Before you get started on reading and implementing what's mentioned in this blog, I want you to know a couple of things:
1. This blog is NOT for
a. People who blame social media for everything wrong in their life. (It is a distracting vehicle, but its steering is always in your hand!)
b. People looking for instructions to deactivate / delete their Facebook account
2. You should read this blog BECAUSE
a. You realize the effect of Facebook addiction on yourself and seriously want to do something about it.
b. You are worried / annoyed / upset of their friend's / partner's constant habit of checking Facebook and want to help them out (subject to other person's own approval, of course!) .
First of all, you should not deactivate your Facebook account. Why I say so?
Consider below scenario:
You and say, person X, met in the first class of your Engineering degree and you have been best friends all through 4 years. Now your graduation has ended and both are headed to different companies and in different cities. When you have been close with someone for so long, it becomes hard to separate; you become emotionally attached, the bond is too strong to simply cut it off. But such is life!
You have to move away, and you have no control over it. In this scenario, would you be able to stay away from person X completely for the rest of your life?
Obviously, no! Facebook really helps when you need to stay in touch with your relatives and friends staying far away.
You can share your life with friends, can RSVP to events, get updates from your favorite TV / movie / sports star. You can interact in your online groups without the need to meet everyone physically.
There are other good uses of Facebook that I have observed. For example, you can also receive critical updates on days when your city's transportation system breaks down or there are other types of public service disruptions in your city. My friend Roma Kalani provides regular updates in case of Mumbai local train disruptions (mostly due to rains) on her Facebook page. Benefits of Facebook on one side it also sucks you in deep, especially if you don't know how to use it.
If you have never thought about a structured way of using social media, you will get lost in the world of likes / comments / shares / selfies so bad, that you will start to lose your focus in your daily life.
Get rid of your Facebook addiction
Facebook is a place where people share happy memories, and when one after the other these memories get plastered in front of your eyes on a daily basis, no matter how good the people felt while clicking them, a small bit of it all will create a dent in your mind.
|Facebook addiction can drain you emotionally|
So it is important to get in control of your addiction, and there are other effective solutions besides deleting / deactivating your Facebook account.
Let me show you how I approached my Facebook addiction problem:
Step 1: Realizing that comments are more important than likes
About a year and a half ago, I began feeling sucked into the virtual life inside the Facebook app. Reality didn't matter to me, and I was already losing focus. My mood would swing from happy to cheerful to sad within moments and my work-life balance started to get affected because of it.
|Too much of Facebook can take you far away from realities of your life|
As I drilled down further, I found the main cause of distraction was notifications in the Facebook app. Initially when I joined the platform, I never got good number of likes. When I started getting them, I realized how irrelevant they are.
Sure, I like someone's photo I admire the person for a moment, but pretty soon another post catches my attention and once I close the app, all those people are gone out of my head. That's how Facebook likes work; very rarely you will find a post worthy enough to comment on.
So the first step of my realization was likes are not important, comments are :)
Step 2: Uninstalling the Facebook app from your phone
Facebook's default notification settings are very aggressive. If you comment "congrats" on someone's post about promotion or marriage, you will keep receiving notifications about everyone else commenting THE EXACT SAME THING on that photo, over and over again.
Worst part is - YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THESE PEOPLE! You have to actually go and "Unfollow" the post to make it stop! It's what I call as "action overhead".
Oh, and don't get me started on those pesky Candy Crush requests!
Finally, fed up of my phone beeping every second minute, I took the big step of uninstalling the Facebook app from my phone. This turned to be the key step in controlling my Facebook addiction. I will soon explain why.
Step 3: Train your mind to keep off Facebook
Now, in case you may not know, Facebook has both - a mobile web version as well as a touch-device specific version of its website. So whenever you feel the urge to check Facebook, you can log on to - m.facebook.com or touch.facebook.com to access the virtual world; both of them have almost the same level of functionality as the app. In fact, you may not even notice the difference in the early days.
Since you are adding more steps (open browser -> open new tab -> type address -> press "Go") for your brain to follow to access the website, you are delaying usually quick gratification source; you ARE now training your brain to consider Facebook a slow gratification source.
Moreover, since your access time for Facebook is now dependent on your network speeds, you are tightening the leash on your mind whenever you move into a slow network area.
Step 4: Unfollow overly emotional and junk pages
Unfollowing overtly-emotional pages / accounts can also go on a long way. Some pages post overly emotional messages, they stop making any sense after a while; they're a figment of someone's imagination, which is exaggerated to a level you may never relate to.
Besides, a lot of pages / people share jokes for a certain target audience. If you feel you cannot identify with the kind of content the person / page has been sharing, UNFOLLOW THEM RIGHT NOW. It does nothing but negatively stimulates your mind and further pushes you deep into an emotionally draining virtual hole!
My rule of thumb is that if the pages share something that makes sense and / or could be useful to me in the long run, I'll keep them, but the day a page crosses my emotional threshold, I won't think twice before clicking the unlike button! To prevent pages from appearing in your feed by way of your friends' like, you can also "hide" the page; just tap the top-right arrow and select "Hide all" option.
It might also help you in checking the content and usefulness of a page BEFORE liking the page; prevention is better than cure, after all! :)
So, there you go, this was my 4-step plan to get hold of your Facebook addiction.
If you follow these steps sincerely, you will soon gain control of your Facebook surfing habit and will stop getting sucked into it. You will soon begin to check Facebook (website) only in your free time and will (hopefully) one day realize that Facebook isn't even that important!
Personally speaking, I began to feel much more focused, less irritated, more grounded and aware of my own reality and I stopped living the life of other people (or in some cases, even envying them for having it).
How do you feel about Facebook addiction? Have you tried tackling the social media demon? If so, do share it below in the comments and tell us how it worked out for you.