What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

I’m not against Facebook. I think it’s a great thing. However, a month ago I had to go 4 days without any Internet (and therefore, Facebook) as we were moving into our new house.

When I finally did check Facebook, I realized that life went out without me… and I didn’t feel like I missed anything.

Prepare for the Hallmark movie cliché, but it showed me that my family right in front of me is all that really matters.

So from there I decided to stop checking my Facebook homepage for the following month; that time period ended today. However, the 30 day self-assigned pledge has inspired me to continue staying off my Facebook homepage.

I no longer am exposed to snarky, annoying, self-serving comments; including being tempted to post my own. My exposure to negativity has decreased by 100%; though I admit there’s probably not a true way to measure the validity of that percentage decrease.

But I feel it. I feel great. My quality of life has improved since nixing my Facebook homepage.

There is something called “FOMO” (fear of missing out) that is apparently increased by social media. Apparently, I have less subconscious anxiety in my life because I have less exposure to the news I’m apparently missing out on.

Can you gossip about yourself? If so, Facebook is the platform. I’d rather not tune in to people gossiping about themselves, about the the news, about groups of people, or whatever else can fall into that category.

I should point out too that I cancelled the ability for my phone to receive any messages based on Facebook activity too.

What I’ve Learned From Not Checking My Facebook Homepage For 30 Days

Another part of my pledge was to only start publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursdays, which helps me focus on living “real life” with my family and not being distracted by daily focusing on publishing new stuff.

That decision has proven successful for me. I am happier now that I am only posting new material one night per week, all at once. Therefore, that’s really the only time I’m needing to log in to Facebook anywhere.

I don’t feel socially disconnected since locking myself out of my Facebook homepage.

Friday begins the National Day of Unplugging (March 6-7, 2015). Of course, I’m taking the pledge. It’s pretty much my life now anyway.

It’s not right for everybody, but it’s definitely right for me. In the past month I have learned that my personal happiness can truly be measured by my lack of exposure to my Facebook homepage and having to feel pressured to daily post new stuff on my blog.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Simply put, I’m now consolidating a week’s worth of social media activity into just a couple of hours per week; during a specific window of time, from now on…

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Starting 2 weeks ago, I began only publishing new posts here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog on Thursday nights.

Similarly, I am now only logging into Facebook (as well as all other forms of social media; it helps that I don’t have a smart phone) just once a week now on Thursday nights, when I publish my new posts for the week.

I’m also done paying any attention to my “home” page on Facebook, where it shows everyone’s status updates. I just don’t see how that daily exposure is enhancing my life; it only seems to complicate it.

My addiction and attention span to “keeping up” with all that stuff is apparently expired.

I guess moving into our new house has sort of… recalibrated my priorities and changed my mindset.

Ultimately, I don’t want the video game of Facebook or my hobby of blogging to interfere with the actual reality of my life with my family.

I’ve come to the realization that I no longer have to pressure myself the way I did when I was writing for Parents.com for those 3 years when I did The Dadabase.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

Something I’ve learned is that I ultimately get as much traffic no matter when I post new stuff, so I might as well just save it all for one day each week.

It’s similar to concept of “binge watching” premium TV shows like Breaking Bad and Man Men. Instead, I’ll be “binge posting” my new publications each Thursday night here on Family Friendly Daddy Blog.

That way I don’t have to be constantly preoccupied with publishing new stuff throughout the week; therefore dividing my attention all week long. Now I can actually live my life with my family without that distraction.

Over the past couple of years now, I’ve struggled with my relationship with Facebook. I see now I used to put way too much thought into it.

Recently we had to go 4 days without Internet as we moved in the new house, and once I did finally check my Facebook, I realized I actually didn’t miss anything.

While Facebook is full of people I care a lot about, the overall emotional intelligence of status updates in my daily feed ultimately seems to clutter my life; not enhance it. I am choosing to pull the plug on my daily exposure to that large daily nose of negativity and sarcasm.

If I am thinking about someone I’m friends with on Facebook, I can go straight to their profile page on Facebook. That way I don’t have to feel compelled to rely on my “home” page to find out on what is supposed to be my social news for the day.

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I discovered the people I most wish to be like in my circle of friends are the ones who are the least active on Facebook and the most active with their families away from social media.

It’s true; I used to be much more involved with Facebook, as I attempted to be clever and engaging. These days, I suppose I’ve just moved on with my life.

Maybe it’s because this is truly the most settled I’ve felt since getting married.

For the first two years I was married, my wife was getting her Master’s Degree. Then once she received it, she got pregnant with our son.

Next we moved to Alabama to be closer to family and went further into debt; only to eventually move back to Nashville. After that, we had to completely work our way out of debt, other than our mortgage on our townhouse (while I studied for my certification for Human Resources). Finally, we were able tosave up enough money for a down payment on a bigger, more efficient house for our lifestyle.

Now that we’re in our new house, and not in debt, and having more quality time together as a family in our new suburban life, I am experiencing a feeling of completeness I haven’t previously known with my wife and son.

