I took a break from Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr, starting the Thursday before Memorial Day to the evening of the holiday.
There were exceptions to my break. I used Reddit. And I logged in to Facebook and other social media for a couple of hours to do some work for the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic club. But other than that I left social media alone.
So how was the break? Nice. Not life-altering, but it was good to get away.
I’ve thought about doing it in the past but there’s a compulsive aspect to social media. Facebook in particular. A feeling that it’s somehow rude to ignore my online friends. Which is just silly. Everybody should take a few days away from social media now and then. I expect to do it more often.
While I was away, I read books and articles, watched some TV with Julie, and took the dog on two long hikes. One hike was on suburban residential streets around La Mesa, including going up 245 outdoor steps, and then immediately down 184 steps.
The other hike was Cowles Mountain. That was a distance of 4 miles, with a 1,600-foot climb. Cowles is the highest point in San Diego County.
For Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr I just walked away and didn’t post anything and didn’t check comments. I don’t get a lot of interaction on those services when I’m not actively posting.
But I didn’t feel right about just walking away from Facebook. If people were leaving comments on my posts, which they would do, they deserve a prompt response, within a day at most.
So I temporarily disabled my Facebook account. This only took a few minutes to do but it was RIDICULOUSLY complicated. It took six steps and Facebook warns you SEVERAL TIMES that your friends will be unable to contact you. Because apparently Facebook is the only way we communicate now. We don’t talk. We just Facebook.
You can only disable your Facebook account for up to seven days at a time; after that, Facebook will automatically re-enable the account.
However, although the process of disabling your Facebook is complicated and intimidating, it only takes a few minutes to do. And it seems to be the only way to reliably let people know I’m not on Facebook for a bit and not to expect a response.
I wish Facebook had some equivalent of the email out-of-office message.
One other loophole in my social media break: I like to post links to articles, and I was still reading articles, so I used Buffer to queue up the links after my social media return. And now they’re trickling out.
I think I’ll take more one-day and multi-day breaks from social media. It’s nice to get off the machine for a while.