If a tree falls and no one posts about it on Facebook, does it mean it really fell?

4 Feb

Image Source: http://media1.annabrixthomsen.com/2012/07/If_a_tree_falls_in_the_woods377Detail.png

Two weeks ago, I entered Facebook Silence. Or at least, that’s what I called it when I decided there was no time like the present to tackle the “Two weeks without Facebook” challenge from my 40×40 list.

For people who don’t have Facebook, that entry probably earned an eyeroll. But for those of us who check Facebook multiple times daily and feel like it’s our connection to people outside our immediate sightline? It seemed daunting.

I’ll admit, if I hadn’t deleted the Facebook app off my iPhone, I would’ve blown my resolution the day I started. I posted my intention to go dormant on a Sunday night, then – when I woke on Monday – I started my lazy wake-up routine. I don’t run my furnace at night, so I wake to chilly air and usually spend a bit of time lounging in my bed, reviewing emails on my phone before I can muster the courage to run to the shower. If it’s really cold, I’ll buy more time by flipping over to Facebook to see what people posted while I was sleeping.

That Monday, it was exceptionally cold, so when I finished the emails, I instinctively went to check Facebook. But my smart self had remove the app from my phone before I went to bed. Instead of a blue square icon, my phone simply had a blank space glaring at me. I briefly wondered what I’d committed to. Then I wondered if my Facebook usage bordered on an addiction. Then I showered. Image Source: http://media02.hongkiat.com/facebook-addiction-signs/facebook-addict.jpg

That first day was a series of realizations… not only that I used Facebook as a crutch on cold mornings, but also that I’ve become accustomed to checking it quickly as a way of mentally shifting gears between projects at work. More than once, I found myself landing on the login page, catching myself before I entered my credentials.

I hadn’t declared an outright ban on all social media, however, so I’d dip into Twitter daily and post something. I’ve never been much of a tweeter, and this two week period helped me figure out why: Facebook feels like more of a conversation. Twitter seems like a bunch of people just blurting things and occasionally responding to each other. Perhaps a bit like a Tourrettes conference. Also? It turns out I enjoy the photos people post on Facebook – even if they’re usually of children.

So while I bounced over to Twitter periodically, I’d wager that it held my attention for no more than five minutes a day. It kind of makes me wonder why I have four Twitter accounts. (I guess I did a land-grab early on? Beats me.)

I will say that this experiment DID help me reclaim a staggering amount of free time, so I definitely plan to restrict my Facebook usage moving forward. But I also found that I missed out on key events and had to learn about them second-hand, which I didn’t like.

Thankfully, Alan texted me when my friend announced the birth of her baby via Facebook. And it was from overhearing people in my office talking that I realized one of my work friends was stuck on a bus in Atlanta for 24 hours because of the snow storm. Trade-offs, I guess.

In any case, it was liberating to unshackle myself from Mark Zuckerberg’s three-legged race for a week. And it was a stroke of genius that my dormant period coincided with the Super Bowl. Because who has time for that?

5 Responses to “If a tree falls and no one posts about it on Facebook, does it mean it really fell?”

  1. Richard Barney February 4, 2014 at 7:14 am #

    Inspired to cut back on FB but not cut out. Thanks for doing the research for me!

    • pithypants February 4, 2014 at 7:35 am #

      Yeah – I tend not to be good at doing anything “gradually” so I thought it’d be good to go cold turkey, then be a bit more deliberate about how I allow it to phase back into my world.

  2. thesinglecell February 5, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    Are you still relatively less involved? Because Facebook Movie… GAH. Why do I need to watch two minutes of stuff I’ve already seen by being your FB friend? (Not yours. I almost never check my blog FB page where we ARE friends. No offense. I’m just too tied up on my Real Life FB page.) Agree 100% with your assessment of FB vs Twitter, by the way. I use Twitter as a news source. Apparently it’s some major embarrassment if your number of followed users is greater than your number of followers. I cannot make the font small enough to exhibit the level at which I care.

    • pithypants February 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Total agreement. And YES – the videos initially seemed clever – until I had approximately 100 videos in my newsfeed. I did not share mine, although I did think it was relatively clever – it started with my face on a bag of Sour Patch Kids and then featured two photos I took of strangers’ butt cracks. So I’ll give them some credit for their formula. Also – it is kind of a good litmus test to see what people post about. More than one friend said something like, “It’s almost like this is my KID’S page, not mine, based on this video,” and I was like, “Correct. That’s why I’ve hidden you from my feed. Because I don’t talk baby.” And I suppose those same friends have hidden me because they’re tired of seeing strangers’ butt cracks. Their loss.


  1. So, this is a milestone. GULP. | pithypants - October 30, 2014

    […] Go Facebook-Silent for two weeks. YES. Read the post. I might do it again. And again. And again… Starting now? […]

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