I’m thinking that now, I can just enjoy this new house with my family.

My Decision To Unplug From Social Media, Except On Thursday Nights (Including Facebook And My Blog)

So I invite you to tune in every Thursday night, when you can catch up with our new simple life. You don’t even have to go to Facebook; you could just subscribe to Family Friendly Daddy Blog by clicking on the button at the top of this page.

As for Friday through Wednesday, you probably won’t hear a peep out of me.

I’m sure certain exceptions will pop up along the way, but they will definitely be the exception to the rule.

But as it concerns my own personal schedule, I’m choosing to unplug from social media now, except for on Thursday nights.

So by default, I will definitely be participating in this year’s National Day of Unplugging on March 6-7, 2-15.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Or maybe the real question is, what’s the best that could happen?

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Can Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

Earlier this week I proposed the question, “Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?

Well, today I am following that up by asking what I feel is an equally relevant, if not more relevant, question:

“Can Facebook Lower, Or Raise, Your IQ?”

Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

When I first joined Facebook around a decade ago during my final semester of college at Liberty University, Facebook was basically still in “running concept” format. It was only set-up for college students at the time.

To log on to Facebook meant a drama-free, stress-free, guilt-free experience. It seemed like back in those days, circa 2005, you could interact with your classmates and friends without being judged… or being tempted yourself to judge others.

I think we all have to be honest here and admit: it can be challenging to refrain from at least quickly subconsciously passing judgment as you scroll through hundreds of your friends’ strong opinions, daily selfies, and doses of TMI.

willy-wonka-meme-dumpaday-24

As I mentioned in Is Facebook Technically A Video Game?, Facebook has evolved into a place where people ultimately go to receive and give confirmation to each other.

That may sound simple enough, but the way I think it, each time we check our Facebook, we are entering into a world of concentrated drama; overexposing ourselves to information that outside of the social media website, would be not only impossible, but also, unnatural to encounter.

Yet we tend to enter the semi-alternative universe of Facebook nonchalantly and unguarded; even treating it as a form of escape.

In part, it is that escape. It’s an escape as you are exposed to positive people who share information with you that is close to or greater than your own intelligence level; but they are mixed in with those who are… not.

Daymond John Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

It reminds me of something Daymond John mentioned one time on Shark Tank. He mentioned the importance of “people proximity.” You ultimately become like the people who you are exposed to most in your social circle.

So out of your 500 or a thousand Facebook friends, who do you pay the most attention to as you scroll through your Facebook feed? Who do you let affect you the most? Who do you let affect your mood or current thought process, if nothing else?

Compared to actual reality, Facebook daily puts in you the same proximity as people who you might not normally interact with (even passively) on a personal level.

Thanks to Facebook, I can easily learn about the strong, one-sided views and opinions of anyone in my social network- and the thing is, I don’t necessarily want to.

So can Facebook lower, or raise, your IQ? I believe so. Just like how I believe being exposed to reality TV can, as well; as Jack Johnson sings about in his clever song, “Good People”.

Bad news, misused, give me some truth
You got too much to lose…
Wrong and resolute but in the mood to obey
Station to station desensitizing the nation
Going, going, gone

Does Facebook Lower (Or Raise) Your IQ?

Ten years ago, I didn’t have a daily feed of information coming from people of all types. I was pretty much limited to the influence of just those I actually spoke with in person each day; and again, they were never as opinionated or dramatic or likely to share too much information as those on Facebook tend to be.

Something I have noticed is that the people of Facebook who I respect the most tend to be the least openly opinionated.

They serve as a model for me to follow. It all goes back to that people proximity theory.

Even in in the unnatural (and largely unrealistic) setting of Facebook, I am still subconsciously seeking out and associating with the people I respect the most.

I believe that what you get out of Facebook is largely based on who you’re paying the most attention to, and sometimes more importantly, who you are choosing to ignore.

And from there, I believe your IQ can be affected for better or worse.

So the way I see it… no, Facebook doesn’t lower your IQ, but it can if you allow it to. In theory, you could choose to use Facebook as a tool to raise your IQ in the same way.

Is Facebook Itself Technically A Social Video Game?

I think it will be difficult for me to ever look at Facebook the same way again…

extreme close-up selfie

Back in February while researching for Rock Music Used To Be Rebellious, Now It’s Rap Music Instead, my friend Sam Royalty simply stated this to me in a side conversation about social media:

“People use Facebook status updates and pictures to find validation in their ideas and life choices.”

The more I’ve thought about it, the more it makes sense.

When I consider the selfie alone, it only makes sense that the “selfie taker” is looking for some kind of validation from their corner of society that their appearance is… relevant.

I say “relevant” because that could mean a lot of things depending on what the person is needing slight reassurance of:

Am I pretty enough? Do I look cool? Can people tell I’ve gotten in shape? Am I still funny? Am I even interesting?

With that being said, it goes beyond just the pictures we post. It transcends to our status updates and shared as well:

Am I doing a good job of being informative in society? Am I an influencer? Is the world aware I am part of it?

