The No-Facebook Diet: Why I’m Giving Up Facebook for 46 Days

Social Notworking

Although not for religious reasons, I am participating in Lent this year by making the ultimate 46-day sacrifice. I am giving up Facebook.

These days, the idea of unplugging from the mother of all social networks seems downright, well, anti-social. Don’t we all have a Facebook friend or two who has at some point deactivated their account? The reactions of friends range from “This won’t last,” to “Now how will we keep in touch?” to “Is she crazy?”

It’s as though Facebook has a monopoly on our social lives. Go to the page in your Account Settings where you deactivate your account and the first thing you’ll encounter is five images of you with friends, just some of the people Facebook assures you “will miss you.” As if Facebook were the only way to stay in touch.

I’ve been on Facebook for only three and a half years, and — although I have curbed my addiction in recent weeks — I have no doubt spent thousands of hours on this single website. Having it on my mobile phone ensures that any instance of boredom can be cured by browsing my News Feed, commenting on friends’ photos and reading and “liking” interesting articles. I hope that giving up Facebook will free up this time and mental energy to devote to more productive and rewarding endeavors.

It’s not that I am against Facebook. In fact, there are many benefits to embracing your online life. And I am a proponent of the social web as a tool for democracy.

At the same time, I want to learn about my friends’ lives because they share things with me personally, not because I read their status updates and view their photo albums anonymously. I want to wish friends happy birthday because I remember their birthdays, not because Facebook alerts me. And I want to learn new things by seeking out knowledge, not by having it dumped on me in a massive, random stream of data shared by 500 different friends.

The truth is, most of my best friends rarely interact with me on Facebook anyway. We make contact over the phone and in person. We share experiences in real life.

While on the No-Facebook Diet, I will pursue my career goals, engage in real experiences and nurture new relationships the old fashioned way. I will maintain my actual social network without depending on an Internet company to manage my relationships. I anticipate a newfound sense of liberation in life without Facebook.

I’ve made some strong statements in this post, but the truth is I’m not sure exactly what effect this sacrifice will have. I’ve only been on Facebook a few years, and I can’t remember life without Facebook. That’s what disturbs me the most.

Be back April 24.

One exception: I reserve the right to click the “Share” button below my blog posts in the next 46 days to share stories from this blog on Facebook. Doing so takes me to a blank page and keeps my home page and News Feed out of sight.

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