Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to clean up my Facebook account. I don’t mean “clean up” like there is anything in there to hide: my life is terribly uninteresting, I’m generally a pretty boring person, and I have no aspirations to run for political office. There is just SO MUCH STUFF in there. Years’ and years’ worth of random and (often) stupid thoughts.
If I died tomorrow, would I want the reveries and rantings of my 20- and 30-something self to live on in perpetuity?
I mean, I am pretty funny most of the time, but no. I would not want that.
So I started the process of categorizing photos into albums and deleting pointless status updates. I created my account in 2007. Do you know how long it takes to go back through 12 years’ worth of Facebook ramblings? This isn’t a rhetorical question; I would really like to know how long it will take!
It’s pretty obvious that I am addicted to Facebook. I completely rely on it in my down time.
Need a quick break from working? Facebook! Waiting in line somewhere? Facebook! Walking from point A to point B? Facebook! The kid is occupied? Facebook! Procrastinating? Facebook!
I’ve also found that I am notorious for composing Facebook status updates in my head throughout the day. I certainly don’t post every thought that pops into my head (pretty sure I would have zero friends if I did this), but I definitely construct them in my mind.
The kid did something funny? Facebook! Someone annoyed me? Facebook! Read an article? Facebook! Saw a good deed? Facebook! Went somewhere? Facebook!
To summarize, Facebook = Crack.
(I would like to note at this point that I have never actually used crack.)
At least Facebook did finally let go of the third person format of status updates. “Caroline is… talking about herself in the third person again.” Ugh.
I’ve taken Facebook breaks in the past, usually for mental health reasons. The breaks were liberating experiences, I suppose, but they aren’t really practical at this point in my life. Facebook has taken over the world, and without it, I would have no idea what my out-of-state family is doing, I would never be invited to parties, where on earth would I get my news, and would I actually have to CALL people on the phone?! The horror!
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. I do need to find ways to be less present on social media and more present in real life, though. Facebook has its purpose. For now, I’m trying to be more mindful of how I use Facebook.
I try not to look at Facebook first thing in the morning. You never know what you are going to get when you look at your newsfeed. I’ve found it is better to be awake and in a good mental state before taking that plunge.
I try to keep my phone in my purse when I am in social situations – out at dinner, at a friend’s house, and during the holidays. So much of my life is spent behind a screen – I want to try to enjoy real moments as much as possible.
I try not to compare my life to other people on social media. For the most part, we put our best face forward when posting on social media, so it can often seem that other people’s lives are always happy and perfect. No one has a perfect life.
I only accept friend requests from people I know reasonably well in real life. These are people who, in some way, make my life happier and I hope that in some way, I return the favor.
I take full advantage of the “pause for 30 days” feature of Facebook. The 24/7 news cycle is overwhelming at its best, and downright depressing at its worst. I love to follow news outlets, but sometimes I just need a break.
I am 100% okay with unfollowing anyone who is mean, rude, or inappropriate.
If I catch myself mindlessly scrolling, I stop and asking myself what else I could be doing. I have a million hobbies and an incredibly messy house. I should probably do something useful.
Most importantly, I am trying to be careful with what I post about my daughter. She is her own person and is growing up fast. She has the right to expect privacy.
Being more intentional with Facebook has been relatively successful. For me, Facebook is a place to connect. I have friends and family across the world and I enjoy seeing what they are up to. I want to see babies and puppies and cat memes. I want to hear all the good news in my friends’ lives, and I want to be able to support them when there is bad news.
But mostly, I want to see the cat memes.