Disconnect to connect: Social media takes over

Disconnect to connect: Social media takes over

How often do you check Facebook? Once or twice a day? A few times a day? Hourly?

If you’re anything like me, you look at it way too often. I’ve found I do it mostly out of boredom; and really, who can blame me? According to The Social Skinny, with 510 new added comments, 293,000 updated statuses and 136,000 uploaded photos posted every 60 seconds, there should be something new in my feed to keep my mind occupied.

A recent slew of studies and articles got my wheels turning, though. Maybe it’s time to disconnect for a little while.

Several studies have shown a correlation between the amount of Facebook use and satisfaction in life. The more people used Facebook, the less satisfied they were with their lives and the sadder they became. This alone seems like a good enough reason to deactivate my Facebook account and reconnect with my friends in real life. But, there are still a few more good reasons to move from the virtual to the here-and-now.

Facebook is the great distracter. If you have your heart set on not getting something done, open up Facebook. It is a surefire way to procrastinate. While deactivating your Facebook will not remove all temptation to procrastinate, it will remove one of the top things from your list of go-to distracters.

Envy is bad enough when it rears its ugly green head in the real world. Fortunately, you can walk away from whomever you’re envious of. They might still be in the back of your mind, but it isn’t there every time you pick up your phone, turn on your computer, or even now with technology –  turn on your TV. With Facebook, you can constantly obsess that which you envy – following them on Facebook, checking their page every time you log on. You could be consumed by your envy. Deactivating your page would put an end to this destructive behavior.

Along those lines, a breakup or nasty fight is the perfect time to deactivate your account. The constant reminder of the pain of a breakup or anger of a fight isn’t healthy. It also isn’t going to help the conflict end if emotions continue to get stirred up through reading past comments. In addition, do you really want everyone else seeing your dirty laundry? Remove the temptation of responding to angry comments and checking up on exes by deactivating your account, even if only for a short time.

Now for the common sense reason that is at the top of everyone’s list of excuses to deactivate your Facebook account: Jobs!

Employers really do look at prospective and current employees’ Facebook pages. I’ve been in the workforce for almost a decade. I’ve had prospective employers tell me they looked for my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts before my interview. I’ve also known colleagues who have been “let go” because of “conduct unbefitting” being posted on their Facebook page that was linked to the company they worked for. No matter what your security settings, nothing is private on the Internet.

These are all good reasons to deactivate your Facebook page, but not the reason I’m considering it. I’ve noticed that I never really spend time with my Facebook “friends.” We don’t go out together, talk on the phone, or anything else. I feel close to them, but really I’m not.

I’ve realized I miss these people. In a world full of technology, social media, text messaging, emails, and emoticons, I miss hearing these people’s laughter, seeing their facial expressions, feeling their arms around me as we embrace at end of a friendly meal. I miss handwritten letters, feeling their emotions in the paper, and smelling their scent on the envelope. I miss creating memories with these people, not just seeing them on a screen.

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