Facebook detox: unplugging from social media as a form of self-care
Social media detoxing can be a radical self-care step in today’s hyper-connected world. Of course, I’m hardly the first to say that. Telling someone to quit Facebook (or just cut down) is kind of like telling them to meditate, express gratitude, or go to bed earlier.
We hear all the time that it’s good for our happiness. We know that we’re “supposed” to do it. But there’s a difference between hearing about the benefits and feeling them.
I get it— I’ve boomeranged on and off my personal Facebook and Instagram over the years. This time, I’ve been able to stay off.
The difference? I stopped seeing the lack of social media as just a lack, and re-framed it as the presence of more important things: time, money, energy, and attention, to name a few. And those are all things I need to run this blog.
In this post
- Nothing is free in this world
- Consuming content with intention
- Saving my energy for writing
- Not dealing with Facebook’s sex-negativity
- Letting go of comparison
1 Nothing is free in this world
Facebook is a business and, just like any other business, it wants money. This not-so-little ecosystem makes money by using your data to target ads while collecting payment from the advertisers.
The news feed, once presented as a way to connect with friends, is pretty much a vessel for ads and links, with some friend updates sprinkled in. The business model is simple: have as many people as possible use Facebook, for as long as possible.
The problem isn’t that there’s nothing good about Facebook. I love an inspirational puppy video just as much as anybody else. And sometimes targeted ads lead me to something really great. It’s just that there’s so much noise on my news feed— too much junk food for my monkey brain.
Before I know it, “just checking something for a few minutes” turns into a half hour. I’ve relinquished to Facebook my time, my most valuable resource, in a way that doesn’t exactly make me proud.
2 Consuming content with intention
Yes, I could find a lot of excellent content via Facebook. However, I could arguably just as (if not more) easily do that without Facebook— without spending as much time letting my mind bounce around and sifting through the crap.
All those links and screenshots I’ve saved from Facebook (or StumbleUpon… or Pinterest…), of cool stuff to check out “later”? I never looked back at them. Before, I was hoarding the novelty of new knowledge, but never actually used it.
I’m now on an information diet plan: I try not to consume or save media unless I have a plan for how I’ll use the information with a concrete deadline.
Lest you think this sounds too draconian, I do consider enjoyment useful— a fifteen-minute break to look at puppies, an hour before bed to watch a stand-up special, a day binge-listening to a podcast while doing something. But I’m not going to scroll through a mishmash for a half hour just because there might be something I’ll enjoy.
News? I’d instead get a condensed 411 from theSkimm or see what’s trending.
And as far as news relevant to my blogging business goes, Facebook’s community standards wouldn’t let all that much of it reach my dashboard anyway. That’s what my curated and less-censored sex blog Twitter’s news feed is for.
3 Saving my energy for building a brand
As a content creator, it’s also important for me to be intentional about where I direct my creative energy. I’m getting older and running out of fucks to give— doing stuff for the “exposure” and “likes” doesn’t cut it anymore.
For one, I started caring a lot less about taking amazing selfies when I realized I could make $40–75 an hour for photo shoots (not even pornographic/adult nudes) or make a living by modeling for art students.
Likewise, once the Super Smash Cache blog started picking up, I wanted to save my words and my time spent writing. Composing Facebook posts does consume writing “juice” and spoons, even if it’s supposed to be fun. Now that I know I can monetize writing on my blog, why would I give that away for free for Facebook?
And if you’ve made funny Tweets your thing, I hope you recognize that you have talent— talent that people are willing to pay for— and build something out of it that’s undeniably your own. Something that brings you more than just likes and followers.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t absolutely never share your talent for free. Rather, I’m emphasizing that you only have 24 hours in a day to work and play and sleep. If you’re passionate about something, and good at it, and know how much you could get paid for it, doing it for free often sounds a lot less appealing.
4 Not dealing with Facebook’s sex-negativity
Yes, Facebook can be a great way to promote a business, but it’s not worth it for me, even just for my blog.
For one, the algorithm is constantly changing. It used to be that if someone liked your business page, your posts would show up on their feeds. Makes sense, right? But today, business pages have to pay Facebook in order for their posts to show up on people’s feeds… and even then, your posts’ visibility is not a given.
With how much Facebook hates sex bloggers, pictures that literally don’t even include anything that looks like a body part can get your account disabled or deleted. Because they’re “too” suggestive. Even posting a link to a post on Medium about a sex worker getting banned can lead to Facebook account suspension.
Oh, but they don’t hate everything sex-related, I guess.
Facebook has denied my attempts to promote my blog posts about:
❌ why I don’t forgive my abuser
❌ pleasure as resistance
❌ supporting feminist sex shops in the age of Trump
But a shitty, misogynistic, unethical sex toy company that makes dangerous condoms?
✅ GO FOR IT!
— Formidable Femme (@SarahBHoll) April 2, 2018
5 Letting go of comparison
A former high school classmate bought a house, at age 21. Another’s getting married. Another is the youngest student in her master’s program. So-and-so has a rocking figure. My ex-FWB was featured on the radio.
I know the rabbit hole of comparison all too well. Instagram, in particular, distills the most comparison-conducive features of Facebook: photos and likes. It kind of makes it convenient to scroll through images of attractive women, loosely connected to my crushes or friends, and feel inadequate upon seeing how many “likes” and “followers” they have.
It’s easier said than done to take numbers out of the equation. However, I can recognize my bad habits’ triggers over time and replace them with something better.
Instead of even having a number of “likes” or “followers” to look at, I mostly share photos privately with those close to me. It feels a lot more personal— I like my picture because I like it, and even if it’s fugly AF, my friends like it because I like it.
When I feel down about being short, I adapt Jameela Jamil’s #iweigh #fuckingKG movement to fit my own needs. I stand: building a rad AF sex blog, studied 4 languages, my handsome doggie loves me, overcoming ADHD and depression, a STEM major and art minor, fire dancing FUCKING INCHES TALL.
No matter what I look like, and no matter the numbers, I’m a sensual being who has accomplished a lot and has a fantastic body.
Ani over at The Story of A has put it so eloquently:
My body, fat or not, is a miracle. I’m a miracle for breathing, for eating, for writing these words. How many people in the world cannot even type? My mind is a miracle. How many people in the world are stuck with minds that can’t access the outside world? My consciousness is a miracle. How many beings in the world cannot express that they are conscious and self-aware?
To be clear, I don’t think social media is all bad…
…but it can make bad habits more convenient. This applies especially those of us who are prone to novelty-seeking, compulsive behavior, and/or depression. Just like with anything else, it is just a tool.
Myself, I’ve already decided that the cost-to-benefit ratio of having personal Facebook and Instagram profiles is just too steep for my liking.