I know what your thinking as you look at this title? No Facebook, are you crazy? How could you not be on Facebook? That was my first reaction when I made the commitment to spend an entire 30 day stretch of time away from the ultimate social network.
According to studies the average Facebook user spends nearly 12 hours a month sailing the virtual world. With my competitive nature, I was worried that I was above average and definitely eager to see if I could survive a month without checking to see what my friend from high school that I have yet to see or talk to in person for 20 years is doing or more importantly following all the extremely thoughtful and highly impartial political opinions. So, as you can see, this was going to be tough.
My intention in embarking on this challenge was to:
1) See if I could do it and 2) Learn whether or not I would be more productive as a result. Well, as I look back at my 2 intentions when beginning this exercise I have learned these lessons:
Could I stay away for 30 days? Obviously, yes I could do it because 30 days later I was still alive. In fact, when the experiment ended I found myself wanting to stay away for several more days. As a result I will be giving myself several self imposed Facebook breaks to help clear my mind from all the mental noise (metaphorically) that Facebook provides.
2) Was I more productive? I did not observe a massive increase in productivity until the end of my experiment. At first I simply substituted one unproductive activity for another. I found myself checking ESPN, YouTube and my email more often in order to fill the time that would have been taken by surfing on FB and I was (on some days) even less productive than had I been pre experiment. It wasnt until I made 2 specific decisions that I experienced a radical improvement in productivity and surprisingly my social life.
Decision ONE – Anytime I had the desire to hop on the computer and navigate the exciting world of Farmville I would TEXT or CALL a FRIEND instead. As you can imagine, I sent a ton of texts, caught up with so many friends and as a result felt much more social and connected than at my most social on Facebook.
Decision TWO – During the early morning and late evening times that would normally be spent learning about the latest FB cause I would READ a BOOK instead. This proved to be a most enjoyable benefit since I was able to complete nearly a book a week in that short span of time.
My main discovery was that what I thought I was getting by being on Facebook was not nearly as powerful as what I experienced while off. That being said, I am not completely shutting down my account, but I will be reaching out to friends via phone more often. For some I might even write and mail a letter to them (gasp)!!
Try it out for yourself and let me know how your own 30 Day No Facebook Experiment went. Id love to hear your thoughts.