OPINION: Could you go two weeks without Facebook?

I HAVE regularly deactivated my Facebook account for as long as I can remember.

Sometimes for a week, sometimes for six months at a time.

Out of all the social media available, I would guess Facebook is the biggest time waster for most online users.

However it is an extremely valuable tool for so many professions, and as a journalist in the digital age, it is vital.

Despite this, I am constantly searching to find the perfect balance between using it for a purpose and using it as a distraction.

One way I keep in check is by doing regular social detoxes, particularly when going on holidays.

I've just got back from a holiday where I switched off for two weeks, and it felt great.

Many people have told me that they simply don't understand why I need to do that.

In fact, I've had someone tell me I 'betrayed' them for temporarily deactivating. (Um, what?? I'm still extremely reachable through a phone.)

Though some say they can manage to just check their accounts one or twice a day, (I'm convinced most are lying) I love to turn off completely.

Being able to think straight is important to me, and I can't lie to myself about how many times I've randomly checked my phone when I'm meant to be cleaning my room.

And being honest, being connected can hurt the self-esteem.

It's just a reminder I'm not a Hollywood A-lister (though I don't even like acting) and that I didn't get into that reality show that I never applied for. 

After many experiments, I think I have finally found a balance in life of when I do have active social media accounts.

Here are my tips for finding balance in the digital world:

  • Deactivate your Facebook account during holidays. There is now the option to keep chat on so you can still talk to your friends.
  • On one of my browsers at home, I have a Plugin installed that literally gets rid of the newsfeed on the home page. This way I can still go on the pages I need, like the Fraser Coast Chronicle page, without getting distracted by trivial things.
  • Focus on really utilising one or two social media networks, rather than trying to master them all.  Being on top of all the networks is just exhausting.  
  • For those using social media for business purposes, tools such as Hootsuite are great to keep things in one place. You can also synchronise accounts. For example, you can make your Facebook and Instagram posts automatically show on your Twitter account.
  • If you're doing work or homework on a computer, keep your phone away. And if you don't need the internet for what you're doing, turn it off.
  • Don't download the Facebook App on your phone, but do download Messenger.
  • If there's a friend on your friend's list that you know you'll never talk to/will never see again/will never be interested in their personal life/they will not help in your professional life, just delete them. Or if you feel bad about that, then press unfollow.
  • Refrain from posting things which serve no purpose. That's just a waste of time.
  • And if your job involves sitting at a computer most of the time, fit some exercise into your day in which you don't use a phone.

Have your say!

How long can you go without social media?

Have you unplugged from the digital world before?

Do you have any other tips for finding balance in the digital age?

Share with us your experiences.

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