Mixed Minds on My Facebook Break

33_FB_Break_4-9-18Maybe it was my upcoming birthday, or the arrival of fall, or simply an icky sense that I spent too much time on Facebook and the quality of my life was affected.  I don’t know. I do know that, with a spontaneity that surprised me, I decided to take a Sabbatical from Facebook; an extended break.

Once I decided I wanted to do it, I wasn’t entirely sure how to do it.

I’ve been active enough on Facebook that friends consider it a way of reaching me and sharing things. I get messages from friends, invites to events, and news.

I thought, what happens if I just don’t show up? If I stop reading my news feed? Stop “liking” friends’ posts? Stop posting things and sharing things? Simply, quietly, disappear?

On one hand, I worried no one would notice.

On the other hand, I worried people would expect a response from me when they sent me something and they’d be met with…silence.

So, I decided to announce my Facebook break on Facebook itself.

I decided the best way to do it was to change my cover photo. I quickly designed a new banner:

“I’m taking an extended break from Facebook*

*If you want to reach me, call or email”

I uploaded the new banner to FB. My announcement was officially made to the world on Thursday, September 28, 2017, at 1:45 pm.

I logged off, all the while feeling itchy-fingered to log back on, anticipating a rush of comments from people as my news filled their feeds.

“No, really? You’re leaving FB? Why? How?”

I deleted FB from my tablet. I logged off the app on my phone. I wanted to make accessing FB a bit harder. But I didn’t cancel or delete my account, so the siren-song of FB notifications remained. I knew the candy was still in the house; it just required a few more steps to get to it.

I wanted to log on.

But having just announced to the world I was taking a break, what incentive did anyone have to comment about my departure? I certainly wasn’t going to be around to read it and “like” it, right? Hadn’t I just informed everyone of that?

It turned out that, except for one “like” and one “heart” on my post; a private message from a friend; and one comment from Bubba, my decision to take a break went largely, quietly, unnoticed.

The feeling inside? A weird combination of distress/disappointment and…relief.

Distress that disappearing didn’t result in anyone sending out a search party to look for me.

Relief, in knowing that the consequences of disconnecting were, in fact, pretty non-existent.  Nothing blew up. I didn’t miss anything important. And without the temptation to share and read and post on Facebook, I actually freed up some quality time.

Daily Post Prompt: Rush


10 thoughts on “Mixed Minds on My Facebook Break

    1. Was it hard to maintain the global connections you made when you went off FB? Or did you find alternative ways to stay connected to those who truly mattered?

      I suspect you’re good at knowing who and what truly matter given your writing and your travels.


      1. J.D. Riso

        I lost a lot of “friends”, or rather, I found out who my real ones are. I figured that if someone can’t be bothered to reply to my email, even once a year at Christmas, then they aren’t worth my energy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Things, and “friends” can accumulate, especially in the social media world. It’s usually easier to acquire (for me, that’s true) than purge. Signing off the platform, as you did, has value in purging and finding out what’s truly important. I like how you framed it as a way of filtering the friend list.

        BTW, I posted to my blog tonight the excerpt of your blog. You should get a ping that I did so. Let me know if you didn’t; I’m still new to blogging.

        Thanks again. Your piece is a treasure.


    1. My first break lasted 10 days. And then destructive fires hit our county and Facebook, including Groups that popped on FB, became a key way of sharing information and staying on top of things during the two weeks the fires burned. I became glued to Facebook and, honestly, appreciated it.

      But with everything going on now with data gathering and Cambridge Analytica, I’m trying to scale back again.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your experience and thoughts about it.

      Liked by 1 person

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