This morning I declared that I would log out of Facebook. In my mind, I meant from my phone and for the day. As the day has progressed, though, I wonder if I should commit to avoiding the website as well. Maybe for longer than the day. After all, this idea stemmed from an ugly feeling of inadequacy for not making the time to write for my blog, and oh how! do I fritter away time on Facebook in the evenings after the kids are in bed. This is all reminding me of other times that I’ve felt a need for a break from social media.
It’s just after 2:00 PM now; this is hard. I can best describe the compulsion as a twitch. In a moment of brief boredom, or a wandering mind, my body poises to track down an internet enabled device to click onto Facebook and see what my friends are up to today. It’s like knowing there are Hershey’s Kisses in the freezer. They’re “hidden” but they’re there, and grabbing one at a time doesn’t feel like a big deal because it’s totally mindless. You just do it because you keep doing it. (Hence, I don’t keep Hershey’s Kisses around.)
Though I long ago deleted the app and bookmark from my phone, I’ve visited Facebook in my web browser enough times that typing “f” brings up the site immediately. I wonder if there are any new messages, interesting articles or conversations in my moms group that really resonate. I wonder if anything funny has happened to my friends, or if there’s a new baby in the world or on the way. I wonder who has received orders for an exciting new assignment. I wonder if my sister is having a good or bad day. In short, Facebook is the easiest way to pretend like I’ve been at a cocktail party without the exhaustion of finding a sitter, getting dressed and actually going to a cocktail party.
The thing is, I visit the site so frequently that I find myself viewing the same content repeatedly. Often I view notifications within learning that one additional person has commented on a thread that is bound to receive twenty more similar comments. I do enjoy being involved in conversations in real time, but the essential truth is this: it will all be there at the end of the day. Or next week.
Let’s not forget to mention the inane frenzy over THE DRESS. I wasted far too much time reading related articles in an effort to understand the problem. I’d have all that time back if there were no Facebook in my life.
In this moment I’m practicing a time-tested parenting trick: redirection. The toddler is down for a nap. The preschooler is with my husband. The house is quiet. And writing this is how I repress the urge to click on that little fox, type “F” in the browser bar and hit “return.” Who knows? Maybe next I’ll get to mark something off my To Do list.