99 Days Without…Facebook?

Are you addicted? Am I? I am not entirely sure. I am a 1-2 times a day Facebook user. I usually check in the morning when I post my blog, and then at night before bed. I will be completely honest that other than posting my blog and a random quote or idea here or there, that I am more of a voyeuristic Facebook user. I like to see photos of friends, connect with folks from my childhood (some… not all), and generally keep up with friends. I am not one to care about whether you made it to the bathroom that day or all the endless rants and crap about your day. I like to find information that adds to my life rather than bores me to death. Pictures help. They help a lot. So if you are posting photos I am generally going to look at them.

So when I came across this Christian Science Monitor article regarding a campaign to not use Facebook for 99 days, I was quasi interested. Could I do it? Probably not. Would it be good for me to disconnect? Most definitely. Do I have the strength in me to do it? Maybe. I am not sure. I like staying connected in my own non-consumed way. So then you might say, “So why would it be hard for you to disengage for 99 days?” I like knowing what is happening. I like seeing the newborn baby pictures of a good friend that lives on the other side of the world. I like being inspired. Yes, there is a lot of junk I want to block and a lot of stuff I couldn’t give a shit about, but could I disconnect for three months? I am not sure.

Is it sad that I feel that way? Maybe. Or maybe I am a slight introvert and a slight extrovert and Facebook allows me to decide HOW I want to engage. How often and in what ways. The initiative is called, “99 Days of Freedom.” I do like the sound of that. I am truly curious about the question in the article: “How do you feel when you don’t use Facebook?” I think there is only one way to tell. Would you like to join me and see, or are you just as much addicted that it will be hard to not log in? The only way I can imagine trying is to delete your account, and remove all history of your online Facebook data. Otherwise, how would you stop yourself from logging in?

It looks like at the time of the article, 17,000 people had signed up for the 99 Days… That is a good amount. Are you going to join them?

 

Does that make your sperm hurt?

Last week I showed Charlie’s crazy giggle video to a few co-workers, and one of my colleagues said: “Do your ovaries hurt?” I laughed. A good joke for someone who is utterly addicted to her niece and someone thinking about starting a family. I have always loved children so it is not anything new to me that I would be addicted to babies. I worked in the day care on my college campus during all four years, and I worked specifically in the baby room, where they were allowed to start coming at 6 weeks. Babies were my favorite. No talking back. Ah…

A friend posted a great video on Facebook over the weekend it cracked me up. Since I do not have kids, at the moment I have absolutely NO interest in “Frozen.” What did peek my interest was this dad and his engagement with the song and his interest in getting his daughter to sing along. It made my day. After watching it Sunday morning (me at my desk and Chris in the other part of the office at his), I said to him: “Did that make your sperm hurt?” It goes both ways, right? I continued to pry and ask if he could see himself driving the car and trying (and egging) his daughter or son on to sing along, and he said: “Definitely.” Ah, I love that man.

 

Our lives are not vacuums

Sometimes we live in little bubbles. We get in our cars in the morning (or maybe on a bike, or via public transit) and go off to work. Some days we highly engage with others, and some days we may never leave our desk, but often the routine is the same. We spend our days in a fairly similar fashion, and then turn around and come home, partake in our evening activities, go to bed and turn around and do it all over again the next day. We all have our own form of a bubble, just some of us have larger or smaller bubbles than others.

Yet, we have the ability to pop those bubbles, to expand and grow our horizons, learn new things, or never take the same route home each day. Our lives are weaved together each moment of every day. Our choices build the story of what others think of us, good or bad. If we are continuously dependable others will begin to depend on us. If we do not show up as continuously dependable then trust begins to erode. We always have a choice to how we show up, and how we tell our own stories.

