Monday, February 17, 2014

Day 5: Facebook Made Me Stupid

So I am now on my fifth day without accessing any social media and I am thinking about it less and less. Today was the first day I woke up and didn't immediately reach for my phone; this is a move I make every day. Upon waking I usually check my text messages, play Words With Friends, check Facebook, and then check Twitter. This all before I have my first cup of coffee every morning. Today I woke up and got my coffee, then watched a movie with my kids, then later when my phone buzzed, I checked my text messages. Releasing myself from the ties of social media has made me a little less dependent on my smart phone. But only a little...I am not going to pretend I am ready to throw my phone away or anything like that...I am only five days into my social media detox and no one could be completely reformed in just five short days. But yesterday I actually shut my phone off for an hour and a half while I was doing homework and even though it irked me a little bit, I didn't get the shakes from the withdrawal. I am realizing that a dependence on social media goes hand in hand with a dependence on technology.

I also realized in these last five days that my dependence on Facebook has made me stupid. I don't know most people's birthdays off the top of my head anymore. I rely on Facebook to remind me to wish people a happy birthday and then my brain doesn't have to do any real work to remember information like that. It is one thing to not remember the birthdays of acquaintances but it is entirely another thing to forget birthdays of friends I see regularly. Unacceptable. I knew a friend of mine had a birthday coming up this week and I had to ask around to find out exactly when it was since I am "off the Facebook" for the time being. But now I know her birthday and I wrote it in my day planner so I can remember it going forward without waiting for Facebook to tell me. And I can even wish her a happy birthday in person instead of posting a generic message on her Facebook profile; I am sure an in-person birthday wish will mean more to her anyway.

Also, I rely on Facebook to get most of my news. When celebrities die or go into rehab or if some law has been passed in favor of gay rights, I find out on Facebook. I also read the newspaper but I tend to do more skimming of the paper than reading. I think this is a habit I picked up from using social media...when you are on Facebook or Twitter you scroll through a news feed and there isn't really a lot of time for in depth reading, so you skim. As I was reading the newspaper yesterday I noticed I was doing just that, so I stopped. And I began reading articles in full instead of just headlines and captions.

I feel like I am regenerating brain cells by staying off of social media for a period of time. Facebook made me stupid, so now I am trying to get back some of my intelligence.