On The Pleasures Of Taking A Facebook Hiatus

Categories Don't face books, Guest Posts

This is a Guest Post by Olivia Coleman who writes on the topics of online colleges and universities. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: olivia.coleman33 @gmail.com. If you would like to write for TheDolt’s Blog, do read our page Be My Guest; Write A Guest Post.

“I’m addicted to Facebook.” Indeed. At first, I thought Facebook addiction was something to which only university students were susceptible. But now it seems that everyone is on Facebook. Your dog, your mom, your friend’s mom, ex-teachers, literally everyone and we can’t get enough of it. With the new The Social Network movie just out, even talking about Facebook has become a seemingly international pastime. I don’t know about you, but all this Facebook obsessing can begin to weigh on the soul. So for this entire past summer, I took a Facebook-break. Although I’m back at it now with a renewed fervor, I think everyone can benefit from a little disconnection. Here are a few personal benefits I accrued from shutting up those Facebook-finding demons.

1. Increased productivity.

This, of course, goes without saying. But it’s not until you actually stop checking your Facebook profile that you realize how much time you were wasting on Facebook in the first place. As a freelance writer who spends most of my working day on the Internet, I noticed that since I stopped logging into Facebook, I was writing at least twice the volume of articles that I had been writing before. This increase in productivity made me feel so much more accomplished at the end of the day. The fulfillment that stems from a renewed commitment to your work can’t be overestimated.

2. Lessened desire for attention.

Let’s face it. As much as we’d like to think that Facebook is wonderful tool that enhances our social connections and, no doubt it can be to a certain extent is also a great venue for indulging the “Look at me!” part of your personality. While everyone can do with this sort of attention, I’m convinced that the more time you spend on Facebook updating your status, awaiting someone’s comments, the more you seek this sort of instantaneous gratification of immediate attention. It’s almost a sort of infinite feedback loop in which you’re constantly vying for the spotlight. And while the spotlight can be nice and sunny, there are other ways to grab the attention of others, ways that are less cheap and much more rewarding.

3. Increased attention span.

Here’s a common Facebook scenario instead of using the social networking tool to actual connect with others, which is ostensibly what you are supposed to be doing you mindlessly sift through the NewsFeed, waiting for something to grab your attention. This constant shifting from profile to profile, link to link, can precipitate, I believe, a mild form of ADD. As someone who studied literature at the university, I used to read full-length books without a problem. Spending so much time on Facebook, I could hardly even finish a magazine article without becoming distracted. After the first month sans-Facebook, my attention span miraculously returned. I’m not kidding.

4. Some perspective, and a bit of moral high ground.

It’s not until you remove yourself from Facebook that you can really begin to understand how absolutely ridiculous some of its features are. Need I comment on the pointlessness of Farmville? Or how about the varying levels of intensity of the one-click poke? Is there a significant difference between a “poke” and a “superpoke”? Before my Facebook vacation, I participated in these activities without really thinking about it. Once I’ve returned to Facebook, I can now filter out the silly things while employing some of the more useful tools. Also, taking leave from Facebook enables gives you bit of moral high ground when you’re the only one of your friends who isn’t a Facebook zombie. Even if this high ground is not particularly meaningful, it’s always nice to say with confidence that you are “above” the Facebook madness.

So my Facebook break is now over, but I’m positive that it did me some good, and I think it can be refreshing for all Facebook users, albeit in different ways.  If anything, it’ll enable you to more fully gauge the utility of your own Facebook experience, so that when you return to it, you can use its ever-increasing features more wisely.

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