40 Days 40 Nights without Facebook

Computer with lock and chainChocolate. Alcohol. Cheese. Cursing. Typical things that one would give up for Lent. I’ve tried to all of them for the full forty (read: forty-six when including Sundays) for Lent. In the Christian faith, Lent is to remind us of the temptation that Jesus endured in the desert from Satan. Lent is a time for us to give up one of our vices. I’m not religious. I go to church on the “important” holidays but this year I really wanted to give Lent a valiant effort. For the first time ever, I can truthfully say I survived Lent without cheating. I gave up Facebook. When people heard I was giving up Facebook there were a lot of questions: Why not Twitter? What do you miss most? Obstacles? Will you go back? etc. I can tell you this, life was better without Facebook.

Facebook Vs. Twitter. When I posted an update that I wouldn’t be around for forty days, friends insisted I give up Twitter instead. Of course these friends aren’t on Twitter. It’s easy folks. Facebook, IMO, ruins lives. The amount of drama that runs rampant through the walls (pun intended) of Facebook is ridiculous. I don’t need to see who’s marriage is now “complicated” or go through every photo of my current crush (you know you’ve done it). What about keeping in touch? The people who I want to keep in touch with know other means of doing so. My response forty days ago to my friends was: “FB is simply for creeping out people’s photos you haven’t seen in god knows how long. Twitter is for actually communicating with others. :)”

Think about it. I realized I called people less because I didn’t need to ask them what was new in their lives. Facebook can tell me. However Twitter, on a daily basis, offers its community something that will benefit them. We read at least a dozen articles a day about our industry, news, or even something to make us laugh simply because our friend retweeted a link. Twitter allows our professional networks to grow ten fold. We’ve traveled the country to meet friends we never would have known if not for Twitter. In my opinion Twitter wins every time. Team Twitter.

Obstacles in a life without Facebook.Events, birthdays, and TJ occasionally saying, “Christina you gotta check this out on FB, oh wait ya can’t.” Events were most difficult. Just last week I had the opportunity to meet some great Twitter peeps for happy hour. Cog tweeted a link for the event but it was of course on Facebook. I joked, calling him my little Satan, but politely asked him to send me the details. Friends ran into this problem too. Reunions, birthday parties, brunch etc. It became harder to keep in touch. My closest friends would send me e-mails with subject lines: Info for non-Facebook friendly friend. I’m sure I missed out on some parties and events because of my lack of presence on FB but it didn’t bother me.

My closest friends knew how to get in touch with me to make sure I was kept in the loop. Also less people knew what I was up to so I could pick and choose where I wanted to go. The thing I missed most about Facebook were birthday reminders. I am the worst when it comes to birthdays. If I missed your birthday please forgive me. I’m scared to go back and see who I missed. Blame it on Jesus 😉 (just kidding). Honestly, after the first two weeks of giving up Facebook the obstacles seemed less difficult.

Life after Lent with Facebook.I’m writing this post the morning of Easter Sunday and I’ve already got the Facebook tab open. I’ve been on it for all of ten minutes. Uploaded a new profile picture and thats about it. I feel confused, lost, and not very excited. Reflecting on a life without Facebook reminds me of how connected our society is and our lack of face to face communication. Sure it makes it easier to see what my cousins are up to in Florida but what about my cousin that lives around the block from me? Shouldn’t I just call her and ask her to lunch to see what she’s up to?

Instead I’ll creepily stalk her ski trip photos and assume she’s having a great time on her spring break. I noticed that stalking/creeping isn’t as fun either. What’s the point of it anyway? I don’t plan on being on FB much. Perhaps to share my PRBC blog posts, talk about upcoming events, and share the once a week happy birthday wish. However I do plan on doing some spring cleaning. If I haven’t talked to you in over x months, hasta la vista baby. There’s really no point to us being FB friends.

It was nice to disconnect from the world a bit. Do you think we’re too connected? Do we have an obsession we can’t shake?

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  • annako

    yay! first comment..this lenten season was particularly hard for me..I gave up meat and chocolate..had me some BACON for breakfast before attending Easter Sunday mass of course =) and chocolate from the youth group kids' Easter Egg Fundraiser..I totally agree with you though..I'm not on Facebook as much as I should be, but lots of people do FB invites to bday parties, dinners, reunions, etc. I've thought about deleting my account, but figured it would be really hard for people to get in touch with me.. (i'm not very good with picking up phone calls either) =)

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  • Another good post Christina:

    Is does become a hassle when you’re too connected. Sometimes in the morning I have to check Facebook or Twitter first to see what’s happening in my community. To be honest its information overload sometimes. FB and Twitter can be a full-time job that we fill obligated or pressure to post a comment on a person’s wall or create a photo album from your trip in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Usually on the weekends is when I try to disconnect from the FB and Twitter world at least four a few hours. Sometimes I’ll go to the grocery store without bringing my cell phone. It was refreshing as if it was 1998 all over again. All though I would never give up the current technology we have I envy people who live in areas who don’t have a computers or on FB and that have to worry about a plethora of emails or uploading current profile pictures. There is just something nice about that.