I wrote a blog post last year titled: “Brand YOU” and discuss how we each create our own brands, and decide how we market ourselves. I recently finished reading Austin Kleon’s newest book: “Show Your Work” and well I am always a sucker for inspiration around telling a story, specifically when it relates to a personal story. This idea specifically resonates with me:

“Your work doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Whether you realize it or not, you’re already telling a story about your work. Every email you send, every text, every conversation, every blog comment, every tweet, every photo, every video–they’re all bits and pieces of a multimedia narrative you’re constantly constructing. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.” page 95

Pop your bubble, remember that every interaction you have is a line in your story, and how you tell your story (via in person, Instagram, Facebook, etc) is part of the Brand you are weaving. Now with the Internet that weave is permanent and hard to unravel, so put some thought around the mark you want to make.

WDWDWF (What Did We Do Without Facebook)

During these weeks that fly by with such crazy speed, I find it harder and harder to keep up with life, emotions, and the state of the world. I have not watched the news in months. I stay connected with morsels of information from Chris, whatever pops up in my Facebook feed, and the few moments I am at my desk at work with glances to see what is happening on CNN on the television in our area. Not too connected you might say?

Well, Facebook always tells me when a famous person dies, with friend’s status updates stating: “RIP, ________.” Or if there has been a plane crash, weather disaster, or incident in the world, my Facebook feed might say: “You are in my thoughts, ________.” I even know what job, home, or city my friends would be suited for based on the quiz they just took and shared. Or what level of Candy Crush they just completed. And, worst of all, whatever product I just searched for on Google, will now show up in my Facebook feed as a “Suggested Post.” So the news just follows me, I rarely have to go find it.

I almost forgot, I started following the No Poo group on Facebook, and now every other post is about someone who has failed or succeeded at removing toxic shampoos and conditioners from their personal care routine. Don’t get me wrong I have learned tons of new insights, but it is a lot of information and crazy amounts of people chattering on my Facebook feed. How to dye hair and stay “no poo”, how to get rid of frizzy hair and not use toxic product, how to start out on low poo, or mothers that have never washed their kid’s hair. I can only imagine what other “groups” discuss and at what frequency. It is like Dear Abby on steroids on every topic imaginable.

At the end of the day, some of it is worthless, some of it is so-so news, and some of it is just hilarious. WDWDWF? (What Did We Do Without Facebook)? We sent more texts, emails, and picked up the phone and talked to each other. Go figure. Before that we wrote letters (yes, I miss the lost art of letter writing). These days the only items I get in the mail are junk and bills. An occasional letter, yes, but that is the exception.

In any case, I am grateful that it is Friday as I look forward to a few extra hours of sleep tomorrow, time to catch up on emails, clean my house, run some errands and eventually curl up with a good book. Not too much to ask right? Oh, and I will probably take a few moments to peruse the mindless chatter on Facebook. Either it will be a waste of my time, or I will laugh, share, and like what you have bestowed on my feed.

Missed moments

By the mere fact that you are reading this blog it means you are on a smartphone, an iPad, or on your computer. A device that lets you connect to the Internet and go to a webpage. I love all my blog readers and followers, but for today I am going to tell you, read this blog today, watch the video below, and then turn it off for the day, or better yet, pick a day of the week to put your phone away, or a day a month, or if that might be hard for you, start by putting your phone down for an hour a day, and maybe gradually increase that to more and more time.

Some of you might have already seen this video, or it has been displayed on your Facebook or Twitter feed. Regardless I encourage you to watch it again and think about how many opportunities have you lost because you were too busy reading emails, scanning your Facebook feed, sending a tweet, or posting to your Pinterest board? I am just as much to blame. Yesterday I was at a conference and found myself in and out of a distracted mind between work emails, the presentations, and feeling completely out of it. I took ideas away from the day, but what if I had just turned my phone off? How many times are you in meetings and you see the same behavior (yourself or others) throughout the day?

I have written before about Sliding Doors moments, and I wonder if our phone is often that train that means that because our head is down, or our focus is off, that we miss out on important eye contact, fun moments, and maybe worse of all I wonder if our distraction actually makes others not trust us. Do we ever lead people to think that our phone is more important than they are to us? Yikes. There are times when Chris and I will go out to a nice restaurant and have somehow over time built a pact that we are there to be together – aka – no phones.

Watch this poetic way of getting us to realize how many moments we miss each day.