In anticipation of leaving Facebook on Feburary 1, I’m posting a series of thoughts on why I’m making that decision. I’m going to archive them here for future reference.
Facebook has become a twitch for me. Like toe tapping, pen twirling, or doodling in class, but much less benign. When I experience any brief moment of downtime, difficulty, or distraction, I avoid it by checking for notifications. There’s plenty of brain science about why faceook is addictive (you’ve probably seen it all, I won’t bore you here. It stimulates pleasure like a drug), but I’m seeing it play out in my daily life.
For instance: Windows+1, Ctlr+T, F, Enter, Ctr+W
That combination of key presses opens chrome, opens a new tab, autofills ‘facebook’ in the search bar, opens the main page – at which point I briefly check for notifications and scan the top posts in my newsfeed – then closes the tab and returns to what I was doing before. The whole thing takes about 15 seconds.
It’s a habit. A deeply ingrained habit that I don’t even think about. I just… do it. All the time.
As part of a larger project of removing distraction from my phone, I got rid of the facebook app and made it impossible to access via browser. It’s freeing to not have access on the go. Helpful, but it doesn’t address the fact that I email, study, take class notes, write essays, read news, etc on my laptop. All those quick checks average ~25 minutes per day (I track my internet usage using rescuetime.com. It’s enlightening/scary). ~12 hours a month is a sizable chunk of free time.
Equally concerning is the quantity of visits throughout the day. Assuming 15-30 seconds a visit (and accounting for some longer jaunts), I probably open facebook ~25 times a day. I’ve trained myself to always have a quick outlet, which bleeds into my other activities. Praying, reading, focused studying, etc. All of those things suffer when I’ve trained myself to be constantly distracted. It significantly impacts my ability to do deep work.
So what does leaving allow? First off it will stop the ability to ‘twitch’. Without facebook I’ll lose access to a major distraction, which should reverb and help my ability to study and read with prolonged attention. Plus, I have 30 unread books on my shelf right now plus 40 more on my Amazon/goodreads wishlist. The extra time will be put to good use.