  • Stina, you already know my thoughts on this but I'll state 'em loud and proud. I think giving up Facebook is dumb. I'm totally in awe of your self-control, don't get me wrong; I just don't think Facebook is the life-ruiner you make it out to be.

    Yes, photo-creeping is creepy but we ALL DO IT. What I take away from your Lent experiment is that this proves you do have the willpower to not be a creeper if you wanted. FB is not the malt liquor to the alcoholic; you can still have a FB account and use it lightly, the way you want to, and force yourself to keep in touch with close friends in other ways.

    …BTW, now that you're back on FB I have like 400 million things to show you. 😀

  • Wow, I totally thought this was going the other way and that you'd have your personalized link to your FB page at the end of the article.

    Definitely gave something to think about, but I feel like I've put so much time, effort and information into FB, I'd lose a chunk of my life if I cut it loose now. I'm Team Twitbook 🙂

  • jeffespo

    I love how you blame our forgetfulness on Jesus.

  • jeannevb

    Congratulations! I would have given up FB for Lent, but my FB page is already a morgue. I actually was on it yesterday and typed in “I have no idea what to do with FB anymore.” Yes, I am a twitter-a-holic. I have no problem posting things on Twitter, and I just realized why. I have more in common with my Twitter following than I do my FB friends. There. I said it. Let the unfriending begin.

    Great post, Stina. So glad you took the challenge. I have no doubt, even though Lent is over, PRCog will continue to be a little Satan though 🙂

  • Thanks for stopping by Anna!

    I definitely wouldn't delete my account but I will use it for different reasons.

  • Rob I'm with you, I like to disconnect. I blame my blackberry for making me always connected, especially to Twitter. I'm going to try to leave it home on the weekends. See how I feel afterwards.

    Thanks for commenting!

  • When I woke up this morning, I thought about adding a link to my profile as a joke lol. Great minds think alike 🙂

    In college it would have been much harder to do this. I think being out of college made it easier. I talk to a lot of less people than I did during school so I didn't feel like I was missing out as much. It more of a relief actually

  • You would. 🙂

  • seanathompson

    I don't think we're “too connected,” though our connection sometimes does cause unwanted distraction from other elements of our everyday life. But our ability to communicate and keep on top of what's going on with our friends is worth the occasional unwanted distraction or dependence, in my opinion.

    Great post, and I definitely agree with your choice to give up FB instead of Twitter!

  • I too gave up FB for Lent and agree with your post entirely.

  • SaraKate

    Honestly? I've been thinking of giving up Facebook for a while, but keep getting pulled back in – mostly because of events. And status messages (which are essentially Tweets under another name). I like that my parents are on Facebook, but I'm pretty disenchanted with it. I've never been the hugest fan of facebook, but have used it at the insistence of others. I likely won't ever delete my profile there, but I am using it less and less. I keep a presence there mostly as a way for people to find me if they want to and have contemplated deleting everything but my contact info from it about every 6 months since I started using it.

    Going forward from this experience, what do you see as the unique benefits of facebook as opposed to Twitter, LinkedIn, email, or the good old-fashioned phone call?

  • rochelleveturis

    You are awesome Christina. I knew you were a kindred spirit. I've been having the same disappointed feelings toward Facebook. In fact, I was venting about it on Twitter the other day and a fellow tweep started hash tagging our convo with #FailBook.

    I'm proud of you for sticking to your experiment, and staying true to your commitment. Just know that you're in good company … many tweeps, present company included, are right there with you. Go team Twitter! Woot!!

  • On a personal note, I dont really see the correlation between Linkedin and Facebook for me. IMO, LinkedIn is all professional and Facebook is all for fun. Twitter and Facebook is less black and white. Facebook is more intimate with your friends then Twitter currently is for me. Baby pictures, wedding albums, etc. I'm not sure Facebook is better than the good old-fashioned phone call. But one thing I have noticed is that I loath the good old-fashioned phone call. I think thats becoming more popular because we have so many other means of communicating.

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