Follow-Up: The Antisocial Network

Facebook like button by Sean MacEntee, on Flickr I broke up with Facebook yesterday. Officially. No guilt, no remorse. Just satisfaction. If you missed my breakup post, you might find my reasoning interesting. All this talk about social networks, though, has me thinking about how we use them. Social by Choice, if you recall.

Last night via Twitter, someone related their hesitation at leaving Facebook despite the frustration that it presents to her. I encouraged her to do what I did—take a one-month Facebook hiatus. She took the plunge, and I'm confident that come April 1 she'll have a whole new perspective on how she interacts with the social network.

I encourage everyone to do the same. Sign out, remove all email notifications, remove any phone apps, then sit back and observe. Look at behavioral changes. What are you doing instead of spending time on Facebook? What do you miss most about it? What don't you miss? How else are you communicating with your people? Then, what substitutes out there might replace the things you miss most about Facebook. When you sign back on 30 days later, purge the "friends" that aren't actually friends?

At minimum, you will reduce your online diet. At maximum, you'll have an eye-opening experience and kick the Facebook bucket like me. But it can only be healthy. Just remember, it took me nearly a year after my own hiatus to finally take the plunge. And don't get me wrong: Facebook may be great for you. It may be the only way you have to keep in touch with people long-distance. The key is being able to say with certainty that Facebook doesn't monopolize your life.

Oh, by the way: This morning, I was trying to remember a friend's birthday, and kicked myself a little because I knew I could have easily signed on to Facebook to find out. But now I'll just have to send him a text message, fess up, make a joke about it, and write it down. And I'm okay with that! It gives me an excuse to chat with him and own up to my human nature. It's healthy.