Giving Up Facebook For Lent

Last month I wrote about how I gave up snacking at work.  I know my weaknesses and I finally accepted that occasional snacking leads to regular snacking.  So, I haven’t snacked since the beginning of the year.

Giving Up Facebook

I grew up Catholic, and one tradition that I’ve always had is to give up something for Lent.  The Lenten season runs between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, a period of 46 days.  People are encouraged to give something up that’s important or difficult.  The idea is to give ourselves a small reminder of what Jesus gave up during his 40 days in the desert.

In the past I’ve given up a variety of things, including:

  • Chocolate
  • Ice Cream
  • Candy
  • All Sweets
  • Alcohol.

This year, I decided to take on a different approach.  It was time to take on the idea of giving up Facebook.

Why Facebook?

There are many things to love about Facebook.  These include:

  • The ability to connect with friends.
  • Getting news and other information real time.
  • Keeping in touch with acquaintances, people you don’t necessarily want to interact with daily, but like keeping tabs on.
  • Having lots of things to laugh at.

So why would I want to give it up?  Well, there some things I don’t like.

  • I didn’t like how often I would be checking it.  I’d usually have a tab open at all times with Facebook when on a computer.  On a phone, each time I picked it up, one of the first things I did was thumb to the app.
  • The tone of Facebook has changed.  Ever since the election, Facebook just has not been fun for me.  I get that people aren’t happy, but for some, their posts suggest that they think about this 24×7.  Maybe they do?
  • It was a new challenge.  As you can see from the list of things I’ve given up in the past, most involved junk food.  Since I’m largely working on that anyway as an ongoing thing, I felt I needed a new habit.

How Did It Go?

Before giving it up, I was a little nervous.  Since I had it open all the time, I was afraid I would instantly miss it and end up going another direction.

Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

On the day before Lent, I went onto my laptop, phone and tablet, and signed out of Facebook.  I also removed the icon from my phone and from my browser shortcuts.

I found by not having it right there as an option to open, it helped right away.

Quite honestly, once I started going without Facebook, it was pretty easy.  I browsed to websites (you know, the old-fashioned way) for news.  I e-mailed people or even *gasp* called them.  I downloaded a couple of games to play.  Maybe not the best alternative, but at least I was keeping my brain busy, right?   Generally, I found that I was probably on my phone less times and for less minutes of the day.

I did miss a few things:

  • I missed seeing what my friends were up to.
  • I missed posting a bit while we were on our recent trip to Florida.
  • I missed posting the occasional post that I’d put up when something witty came to mind. Though let’s face it, I’m probably not as witty as I think I am.

Will I Stay Away?

For now, with Lent having ended, I’m not going to lie.  I’m back on Facebook.

However, I think this has shown me that I should and can cut back on Facebook.  Maybe I’ll try to avoid putting the shortcuts back where they are front and center.  I think that’d be a good start.

All in all, it was definitely a cleansing time in many ways.  Technology has advanced so much over the past couple of decades.  So many things have come into our lives as new things that we quickly adapt and make part of our lives.  Browsing the Internet.  E-mail.  Blogging.  Chat.  Videos.  Social media.

Giving up Facebook is a reminder that these things, and the things that come along, are tools.  Facebook and other social platforms have not just given us new ways to communicate, but in many ways they’ve taken over.  That’s not a good thing.

Maybe being a little more old school is a good thing, you know?

Readers, do you give up anything for Lent?  If so, what?  Also, what do you think about Facebook and other like items?  If asked to give them up, how long could you go?  Drop me your thoughts in the comments below.  And, thanks for reading!

9 thoughts on “Giving Up Facebook For Lent”

  1. I didn’t give up anything this year – though I often do. (We’ve been focused on my mom’s move to a retirement home, and other things have fallen through the cracks.) Giving up something that’s addictive is a great idea for lent! For me, Facebook isn’t addictive. Some unhealthy foods, however . . .

  2. I took Facebook off my phone a couple months ago, when I realized how much it was distracting me from other things. It was too easy to just scroll through multiple times a day, and like you, I was frustrated with the continued politics and negativity. Now, I log on with my computer once a day (if that) and I’ve saved myself SO much time. I don’t miss it one bit!

  3. I find Facebook to be the most “dangerous” distraction of all. I often used to find myself scrolling and scrolling, only to realize… I’ve just wasted an hour! Or two. Or five!

    However, I really don’t want to give it up, so what I did was, I turned off all notifications (that took a while..) and now I try to browse it only in the morning, while I sip coffee or have breakfast, and a couple of times during the day, and that’s it.

    I don’t think I could ever give up Facebook, it’s my means of keeping in touch with my family and friends back home. However, I can definitely remind myself I survived without social media growing up, so I should be able to control the time I spend on these websites instead of letting them control me.

    • That sounds like exactly how I’m trying to treat it. I don’t have it on my main page of icons and I have kept all notifications off. It’s only been a few days since I ‘went back on’ but if I could keep it up, I’d be very happy with this level of usage.

  4. LOL! I must be one of the politico-trolls that drove you away. Sorry!! <3 My apologies. But…yes, I do think about it almost 24-7. We are seeing one of the greatest disasters that has afflicted our country in my (lengthy!) generation and quite possibly since the Civil War. And no, I'm not gonna stop bellyaching about it.

    That said: FB is a major time suck. IMHO the only way you can control that is to TURN IT OFF. I never have FB loaded unless I'm going online specifically to respond to friends' posts and messages or to bellyache about the Trump fiascos. Also routed the annoying emails from FB, "notifying" me of every hiccup that happens there, into a special "mailbox" on MacMail, one that empties regularly into "Trash." Thus I have to make a special effort to track down responses, and if I don't get to it promptly, it goes away.

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