thoughts on my facebook hiatus...

I took a break from Facebook back in August with one goal: to cut the addiction.

A little back story: When Tommy was in Iraq last year I got a little... ridiculous on twitter. As in, I probably tweeted 30+ times a day, no joke. It was as though twitter was my only friend and the responses I would get from followers were the only thing bringing me adult interaction throughout the day. That sounds really awful... but truth be told: working from home can get lonely. And when there's no one but you coming and going from your home for over 9 months... that's a pretty limited social life. :)

It got embarrassing, really. I was saying too much (duh)... sharing too much info about my day-to-day life.

So I made changes. I cleared my twitter history... I changed my username. I wanted to make it more professional. I thought if I changed the name to reflect my business, it would help hold me accountable for the silly personal things I wanted to tweet about. And it worked! I am still having a hard time remembering to tweet things and checking in over there. I love Twitter and think it is an awesome tool... so hopefully I will start remembering it exists and use it more than I have in the last year or so. Just... not as much as I was while Tommy was gone. ;)

So... that brings me to my recent Facebook hiatus. When I started spending my days this summer browsing facebook for hours instead of doing actual productive work on my computer... I recognized that I was filling the hole of my social media addiction with FB. I was straight up wasting time - no doubt about it. In addition, almost every time I would close the site, I would find myself feeling negative. I mean... all types of negativity: annoyance, frustration, sadness, jealousy, conviction for wasting time... just yucky stuff. And if you think about it... don't you feel that way a lot of times, too?

So I took a break. At first I set up my profile to be permanently deleted. But you have to wait 14 days for that so I had some time to really think about it. A LOT of my friends on FB are friends through photography: either prospective clients or photographers wanting to connect. I knew if I deleted my account and wanted to return some day, I'd have to start over with the friends. Not to mention... I didn't want to seem all wishy washy re-requesting friendships on Facebook. So I logged in and changed my deletion request to a deactivation request.

I held it there for about a month. It was so refreshing. I started reading blogs again - topics and people that actually teach and inspire me. I left my phone in the car when I was meeting people for coffee or dinner dates. I left it in the back bedroom when Tommy came home from work. I was able to let go of the regular distraction. Again, it was refreshing.

However... I also missed out on a few networking events. I couldn't see pictures of a birthday party I missed. I didn't know that so-and-so had their baby or that people who didn't have my email address were trying to get in touch with me. And while it's a little bit sad that we are so dependent on FB these days that our lives are pretty much lived through it... it's just how it is. I was missing out on those things. So I came back.

I am happy to report that so far, the addiction has been under control. :) I don't really use FB on my phone anymore and I usually only check in on days when I have long hours at the computer. That way I can still stay up to date on things with faraway friends and still receive invitations and information about events and groups I want to be a part of.

So far... so good. The hiatus was successful and I am glad I did it. Will I do it again? Probably. But maybe not so intentionally in the future. I'm hoping I'll have some other distractions in my life that will give me an entire internet hiatus by default. ;)

Liz Cook

Liz Cook is a wedding, birth, and motherhood photographer based in Central Virginia. Her intuition and creative perspective allow her to connect both professionally and personally with her subjects, and thus, her portfolio is saturated with authentic emotion. Whether she's sharing her story with fellow entrepreneurs or enjoying quality time with her husband and two daughters, Liz is both present and passionate about capturing and celebrating life. Her work has been featured by O "Oprah" Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Glitter Guide, Essence Magazine, domino, Rue Magazine, among others.