What I learned from a year without Facebook

You may have noticed that I’ve not been around much. That’s because I’ve been very, very busy:

105 sessions and counting

As it turns out, you don’t need to be on the internet in order to have a successful business. We’ve hiring our first employee and look forward to sustained growth. What do I attribute this to? Two things:

  1. Treating a business like a business, where we implement repeatable systems and strategies to deliver a consistent experience for every client.
  2. Not being on social media.

When I first watched Cal Newport’s video on why nobody needs social media, I certainly agreed with everything he said, but did not bring myself to full strip away the social media utilization. There was substantial time on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook that, while it didn’t take away from my work (because no client is going to stand here while I check my feed), it did occupy precious mental energy that could be allocated to churning business ideas into action.

As such, after my wildly successful year without chocolate, I needed a new challenge utilizing the same nuclear option: a year without Facebook. I started January 1st 2018. Quickly I realized that the thing I missed the most was the messenger feature as that’s how I communicated with my colleagues all over the world. Turns out you can just use messenger.com and that solved that.

From then on it was quiet. When you don’t have every voice on the internet sharing their opinion about all sorts of things (yourself included), life scales down. Here were some observations:

  1. After some period of time away from Facebook, all of my social media usage went to zero.
  2. The pace of life slowed considerably. All of a sudden life was like a damn blue bell advertisement. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMCfaJDQ6j8
  3. Internet usage in general went way down. I used it for very specific reasons: directions, restaurants, how-to guides, reviewing research, etc. Screwing around on youtube went way way down.
  4. People whose businesses rely on the internet often decry the internet. It’s effectively an occupational hazard, as so many friends with internet presence that earns them income have to deal with all the shit that rolls downhill. I don’t have to worry about this, thankfully.
  5. Once I was away from Facebook for long enough, the utility of twitter increased. I could use it to quickly get clarification from a researcher as to their methods or ask a question of an author about something they wrote. There is no FOMO.

The only thing I haven’t solved is the event feature of Facebook. Fortunately my wife just tells me when things are or pins it to our shared calendar.

Quitting Facebook has been the most productive thing for my business and my well being. By not wasting my time on social media I’ve been able to focus better on the things I value, to learn new languages, and to actually disconnect every day when I leave work. It’s been a joy to behold and I highly recommend anyone who reads this do the same.

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