It’s a Monday morning and late last Sunday night I decided on a whim (kinda) to deactivate my Facebook account for a week as an experiment. For those of you who know me, none more so than my poor wife you’ll realise that this was a big thing for me to do. I’m very active on Facebook both in my personal account and the many pages I manage. I’ve made some good real life friends on Facebook, generated business leads and sales, provided customer support, kept in touch with distant friends and family, showed off my lovely kids and I also use it effectively for business branding, marketing and sales too so there was an element of “business suicide” about my decision as well. Here are my reasons for leaving Facebook for a week:
What my profile page looked like when I deactivated! Scary..
Most important thing out of the way first. Ok, I’ll finally admit it publicly here and now – My name is Leon Quinn and I’m a Facebook addict. I can see the smirk of satisfaction on my wife’s face now. First thing every morning and last thing every night I check Facebook desperate to see those little red notification bubbles and who’s interacted with me and boosted my ego trip. No matter what I’m working on during the day, I constantly switch back and forth to Facebook to see what’s happening. I spend way too much time on it via the phone on evenings and weekends too. I crave the interaction for some reason. I love to read friend’s feeds too just to see what’s happening in my “group” and on the local scene here in Leitrim and my liked page feeds provide great news, tips and education to me. This reading aspect is the real time killer, after all it only takes a matter of seconds to post something or leave a comment. I type fast.
I use RescueTime to monitor my use of both the computer and phone and last weeks report says I spent nearly 9 hours on Facebook for Android and nearly 5 hours on Facebook.com on the PC. That’s 14 hours a week and the best part of 2 full working days. I have a dilemma with RescueTime where it asks me to “categorise” time spent on certain sites as either “distracting” or “productive”. I don’t know which Facebook is! It’s basically both I guess as I get some good business leads, branding and actual paid jobs out of it but this skews my productivity score a bit.
So what have I noticed after a week without Facebook? Lots of problems I’m afraid! First thing I noticed was my automatic feed from Dlvr.it that takes new blog posts from my various sites and shares them on Facebook went down of course. Next thing I noticed was I had been in conversation with a client Sunday evening via Facebook chat re a problem she was having with her site and suddenly disappearing without giving her a solution probably didn’t go down well! I got her on email though. Also, I lost contact with one or 2 people re selling some items to them.
I pretty much forgot that Facebook Pages need a functioning personal account through which to manage them. Thankfully Facebook don’t take pages down completely when your personal account is deactivated but I can’t respond to any posts, comments or messages which is not ideal. As mentioned above I regularly get contacted via Facebook messages by existing clients for support and by potential new clients requiring quotes and stuff so I had to rely on them being able to find me by other means which shouldn’t be too hard but I can’t be sure that I havn’t lost jobs or money by being missing in action for a week. All my various business pages also went un-monitored and un-managed for a week too and I hate to ignore communication whether in business or personal life. Not being able to post anything new on any page meant I dropped off the radar a bit.
It’s painful to admit but I’m no different (and I always like to be different) to any of the rest of us who has their head buried in a phone all evening despite being in the company of family, in my case a wife and 3 great kids. They crave constant interaction as all kids and wives do but all they see when they look at me is my head buried in a phone interacting with someone else and giving them my time rather then my own family. I’ve tried to justify doing this in the past by saying people, clients etc were asking me stuff and I couldn’t ignore them and that because I have an IT business with clients abroad and that the internet “never sleeps” that I needed to keep checking stuff but I’ve never successfully managed to get this excuse accepted and it’s basically not justifiable on family time.
Guess what? I survived a week without Facebook and I doubt anyone even noticed I was gone?? People coped fine without my lack of enlightening posts! I ended up getting some stuff done in the office that I couldn’t manage before with the distraction of Facebook like accounts and learning some new stuff. Evenings and weekends with the family were great too. I got to spend some quality time with them and realised they aren’t so bad after all! I got some extra stuff done in the garden and I got to walk the dog a few times too. The poor little fecker has been neglected. I also got more time just to think which is always important.
So the moral of the story is that I’ve learned a lesson. I think we all need to impose some self-dicipline when it comes to social networking in general. Don’t completely drop it because some of us need to be on it for business reasons etc and it remains a fantastic networking and communication tool but moderation and balance is key. Set yourself usage limits and stick to them VERY vigorously.