Three Times to Step Away from Facebook

Facebook has become both a huge asset and my biggest headache over the past few years.

While Facebook can serve as a great tool for facilitating interactions, the sheer amount of stuff on there has also made it a black hole of information. Logging in to my account, I find my newsfeed littered with status updates from an aunt, a middle school friend, and a more current friend; shared articles from Pages like Time Magazine and Business Insider; and an endless stream of photographs.

In order to not feel completely inundated by all of that activity, I periodically step away from my account. These are the three times when unplugging from my Facebook has proven valuable to me.

During times of travel

In all of the new countries that I visit, I find that my best experiences occur when I’m fully engaged with all that a given destination has to offer. For me, attaining this engagement often entails unplugging from social media.

On the one hand, websites like Facebook and Instagram can be incredibly useful for documenting travel experiences. On the other hand, I can say with certainty that I have spent too much time on social media for this very purpose.

My attempts to perfectly capture a moment, whether by crafting a clever status update or choosing the best Instagram filter, meant energy away from actually living in that moment. For this reason, I try to only use Facebook for keeping in touch with my family.

If you can relate to what has been said, here’s my tip: Keep a journal to jot down your thoughts while you travel and post your travel updates after your trip. Travel is a lot more fulfilling when you don’t see each landmark you hit, each meal you enjoy, or each person you meet as a potential Facebook post.

When you’re out with a friend

Meaningful conversation can be difficult with a screen standing in between you and the person to whom you’re speaking. One of my biggest pet peeves is a friend’s seeming inability to leave his/her phone alone while spending time with me.

In a similar vein as the travel point, I step away from social media when I want to be fully engaged with another person. You can always check your Facebook newsfeed. The time that you spend with a friend, however, is valuable and limited.

Taking greater interest in your phone than in what the person right in front of you has to say is plain rude and offensive.

When you’ve got too much on your plate

Taking breaks is important for me when working, especially when it comes to periods of time that seem ridden with deadlines. Before, my version of taking a break involved a 10-minute scroll-through of Facebook.

When faced with my newsfeed, I have only to click on a single link to begin my inevitable downfall.

Clicking on one link always opens up a page with even more links to interesting pages that in turn have even more links to check out (and so on and so forth). Before you know it, I am utterly, utterly distracted while those 10 minutes steadily stretch into something more like 60.

When you have a lot on your plate, focus is key. If you can relate to what I just said, then Facebook is clearly not the place where you’ll find or hone that focus.

To make the most out of a break, take a step away from the computer. You’ll feel refreshed once you’ve changed up the scenery, especially if you’ve been working in a single place for so long. Go for a walk, get a cup of coffee, or do some stretches. Your brain will thank you.

While I have faced a lot of frustration with Facebook, taking these periodic ‘vacations’ from my account has allowed me to continue appreciating the benefits of being a member.

Facebook has and continues to connect me with friends and even family with whom I might have otherwise lost contact. In my experience, it’s also been pretty integral to student life in my college, serving as a hub for various updates on cool opportunities.

In all, I guess you could say that the old adage, “Everything in moderation, even moderation”, has never been truer for me.

 Photo Feature:

Jocelyn Lim
  • Olivia

    Great article! I can totally identify with this. Especially the idea that too much facebook-checking distracts from living in the moment. I try and use facebook for specific tasks, like replying to messages or keeping in contact with people who live far away. I avoid the newsfeed at all’s hard not to get sucked in!

  • Melinda Mitchell

    The news feed is misery! I’ve cancelled my account twice this year already, because all the junk.
    Good tips for taking breaks!!