As it turns out, giving up Facebook and Twitter for Lent has been really hard. Getting over the initial itchy reload finger – the addiction thing that I was trying to combat with the whole exercise – wasn’t that hard. But after that was over, the pain set in. While I knew that I enjoyed using Facebook and Twitter, I hadn’t really realized that they were serving a useful function in my life. Twitter in particular had become my main social outlet during the work day; without it, I feel completely isolated and anti-social. Twitter had also become a primary means for tracking local and campus news; without it, I’ve totally lost track of what is happening in my community. I miss Facebook somewhat less, as many of my Facebook connections are people that slipped out of my life for a decade or more prior to the advent of Facebook. Not interacting with them for 6 weeks has not, generally, been a major hinderance to my life. But it is a source of updates on some people that I want to track a bit more closely than once a decade, who don’t use Twitter. For instance, I don’t manage to talk to my sister quite as often as I would like, but her occasional FB posts provide little glimpses into her life. So, I do miss that, too.
So, what will change? The main thing is that I’m going to try to be less obsessed with reading everything in my timeline on both sites. I’ll probably return to my old basic schedule of checking Twitter, but I’m going to try to accept that fact that I’ll miss some things in my feed and that will be okay. I had already stopped checking Facebook during the day, but I tended to check it in both the morning and the evening. I’m going to try to drop the morning check and, again, embrace the fact that I’ll miss some things in my timeline. Even if I don’t see everything in my timeline on both sites, I think that they will still serve their purposes. I may create “must read” groups on both sites for people from whom I never want to miss an update.
I board a plane for Hong Kong (en route to Singapore) in Chicago at around noon on Saturday. (At one time, this was the longest commercial airline route in operation. It isn’t any more; it’s number 20 at 15 hours 25 minutes.) As far as I know, my flight will not have internet. The Hong Kong Airport, though, has free WiFi, and I’m scheduled to have a 3 hour layover. So, the current plan is to rejoin the social networking world from the Hong Kong Airport on Sunday afternoon, local time, which will be the wee hours on Sunday morning back in the Eastern US. See you then.
It will be a bit strange to rejoin my social networks on the back side of the clock. At this time of year, Singapore is 12 hours ahead of the Eastern US.