Samara O'Shea

Forty Days and Forty Nights Without Facebook

I’m giving up Facebook for Lent. I wanted to do this last year, but it was right before Modern Love Rejects went live and I needed Facebook to promote it. This year, I have another project waiting in the wings and I hesitate, once again, to give up FB. But you’re not supposed to give up something for Lent when it’s convenient, rather when it’s inconvenient. Therefore, I’m sticking to it this time.

My infatuation with FB has faded. I no longer check it every day like I once did. I can easily go two or three days without it. However, around day four I will start to get antsy. I will wonder what so and so is up to. Did he post photos from Thailand yet? Something might remind me of someone, and I’ll want to look up that person. Has an old friend gotten in touch? Has a new friend tried to “friend” me? I will wonder these things and therein lies the challenge of giving up the ultimate social network.

Here’s what I am looking forward to giving up: reading things about people that I don’t care to read, critical comparisons, and subconscious judging. There is something about social networks that bring our very human bad habits front and center. There was an article in The Times about this last week called Don’t Tell Me, I Don’t Want to Know.

One of the article’s more disturbing facts:

“A study published last month in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking found that the more time people spent on Facebook, the happier they perceived their friends to be and the sadder they felt as a consequence.”

Please don’t let yourself think this way. Looking at people on FB is like reading an article about your favorite actor–you are only getting a small, airbrushed portion of the story. In any case, I hope my ability to give up FB for forty days will enable me to take it even less seriously when I return.