About a month into the summer, I deleted Facebook from my phone. I KNOW!!!! I’d like to say I’m not sure what came over me, that it was crazy impulsive, that I regretted it instantly, that I almost died without it, that I simply had to have it back or I wouldn’t have a single friend….except that wasn’t exactly how it went down.
Working in social media doesn’t make it easy to limit exposure to social network apps on your phone. In fact, I can give you a very convincing list as to why professionally, it makes all the sense in the world for me to be connected 24/7 and especially on social networks via my smartphone. The ability to interact real time with our GO MOM!® community and engage via social media from anywhere is just considered part of the deal. But I realized it that for me, it was time to say enough.
I started our GO MOM!® Facebook page so we could share updates on our latest posts, events we are attending, items of general interest, and offer a place to engage for those who prefer Facebook when it comes to interacting with their favorite brands. Being able to respond to our community real time matters and there is nothing more rewarding than direct interaction with the Moms who love GO MOM!® We wouldn’t exist without you and we could not love being your preferred resource more ~ its an honor that never fades!
However with the introduction of advertising and the ever changing algorithms that Facebook uses to dictate what users see in their daily feeds, its increasingly difficult to find active engagement without paying to promote posts, something small business can’t easily afford to do. Because we know busy Moms with kids from elementary to college are on Facebook, we continue to be present there always striving to be visible while sharing our tips for how to Outsmart the Chaos.
When I joined Facebook I decided early on that I would limit my friends to just that ~ in real life friends and of course family. That way I could share truly personal updates and photos with those we love ~ something I don’t do in my professional role in social media. As a Mom influencer, I am surrounded by colleagues who share every detail, and picture, about their lives throughout their social networks. It’s that life story that is why they are successful, how they get paid. But for me, blogging for GO MOM!® was never about actually featuring, or leveraging, my family. It was always about sharing ideas and solutions for living a generally well organized life.
Over the years I’ve kept my Facebook Friends list small but because of how much I enjoy the group of people I’ve collected there, who they are and what they mean to me, I found that I was on my phone on Facebook…A….LOT. And I didn’t even realize it. I found myself constantly checking for and commenting on updates. I loved being in touch with everyone as if we were chatting away on the phone like the old days ~ when everyone used to actually talk instead of text ~ and I loved being able to “talk” to ALL the people, ALL the time.
Except I realized, with great dismay quite honestly, that I was missing the most important people of all ~ those who were right in front of me. And this wasn’t just about being present for family vs. friends or strangers. It was the realization that I had this running conversation going all the time in my mind. And none of it was in person.
And then there was that antsy feeling ~ do you know what I mean? That twitchy thing that finds you constantly in motion, looking for something to do, or something to distract you from what is right in front of me. I felt like I had lost my ability to just be in the moment. To be able to wait for a swim team workout to finish. To be able to go to the pool and not check for updates in the midst of what is truly family time even if my child only acknowledges me when its time to hit the snack bar on break. To simply be idle without doing anything at all. Just…be.
I’ve always prided myself on not over sharing my family professionally, on being able to focus, and most especially on being able to tune out the noise. But without my even realizing it, the noise had taken over. Now lets be clear ~ I still LOVE my Facebook Friends ~ you are the best I swear! But here’s the thing that made it clear that NOT having you with me on my phone was the best decision I could make.
When I took Facebook off my phone, I told our kids why ~ that I realized I was very distracted by it and that wasn’t good for anyone. I also let them know I’d love for them to follow my lead, that we ALL need to work on living in the moment and truly connecting with people in person wherever we are. I asked our high school and college aged sons to consider removing their most distracting social network app from their phones as well. No, it hasn’t happened yet but its an active conversation now and I’ll take that for a great starting point.
When we take our annual beach trip, we have a family rule about no online activity while on the beach. This is a tall order for all the obvious reasons, from teens just chattering with friends via text to my husband almost always having something from work that pops up (a post about boundaries all on it’s own!) and we always stay in touch if someone goes back to the beach house while others are still out enjoying the sun.
Because I love taking pictures, I always have my phone handy beachside to capture what catches my eye. I’m not well enough trained to know how to navigate my DSLR among the elements and my Samsung 5S takes phenomenally clear photos so I’m good with that. And because I also love video, my love of smartphones is only ever more focused on the camera and video quality above all else. Over the years, the kids would fuss about my taking pictures and occasionally they’d ask if I was going to share them. What I had not realized is that they had come to expect that many of the pictures I was taking would end up being shared on Facebook. Which translated to them that I was taking pictures to share, not to enjoy, and they didn’t love being part of that process.
I had no idea.
And I was so ashamed!
This time they knew I wouldn’t be posting those pictures. And the best thing EVER happened! They not only didn’t care if I took them, they asked to see them, asked for copies for their own use, and simply enjoyed them every day. It was awesome! Because now they understood I wasn’t taking a picture to post an update, but instead taking one because I love them, because they are beautiful, because they are funny, because they are awesome, simply because. That exhale of WHY the photo was taken was the game changer.
In our excitement to share all the beauty, we so easily, even subconsciously can forget to soak it in and capture it just for ourselves. I wasn’t on vacation with my Facebook Friends lovely as they might be, they didn’t need to see all those pictures of my kids anyway. Those are our memories and while I couldn’t help but share a daily beach picture (its SO gorgeous there!) and a few family shots, that was more than enough.
And that’s why I deleted Facebook from my phone ~ so that I don’t have to fight to focus on who I am with and enjoying right where I am. Of course I still have Facebook on my laptop and I make it point to pop on at specific times of the day. But I also find that I am much more focused with my time online and I hope that makes my shares and comments more meaningful too.
Just today my brother shared the video below. It illustrates this conversation flawlessly, telling you everything I want you to know about living a less distracted life. Its everything I want my KIDS to know about why they need to be different among their generation and choose to live unplugged. And its everything I want to make sure I do and DON’T do too. After six years of being pretty active online, its time to draw that line again and get back to where I started. Not only for myself but for my family too.
Posted by Deseret News on Thursday, August 13, 2015
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