and relax, I was sliding into a far more routine daily time vortex of not getting done the things I really wanted to accomplish for myself. Now, I have time to write and get my daily work done. It’s definitely made me happier and much saner. I’m eager to find the next stage in my writing. I’ve gone through some revelations around being creative that I wish I would have known 30 years ago, but I now look ahead and wonder what new methods and realizations are going to come to me soon. It’s exciting.
Feel free to comment on how you’re reaching your goals below in the comments section.