Have you ever had a relationship that just drains you? ‘Showing up’ or even talking to that person becomes a dreaded chore. Eventually you avoid them, take a really long time to return their phone calls or take a break from them altogether.
That is exactly how I felt about Facebook, so I decided we needed to go on a break. The conversation went something like this:
Hey Facebook…so….we need to talk. I’ve been with you for 4 years now, and things just aren’t how they used to be. We used to have fun together. I would tell you cool things about my day and share a lot of valuable stuff, and you would show other people and introduce me to like-minded friends. That was fun… and I’d be lying if I said you didn’t have a big part in the success of my career.
But… you have changed so much that I don’t even recognize you now. I get that you have your own goals, but you are so selfish and complicated that I don’t enjoy being around you. You make it really hard for me to make new friends (unless I pay you) and you don’t let me talk to the friends I already have (again unless I pay you). So, um…I’m not saying I want to break up or anything…I just think we need some time apart. I need to think about things and figure out what’s best for me, you know?
Facebook didn’t take it that well. He retaliated by making sure even LESS people were talking about me or interested in what I have to say. Touché book face.
But I’m not the only one that felt this way either. As Facebook’s popularity has grown (to over 1 BILLION monthly active users), so has the never-ending cycle of updates, newsfeed changes, tougher algorithms, and rules that users must abide by. This may just be an annoyance to the average user, like rising gas prices that cause a minor freak out, followed by general acceptance. But for businesses and Facebook pages (like mine) it is painful as Facebook is admittedly killing organic reach and forcing pages to pay for exposure after years of allowing messages to get to fans for free. Sure, Coca Cola can afford it, but it’s really not worth $400 for you guys who LIKED my page to see my post in your newsfeed. Sowwy.
(Oh-and if you’re bored check out this hilarious break up letter from a major brand who subsequently deleted their Facebook page.)
Truth: Facebook was invaluable in building my following and ultimately my business but now it’s just plain depressing. I want to entertain you, inform you, and help you, but putting the effort into creating FREE content that will only reach less than .01% of you is silly. That’s why I told Facebook I wanted a break.
And even if you don’t have a Facebook page, you can probably relate to needing a break from social media and can benefit from the lessons I share below.
Why? Because a number of studies have now shown that social media use leads to greater depression in adults. That’s no surprise because Facebook is a place where people put up an idealized version of their lives. They post what they want people to think their life is like All. The. Time. Scrolling your newsfeed can send you into a comparison spiral that makes you feel more isolated and alone. I know, because I’ve been there. But as tough as it sounds, you don’t have to have an unhealthy relationship with Facebook. Here’s what a break from Facebook taught me about life:
Life was more interesting. I actually started living more sans Facebook- imagine that. You don’t realize how much time you spend looking at other peoples’ lives instead of living your own. (Or in my case, how much time I also spend coming up with sharable things to post and creative ways to get content to my fans). Do you remember watching a sunset without the urge to take a pic? Or eating a meal without needing to pull out your phone before you pull out your fork? Yeah, me neither.
But let me tell you, life is way more interesting offline. I challenge you to spend a weekend without checking or posting to Facebook once. Connect with friends in real life, get out and have adventures that nobody else will know about or read a book and learn a thing or two. You only get one life and it’s up to you to live it. Don’t miss the realness of life because you are so caught up in the appearances on Facebook.
Nobody cares as much as you do. Seriously, nobody cares dude. Did anyone notice that I didn’t post for a few weeks? Probably not. Yet I was so terrified at some imaginary backlash from Facebook for being MIA. What did I learn instead? Don’t be so concerned about keeping up to date with people-their life goes on, and so does yours. This may sound harsh (I prefer honest), but think of your own newsfeed as an example. Of the 50 or so ‘stories’ you scroll through, how many are you actually interested in? I dare you to try this: Don’t post for a few days or weeks and see how many people text or call to see what’s new in your life (and no your mom doesn’t count). Then go meet a friend for lunch, or call someone you miss-let’s get personal in relationships again.
Hello, productivity. If you are anything like me you probably think you just spend ‘5 mintues’ on Facebook and it’s not a big deal. Yeah if by ‘5 minutes’ you mean first thing in the morning for 20 minutes in bed, at most red lights, anytime you are waiting, sneakily at work, and for 45 minutes before you fall asleep. 5 minutes quickly adds up to much more, and during my hiatus I became significantly more productive and owe it mostly to my morning routine.
Instead of checking Facebook right when I woke up (and probably getting distracted ‘researching’ for 45 minutes to an hour) I would make my morning elixir (hot water, lemon juice and cayenne), write a to-do list, clear out my inbox and ultimately be way more motivated to get stuff done throughout the day. Turns out the Facebook comparison trap was just as bad for my productiveness as it was for my self esteem.Try this: If you don’t want to go cold-turkey, just restrict yourself from checking Facebook and other social media sites for at least 2 hours in the morning. Get in your own kick-ass groove when the day starts without the distraction of all the noise on Facebook.
Goodbye information overload. Speaking of noise, there is too much information overload. One scroll down the newsfeed will show me two peoples’ birthdays, a dozen baby/pet pics, a few interesting news links, a couple cat videos (ok those are fine), a rant or two and at least ten selfies. Yikes. The big lesson learned: If you don’t control your environment, you are going to fail.
Sometimes I don’t even know how it happens: I open Facebook, click an article that takes me to Mashable, then click on a related article, then someone’s website about XYZ to download a free ebook, then my brain is spinning with a brilliant new startup idea and HOLY SHIT! See what happened there? It’s so easy to be distracted and miserably jumping from one website to another and getting zero things done. Don’t let a Facebook post control your day, take back the power.
Remember, your life is so much more valuable than how it is represented on Facebook or any social media site. If you have been following me for a day or four years know that I appreciate you even if you don’t hear from me everyday. I don’t know about you, but I will take real connection over online popularity any day, so let’s do more of that. But first, I should make up with someone…
So Facebook, I didn’t miss you that much, but I guess our break is over. I’m just going to be a lot smarter about how I spend my time with you. Oh and I’m not just getting back with you because I need you to share this blog post with my friends (I swear), but now that you mention it, would you mind?
K Love you, Bye.
PS- Let me know in the comments your biggest annoyance with social media AND what you are going to change to make it better. AND…make sure you sign up for more updates from me below (it’s free) because we both know the chances of you seeing the awesome stuff I post on Facebook, just saying.