I'm Day 5 into my Facebook diet and it feels similar to a food diet. The first day was really hard. Every time I opened my browser (I had deleted the Facebook app on my phone to curb use but that didn't help much), I wanted to refresh Facebook. I thought many times during the day "just this once" and "nobody will ever know" but I'm trying to keep my word to my readers and to my blog, so I didn't cheat. But boy did I want that "chocolate chip cookie"! Day 2 was a little better. I thought about checking my Facebook News Feed about half the amount of times that I had on Day 1. I wondered what I was missing out on, whose birthday I was forgetting and whether anybody was feeling my absence. On Day 3, I started visiting new sites that I had never really done on a regular basis like The Boston Globe and other blogs like Cup of Jo other than my usual New York Times fix. And whenever I felt the urge to look at Facebook, I turned to People.com instead. Trolling celebrities' lives, while not the same, satiated that urge to know what is going on in someone's life. I know it sounds pathetic. Day 4 was easier as I found myself letting go and not so preoccupied. I wasn't turning to my phone in the same way that I had been when I was checking Facebook constantly. So today, Day 5, is much like Day 4. I am still nostalgic about Facebook, but I am no longer feeling the anxiety that I was feeling before the diet. I find myself having time now to think about other things and caring less about what XYZ person from high school (who didn't even like me back then) is doing with their time. I'm losing the "weight" that compelled me to go on this Facebook diet in the first place.
One of the reasons I forced myself to quit Facebook for a while is because I felt addicted to my phone. Ironically enough, the other day I stumbled across this article called "The Phones We Love Too Much". I read with extreme interest. There is a professor at UConn that founded a Center for Internet and Smartphone Addiction. The motto for this Center is to "plug back into life." Need I say more?
Technology and the use of technology is one of the biggest sources of tension in our household. Both my husband and I have demanding jobs where we are expected to respond quickly to client and colleague emails. I've done my research and read the negative effects of cell-phone use generally and especially in front of loved ones including children and how such use makes children (and apparently spouses) feel inadequate, unimportant and anxious. So I've tried to put in place times in our house where technology is not to be used including while eating, especially at the dinner table, and on the weekends (unless to respond to friends' texts to coordinate plans for the day/evening). While I feel that technology has taken over our lives and impacted them in ways that we are just beginning to understand, Kishore feels that there really is no problem at all. He only sees the benefit of being able to come home to spend time with our children despite the demanding job. I say that we are not truly "present" with our kids when we are on our devices.... and so the argument continues.
What I am learning with this Facebook diet and that was reaffirmed with this NY Times article is that I was overusing tech and quite dependent on it and that this overuse and dependence were a sign of overcompensation for other things such as fear of being alone with my own thoughts, loneliness, boredom and feelings of inadequacy. Cutting off access to something so addictive like Facebook is helping me see what might be amiss in my own life. With this self-imposed Facebook hiatus, I hope that instead of loving my phone too much, I can spend quality time with and show and express my love for the real people in my life.