Alex Anderson

It is what it is

#FacebookFast

2014-11-29 Alex AndersonThoughts

Rewind time back to 2006. What did you do to waste time back then? Fast forward back to now. What do you do to waste time?

I’ve decided it’s time to take the plunge again.

Six months ago, I wrote this on Facebook:

Happy May Day, everyone. For this entire month, I’ve decided that I’m going on a Facebook fast. Kindof… Here’s how it’s going to go - I’m going to delete the facebook app from all of my devices, and stop using www.facebook.com. I will continue to use Facebook Messenger, since it’s such a darn useful way of getting in touch with people. I might still post photos or blog posts from other apps. The main idea is to stop wasting so much time. No offense meant to any of you - thats the problem, you all post stuff that is so incredibly interesting that I want to read it and look at it all. Still, for this month at least, I will not be looking at it all. I’ll write a little post about how it goes when I am done. Until then, I invite you to join me. Make May a Facebook Free month!

And, truthfully, it really was great. I was surprised at how much more I was able to get done without having Facebook to distract me. On top of that, I felt better during that time too. I tried to keep it up for as long as possible after May, but eventually I fell back into old habits and started using Facebook regularly again. Granted, it wasn’t much as before, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized that I need to do it again.

I’ve had every reason to. I’ve noticed that I could be much more useful and productive, like I was in May. Many church leaders have talked about being careful with the way we spend our time. I find it ironic how often my family sits around each other, all on some i-device or other being ‘social’, but not really being ‘social’. I’ve decided it’s time to end that.

That being said, I’ll be doing another month-long Facebook fast. During the entire month of December, I’ll be limiting my Facebook usage to the Groups and Messenger app on my phone. Of course, there will still be occasional posts from this blog which automatically post to my Facebook timeline. I also use Instagram, so there might be the odd shot that pops up here and there. But for the most part, I’ll be staying away. I’ll be directing my extra time at my school work, programming for Farpoint and pursuing other hobbies, and spending quality time with loved ones.

How will I do it? First things first, I’m deleting my Facebook bookmarks so I can’t easily access the site when I’m bored. I’ve installed a blocker plugin for my web browser which will allow me to access Facebook for very short periods of time (2 minutes) just in case there is something that I need to do on there. 2 minutes really is hardly any time, and when I did my Facebook fast in May, I hopped on every now and then to collect some contact information or to share something meaningful which could be uplifting (I agree with the Brethren that social media can be used for great good).

I’ve installed the Facebook Messenger, so I can still be contacted that way, and the Facebook Groups, so I can stay connected with my ward and mission and what not. On top of those things, though, it all will come down to self control.

My mission president used to say “A lock on a door is to keep honest people out”, and that’s the case with this. I’m making it as difficult as possible to waste my time on Facebook, but if I really want to, I’ll easily be able to get on. When it comes down to it, this is a test of self-control and how much I consider Facebook and social media in general to be crucial to my life. I don’t think it is. But we’ll see. In the mean time, feel free to join me. At very least, take a look at your social-media habits and make the choice to make a change. It will surprise you what kind of a difference it makes.

Cheers!

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R. Alex Anderson

Alex Anderson is a husband, student, React web developer, Latter-day Saint, amateur rock climber, hobby chef, and spaceship enthusiast. He enjoys learning new things, teaching inspiring things, building cool things, and doing fun things.