For my week of being disconnected, I chose to stay off Facebook.
In preparation for this, I also decided to change my Facebook settings so that I would not be notified by e-mail if there was any activity on my page by other Facebook “friends.” Even just choosing to do this, made me realize that I don’t always think about Facebook when I get on my computer, but I always check my e-mail which ends up having a facebook notification, which then draws me in right away. An hour later I realize I’ve wasted 60 minutes of my life, looking at pictures of people I haven’t even spoken to in years, or looking through my own photos that i’ve already seen a gazillion times. HelloO0oO0oo0O they don’t change when you log out!! We all do this…
I think my week without Facebook was made a little easier due to the fact that I was away with my lacrosse team, traveling for our spring training and 4 away games. We had a busy schedule with 4-6 hours of practice each day, games on game days, meals out, and traveling on the bus from middlebury – wesleyan – gettysburg – rpi – middlebury. But still within that busy schedule was hours of down time in our hotel rooms, where there was YES, complimentary wireless!! I did use the internet to check my e-mail because I’m in the midst of applying for study abroad and summer jobs, but I even did this to a minimum. If my roommate had her computer out, I would ask to check my e-mail quickly before she put her computer away. Other than that, I was pretty much computer-free. I realized how often I go on the computer simply out of boredom or to procrastinate. Being constantly surrounded by teammates, I didn’t have much need to be on a computer, especially face book.
Of course since we need to always have the option of being connected in our generation, we even had wireless internet on our bus. I did go online to see if any friends were on iChat to talk to, but I quickly logged off to read my book. I looked around at one point while I was reading and realized that the only non-electronic activities going on on the bus were sleeping, eating, and making friendship bracelets. I think maybe two other people were reading a magazine, and one of my coaches was knitting. Other than that, I saw lots of computers, ipods, a Kindle, and most often we had a movie playing on the bus TVs.
When I got home on saturday, I logged back into Facebook. I remembered laughing at the guy in the documentary who checked his Facebook and had like, 3 notifications after not using a computer for 3 weeks. But then I had to laugh at myself because I had little of anything extraordinary that was new to my Facebook profile after the week of not being logged on. I had 3 friend requests (one person I don’t know), 3 inbox messages, and 3 notifications. The rest of the action on my page was just event invitations or page suggestions, of which I always just hit “ignore.” I had not told anyone that I was disconnecting from Facebook, because I didn’t want that to effect the activity of my page while I was gone. I did, however, put up a status “Spring Break, Middlebury lacrosse!” before I left, so that could have made people assume that I wasn’t using a computer.
Overall, the most important thing I noticed is that how often I go on my computer simply because I don’t take the time to think of something better to do. I felt a certain liberty being disconnected from Facebook, and had no problem finding things to do without it. In fact, I felt a whole lot more productive and days felt fuller and longer. Even if I ended up using a different medium of technology, like watching TV, at least I was engaged in watching something new, sharing the entertainment with my roommates, and was totally relaxed doing it, not thinking about the social worlds left behind at Middlebury or NJ.
I may not be able to cut myself off totally from Facebook forever, but I’ll certainly try to be aware of when I’m on for no reason, wasting away what could be valuable minutes of my life. For now I think I’ll at least leave my settings so that I won’t be e-mailed notifications.