Follow me on my journey as I bravely strike out on my own without Facebook for thirty days (or at least that’s the plan!)
I must start this series of posts with a statement concerning my current relationship with Facebook. I originally loathed Facebook, but gradually I came to love the contact with friends and family. But as of late it I have noticed it become mostly the hate side of a love/hate relationship. So I have decided to take action with an experiment! My New Year’s goal is to spend thirty (30!!) days completely Facebook free. For many people thirty days without the social media giant would be an easy accomplishment, but for me this is not a simple task. Allow me to explain.
I am one of those people who checks Facebook multiple times a day and is always on top of the latest happenings. I also use the application as a way to plan with, spy on and send love to my friends and family – as does most of my social circle. After looking at recent statistics though, I take a small comfort in knowing that I am not alone in my slight Facebook obsession.
The Facebook company website states statistics from September 2014:
- 864 million daily active users on average
- 703 million mobile daily active users on average
- 1.35 billion monthly active users
- 1.12 billion mobile monthly active users
- Approximately 82.2% of daily active users are outside the US and Canada
These numbers are proof that Facebook is a major part of daily life for a large portion of our planet. Studies show that over 30 billion pieces of content are shared every single month and that the average user spends 700 minutes a month browsing through posts.
Studies also show that I’m not alone in my wishes to abandon Facebook. While a major proportion of these is due to privacy concerns (48.3%), the remaining reasons for wanting to take a break from Facebook include general dissatisfaction (13.5%), negativity of online friends (12.6%), and for fear of getting addicted (6%). The studies show that the general population of Facebook quitters are made up of older male users.
I will be the first to admit that I spend much more time than the average user on Facebook, sometimes up to an hour a day. So over the course of a month my usage is somewhere around 30 hours, much more than the average 11 or 12. Not having Facebook to turn to when I have a few minutes to spare could quite possibly kill me (not really, I’m being dramatic) but it is for the sake of science so I must!
Lately I have been noticing a trend throughout my newsfeed. This trend began slowly and has now become an avalanche of negativity, fear-mongering and misinformation. Facebook users discovered in June 2014 that Facebook had been experimenting with algorithms to evoke negative or positive emotions through the posts included in news feeds. Since this revelation Facebook users as a whole have taken on a more suspicious view of the mega social media corporation.
Through this I have also come to see Facebook as a somewhat volatile or unhealthy aspect of my daily life. There is a quality within our culture that encourages sharing information as a way to invoke emotion whether it be good or bad. From trolls to drama to plain old gullibility I’ve just about had enough! Rather than participate in this discouraging behavior I have instead decided to take a step back to research the average person’s strange relationship with this social media mogul.
Now I can’t speak for the average newsfeed, only for my own, but I find myself getting quite irritated with the willingness to share and post information without first checking the motives and sources for which the entry was originated. As a retort I plan to explain the thinking process behind the share button (or lack there of) to draw attention to the information quality as it travels through our feeds. Facebook has now become a major source of our information, whereas in the past we used to depend on newspapers and radio. With such a major obligation it is easy to imagine a situation that could quickly become troublesome.
Now that I have explained my reasoning behind challenging myself to thirty days completely Facebook free. I must now make a plan of action.
In the last moments of 2014 I plan to deactivate my account for thirty days, but then what? During my Facebook hiatus I have a number of options as to what to do with the many minutes that are left open in my day. My plan is to make the most of these stolen moments with a number of options. I have outlined one option per week to engage in.
Option #1: Read a book I’ve never read.
I read all the time, so this isn’t very adventurous if I pick just any book. I’m going to challenge myself to read a book that I would never normally read, one that is also somehow connected with the technology industry. My aim is to expand my mind while avoiding the negativity I’m normally exposed to (I’m open to suggestions – Tweet it! @Midphase).
Option #2: Learn a programming language.
Obviously I’m not going to learn the entire language in 10 days, but I can at least attempt to familiarize myself enough to spark an interest. As a writer for a web hosting company, I am largely surrounded by individuals who possess a large amount of technical knowledge and I think it’s about time that I compete.
Option #3: Try new social media avenues.
I have Facebook down to a science and I also sometimes use my Twitter account, but as far as LinkedIn, Google+ and the new social media site Ello are concerned I am very limited. My plan is to brush up on these forms of social media and then give my honest opinion of each.
Option #4: Evaluate my experience.
The thirty days without my major distractor will give me plenty of time to research and evaluate the behaviors as well as the pros and cons associated with social media. And I fully plan to share them with all of you. I will dive in deep with personal accounts and broad studies of how Facebook affects our culture and what we can expect in the future. By doing this I will be able to offer tips and advice to my readers.
Along the way I will inform my amazing readers of my experiences (and wit) as evidence of my adventure based on all things Facebook (and lack there of). I will also supply a step-by-step guide of my actions for those who wish to follow me on my journey away from Facebook.
Be sure to stay tuned to the Midphase blog as I walk through the steps to (hopefully) accomplishing my personal New Year’s goal (I might need support!).
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