Going Cold Turkey
I've done it. I'm now clean. I've not touched it for a couple of months now, and most significantly the craving to consume more and more has pretty much gone. I have time for others, time for events, activities, and headspace to think and enjoy them. I don't have wasted hours, where I can hardly remember what has happened.
Yes, I've stopped using Facebook.
I'm a fan of social media: it has transformed politics, created accountability, fired revolutions, inspired people, and connected a portion of the world un ways unimagined a decade before. But it needs to work in moderation: it is not the point of life, it is a commentary on life and an adjunct to it. But for me, as for many, it became much more than that. Every event was assessed for how it would play online; pithy one-liners came ubidden to mind to mark out the ticking of my life clock; success was measured by who and how many 'liked' what I said. I was becoming defined by others, and not even by their opinions are arguments, but by their propensity, or not, to click a thumbs-up button.
What have I missed? Obvious things - I am not up to speed with colleagues or friends lives, and the background chatter that marked out their hopes and fears, successes and triumphs, failures and disasters helped oil the social wheels and make me feel more connected to them on one level. Less obvious ones: Facebook was a great social discovery resource, pointing me at internet memes, concepts, information and ideas that I'd not have come across on my own.
What have I gained? Mostly, headspace and a lack of compulsion to check it. I'm more relaxed, more creative. Certainly more connected to my close family, and probably more connected to close friends in that we have occasional but much more deep phone or face to face conversations, rather than perpetually skimming along on the froth of life. Like cappuccino, there's nothing wrong with froth, but after a while, you want the occasional decent espresso.
In one of my work roles, there's a strong push towards tweeting. Actually, in two of them. But I'm leaving that to others more able to control it's influence on their lives than me. I've woken up and smelt the espresso.