Facebook detox: unplugging from social media as a form of self-care

Facebook detox: unplugging from social media as a form of self-care 1

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
  1. Nothing is free in this world
  2. Consuming con­tent with intention
  3. Saving my ener­gy for writing
  4. Not deal­ing with Facebook’s sex-negativity
  5. 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

Forest app tree growing with 23:23 minutes left.

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.

5 Letting go of comparison

Facebook detox: unplugging from social media as a form of self-care 2

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.

7 Responses

  1. B R says:

    I’ve pret­ty much stopped using Facebook. I go about once a week to see if any­one I care about has mes­saged me. Too many pity par­ties and too much boasting.

  2. Trix says:

    I’ve nev­er used FB, but this post still res­onates with me in oth­er ways…

  3. Clara says:

    I love this post so much. It’s real help­ful and I’m so glad that you’ve writ­ten it for any­one who may see it. Thank you

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