This weekend I “returned” to FB, changed my avatar from the “99 Days” blue logo to an actual picture of me, liked a few posts and even wished some friends “Happy Birthday.” I’m back.
In full disclosure I didn’t completely abandon Facebook. Because of family and friends who only every contact me using Facebook Messenger, those apps stayed active for me. I didn’t stop using Facebook Connect to log into other web sites. I didn’t even make it the full 99 days before I had to log into Facebook to get details about an event I’d been invited to. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak.
Being (almost) completely away from Facebook for three months was a great experiment. Like the calories in a bag of chips, I didn’t realize how much I was really getting in all my time on Facebook. How many hours I was wasting, no matter how much I rationalized it, towards liking, sharing and commenting often in an almost reactionary way.
Oh, just one more “like”, it’s just a click. It’s simple. Go ahead. A few more on your phone. You’ve got a few minutes between meetings or before you board the plane.
Did I fill all those voids with deep philosophy or reading more books? Not really. I do believe I spent my time more wisely because I didn’t just fall into FB out of habit. I didn’t, like that bag of chips, stick my hand in reflexively for another bite whether I was hungry for information or not.
I did use Twitter a lot more, and spend more time reading on Flipboard and Linkedin. The Facebook sabbatical will change how I use the social network, but I’m sure it will be good to be back.
So this is my last post, or at least my last post that will be shared to Facebook for the next 99 Days.
You may have read about the 99 Days of Freedom project because of the recent news about Facebook’s social experiment with user moods. 99 Days started as a kind of protest about how people perceived they were being treated as Facebook’s guinea pigs but for me it struck a cord about how dependent I’ve become on Facebook as a platform.
The only way to see if Facebook is really adding daily value is to try something different. Tonight I posted my 99 Days page to my Facebook profile and logged out of my account. I’ve disconnected my Twitter feed from Facebook and will be doing the same for WordPress (after this post), Buffer and anything else that throws content up there. I won’t be using Facebook on my mobile devices as well.
Unfortunately Facebook doesn’t seem to have a “on vacation” responder for their Messenger app. Not sure if that means I should break my “fast” from time to time just to make sure people don’t think I’m ignoring them for three months. Hopefully everyone will remember to try me by SMS, Google Talk and Twitter DM.
See you (on Facebook) in 99 days!