I spend a lot of time on Facebook. Too much time. Usually I justify it by saying it’s my main mode of communication. It’s where I post my book reviews, readings, essays, blog posts, and where I advertise my upcoming workshops and retreats.
I justify it by saying this is how I stay engaged with my community. I follow other writers and learn about their upcoming publications. I read their essays and articles and blog posts.
I justify it by saying this is where I get my news. I follow reliable new sources. My friends follow other reliable new sources and share articles. So I am informed about the latest news and the state of our nation.
But I decided I needed a mini-vacation for a few reasons. Lately, the people who are most interested in what I post, my audience per se, has dwindled. They’re taking breaks from Facebook or breaking up with it all together. Plus, I decided to devote the summer to working on my novel – nothing to advertise there. Being part of the writers’ community is one of the most life-enriching activity I do, but I need time to write in order to keep my membership. And, finally the news cycle is overwhelming, heartbreaking.
It’s been a week since I’ve been on Facebook and in that time I’ve read 2.5 books. By reading books instead of posts, I’ve stretched my attention span. Reading books is mindful act – you can’t do the dishes, or drive, or go for a run, and read. As a result, I’ve had great writing days, in which I submerged myself in the story for longer periods of time.
My Facebook accounts are still active; I didn’t suspend them or delete them. Yet, on day three or four of not logging into Facebook I started receiving emails. “Pat posted a picture.” “Nicole updated her status.” “23 of your friends liked Barbara’s post.” All I had to do was click on the View button and Facebook would take me there. It’s kind of creepy. In all honesty, I have to admit I’m really surprised I made it this far. In the past when I’ve deleted the app from my phone, I lasted for maybe a day before logging in on my computer. This time I feel liberated.
My intention is to return at the end of the summer. Until then, I won’t read about the latest outrageous tweet. I’ll miss seeing all the smiling faces beaming from an assortment of vacation locations. I won’t keep scrolling and scrolling looking to see what else is out there, what I might be missing. For the next two months, I’ll enjoy snuggling up with paperbacks, and I’ll keep writing to discover what happens next.
N.B. WordPress automatically posts my blog entries on Facebook. So, I’m still on vacation even though you may have seen this in your Newsfeed.