After experimenting for a week without Facebook, I realized just how much time it actually consumes. This revelation has definitely changed my daily routines, freed me from the pull of notifications and timeline scrolling, and made me happier in the process. I invite you to consider “Escaping Facebook.”
Yesterday, for the first time in a week, I opened the Facebook app on my phone and began scrolling.
I checked my notifications.
Caught up on my friends’ lives.
And then deleted the app for a second time.
I was as surprised as anyone. I told myself I’d take a week away from the draw of Facebook in an effort to limit my obsessive timeline scrolling. But after feeling the freedom that comes from not worrying about status updates or notifications, returning to Facebook was a great deal less enjoyable than I expected. I imagined feeling comfort at being “reconnected.” But all I felt was the pressure to catch up and “participate” by liking and commenting on posts.
Please don’t think that I’m disinterested in my friends’ lives. I genuinely care for their well-being, and I’m curious about their experiences. But the cost has become too great as of late. I’ve let the pressure to be connected and up-to-date build to the point that I feel forced to keep up with Facebook “news.”
Until this week, I didn’t realize how much I’ve let Facebook distract me. I used to spend every spare moment on it, always afraid I’d miss something.
But this week I accepted that I don’t need to know what everyone is doing all the time. In fact, I feel saner if I don’t. Consequently, I had more time to focus on things I do need to keep up on, like grading papers, planning lessons, connecting with family, and cleaning my home. Instead of clicking on Facebook while my computer loaded or the oven heated, I looked up new recipes, caught up on world news, or drank in a few moments of unscheduled peace.
It was lovely.
For the first time in ages, I enjoyed the freedom of leaving my phone in one room as I made my way to another.
Honestly, I feel more centered, more capable of focusing. As an active proponent of living consciously, I believe this is a step in the right direction for me.
I still see the value in Facebook as a tool to connect friends and family, and I have not deleted my account completely. But I have accepted that I am happier without Facebook as a part of my daily routine.
With this realization, came the desire to keep Facebook off my phone. So, unlike the first time, I felt no apprehension when I confirmed my desire to delete the app that has eaten up so much of my time.
Oh, I’m sure I’ll check in at some point.
But it feels wonderful to say I’m not sure when that will be.
The truth is I have a great deal to say about life and many questions to ask about its intricacies, which lend to a larger discussion about what makes for a fulfilling existence. Yet, I have to admit that I’ve been struggling a great deal with the introduction. How do I introduce myself without saying too much? How honest can I safely be—and believe me, honesty is very important to me.
There have been a great many debates lately about freedom of speech versus public image. And I do understand the value of both arguments. I have the freedom to speak my mind, but I have the responsibility to choose words that don’t ruin my public image…as a teacher.
Ah, “there’s the rub…” I promise I’m not a Shakespeare-crazed, Hollywood stereotype of a teacher; it just fit there.
Yes, my participation in that controversial profession makes me question and evaluate every public statement I make. I think my hesitation stems from a disturbing progression in education; as teacher accountability for test scores rises, so too does accountability in other areas of life. Much of this has to do with social media, which offers us the freedom to connect and speak out. This power of voice also publicizes us in a way that presents our personal lives for judgment.
As a grown woman, well above the drinking age, I continue to remain hesitant about posting pictures at celebrations where alcohol might show up in the frame, even though I am not friends with students, parents, or administrators on Facebook. For teachers, there is always the chance that someone’s friend’s cousin’s parent might see me holding a beer and report me to the county. This teacher folklore continues to make its rounds and unnerve even the more outspoken. That single image could very well be the end of a career because it calls into question my accountability as loco parentis (the surrogate role of parent taken on by a teacher during school hours), even though it seems a separation should exist between my personal and professional spheres.
Hopefully, you see the basis of my frustration with how much personal information to put forth if I want more freedom for honest words.
In any case, it finally took an invigorating jog with the dogs and that preemptive introduction to decide that what matters most are the ideas and not necessarily a complete biography of me—although I’m sure plenty of details to that effect will be shared at some point or another.
So, with much ado, I welcome you to an on-going discussion that explores life’s intricacies, questions the nature of a fulfilling existence, and revels in the pursuit of such a life.