Is Facebook Itself Technically A Social Video Game?

I would never want to be seen as the kind of person who is known for “needing attention” all the time, yet there’s this subtle paradox that says if you don’t post enough on Facebook, you’re sort of a Facebook snob who only looks at other people’s info and pictures without contributing or getting involved aside from “liking” other people’s post or very generically wishing them happy birthday after being prompted to by Facebook itself.

My theory is that those people who apparently don’t need confirmation or validation are at least looking for inspiration or, for a few minutes, to live vicariously as someone else.

Of course, I believe if you’re too inspirational, you may appear as a show-off. You don’t want your Facebook friends thinking you trying you’re, in essence, “trying too hard to win” at this unofficial game of Facebook.

Despite the daily overdose of negativity on Facebook, there is a fraction of my news feed that is actually positive; or at least neutrally interesting or fun. Like the pictures of my friends’ families: those are the posts I scroll my feed for.

More importantly, I try to be the person who is contributing those pictures, links, and status updates; just like Gandhi famously said:

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

I really don’t think there’s truly a way to “win at Facebook,” sort of like the game Animal Crossings that I loved so much in college on Nintendo GameCube. Ultimately, to someone out there on Facebook, you’re going to contribute too much or too little; seem too showy or too aloof.

You can’t necessarily win or lose at the game of Facebook, but it’s a video game that millions of people play all day long, all over the world.

Video Games: The Movie

In theory, it’s the most popular and relevant video game of all time; that’s an idea proposed in the Netflix documentary, Video Games: The Movie.

But for this modern tower of Babel we have built and participate in, I say this is ultimately why we show up to it:

To give and/or receive legitimate validation, confirmation, and/or inspiration.

The reason I say legitimate is because not all ideas on Facebook should merit reinforcement. Plus, as I recognized earlier, Facebook has its fair share of negative people who would rather attempt to hurt instead of edify others.

Overall though, Facebook is a place (and/or social video game) where essentially anyone can give or receive confirmation on one’s beauty, worth, and relevance.

I can even post an “extreme close-up selfie” and I will get what I want out of it: for people to recognize the humor in it.

And no, I’m not writing this to get more “likes” on my Facebook page, or to try to prove I am a decent writer, or to simply feel validated by my Facebook friends so that I can essentially score more points in this video game we’re all playing.

Or am I?

Has Facebook Turned Me Into A Narcissist And/Or A Snoop?

May 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm , by

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

If Facebook itself were a game to be won, it would be very difficult to determine the winner. It would be even harder tobecome the winner.

Here’s what I mean.

I would think that the true “winner of the game of Facebook” would be the person least perceived by their friends as a narcissist, yet somehow isn’t secretly a snoop.

Maybe I should create a Venn diagram? (See below.)

Let me just say, I definitely am no Facebook winner.

However, I don’t want to be identified as either a narcissist or a snoop… but if I outright deny that I’m neither, doesn’t that just prove I’m a narcissist?

Since last June, I have made a point to spend less than 5 minutes a day on Facebook- and my life has become better for it. (Narcissist comment?)

Basically, I’m usually on there just long enough each day to post pictures of our family, see if I received any new notifications, and take a look at a friend or family member’s profile if I’m wondering what they’re up to. (Narcissist comment?)

Then I get the heck out of there, before I’m tempted to make a divisive comment about politics, religion, or food.

But even then, I could easily see how I could be perceived as a narcissist. I mean, seriously- everyday I post a new picture of you, or a selfie of our family, or a story about you.

To some, I very well could be that annoying guy who is perceived as trying to make it look like he has the perfect family and the perfect life, thanks to the stage of the everlasting talent show/high school reunion of Facebook.

While I’m grateful for what I’ve been blessed with, I quickly and openly recognize that my life isfar from perfect. (Narcissist comment?)

However, I do believe in the importance in being a positive influence in society; which to some, can come across as being a show-off or self-obsessed.

And then on the other side of the spectrum, if I’m not a narcissist, am I a snoop?

If I’m not a person who is perceived as tooting my own horn all day with happy pictures and stories, am I instead the opposite- a person who is quietly snooping on everyone else, without giving out too much information about my own life? (Because that’s not fair, right?)

I wonder if I can get away with admitting that it can be very challenging to scroll down my Facebook feed without having some kind of judgmental thought about someone who is clearly crying out for attention; whether it’s a negative rant, a duckface selfie, or a “look at my awesome life!” update.

Full circle. Am I that happy narcissistic person? Or the snooping friend? Or am I simply both, by default?

I’m not good at playing the game of Facebook. I’m better off just sitting on the bench- throwing in enough sporadic comments and pictures that are positive and that don’t mention questions or comments regarding politics, religion, or food; that way I’m still contributing without oversharing and inviting people to unfriend me.

All I know is to keep doing what I do: Open the window to friends and family to let them see what is going on in my life, which is you and Mommy.

But (fellow) snoops are welcome too.

 

Love,

Daddy