Is there social life after social media?

facebook_not_like_thumbs_downFrom January 12-19, I took a week off from Facebook. I set up posts to go out to my clients all week on my business page, then walked away. I did not log in there, except once to post my blog onto my business page. (Note to self: I gotta get that set up to go automatically.) This is what I think I learned:

Business:

My business page ran with posts that I pre-scheduled. I had a typical number of posts that people liked and shared. But, because I wasn’t “there” to add to the conversations, my reach and level of engagement was way down.

Weekly Total Reach-62.8%
People Engaged-45.8%

I also spent more time reading things directly from websites instead of reading websites that I found through Facebook. Some of that wasted more time, and some was fresher for me because I was doing the investigating.

Personal:

The time I normally spend on Facebook is hard to measure. It comes in 10-15 minute intervals. On days when I am at my desk, those intervals can add up to hours. I signed off Facebook around 10 PM on a Sunday night. I didn’t sense that I missed it until Wednesday, when I got a notice to sign up for a helper website for a friend with an upcoming surgery date. The notice about the helper site also came to me by email notification. Messages from Facebook were noted in email and I could read them in Messenger. I signed up for the helper site through Google+. For the rest of the week, I checked in there twice a day. (Is that cheating?)

So I didn’t miss sign-up opportunities, nor did I miss lunch dates because I got message notifications by email. I also got notification of “likes” and “tags” that I happily ignored.

Facebook_like_thumbInstead of being on Facebook, I wish I could tell you that I accomplished extra task after extra task. Well, I did have extra time. Some of it was well spent. The biggest accomplishment was getting my Outlook repaired (now that is a metaphor!) The Outlook contacts were not syncing properly with my phone. They are now. It took about 10 hours.

What I did notice is that I used the phone a lot more to keep in touch with friends. I used email a little more. I went out with friends two evenings out of seven.

When I returned to Facebook on Monday morning, I noticed that I know a lot about the day-to-day life of people I rarely see. After a week I am right back in the story of 9-year old girl and 7 year-old boy, right back to commenting on local wildlife, and back to being part of the sniggering about local football triumphs. Some of this is important to me. Some is not. I realize I do not get my news from Facebook. I get windows into the curated daily life of my “friends.” Some of what is important to them is important to me; some just isn’t.

There are some people who I see on my feed that I don’t know and don’t care to know. I need to do something about that.

I realize that I get a kick out of being able to chime in to be helpful or clever. I have to do some soul-searching to figure out if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Have you ever deliberately taken time off from Facebook? What did you learn about yourself?

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