fb_icon_325x325I did it. I went without Facebook on my phone for a month, and it was incredibly freeing.

In June, I came to a realization. I was a slave to the notifications on my phone. Every time I heard the sounds or saw the notifications glowing red on one of my apps, I had to check it. I was compulsive.

I decided I need to break myself of this, or at least become less addicted to checking what those on my Friends list had posted. So, for the month of July, I vowed to run an experiment with myself and delete the Facebook app from my phone.

This stemmed from a speaker I heard. He talked about connection versus presence . . . being connected to social media versus being present in the moment with actual humans.

I was much more connected to social media than present in the moment.

My absence from Facebook wasn’t complete, though.

I kept the Facebook Messenger app installed. I view that as a communication tool, one some family members and prospective dj clients (yes, I am also a dj on the weekends; I provide music for weddings and birthday parties and other events) use to reach me almost exclusively.

I also be kept the Facebook Pages Manager app since I am an administrator for multiple pages for various organizations.

Also, the app was on my iPad, and I checked in from time to time when I was on my computer.

The point was to simply eliminate the easy access I had because I am on my phone more than any other device.

This experiment was beyond rewarding. I found myself more connected with my wife and other family and friends. Instead of constantly having my phone in my hand, I had conversations with those around me.

Sure, I checked Facebook on my iPad from time to time, but it was only sporadically.

Even when I did, though, I didn’t spend as much time scrolling as I had on my phone. Instead, I cleared the notifications, looked at a few friends’ postings, and then I got out of the app.

I was free.

This came in particularly useful during my wife and I’s recent trip to St. Louis to celebrate our one-year anniversary. Instead of constantly being on my phone, I enjoyed time with her as we watched a St. Louis Cardinals game, toured the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, walked through the St. Louis Zoo (it was free and a spectacular zoo), and went to the top of the Gateway Arch.

I still checked in on Twitter and Instagram, my other go-to social media apps, but I didn’t spend an inordinate amount of time there.

For Instagram, that’s easy. I don’t follow too many people, so it doesn’t take long before I see the same posts I saw the last time I was in the app.

For Twitter, I follow a lot of people, so I become disinterested quickly unless something exciting is happening in the world and Twitter is buzzing about it.

I equate this experiment to removing a shackle. I performed a digitial detox, and I feel healthier than I did a couple months ago.

I don’t feel anxiety tightening around my chest because I haven’t checked social media lately. It even gave me time, and almost a sense of permission, to take part in one of my favorite passtimes — reading. I read two books and started a third in this time.

So, how will I move forward? Facebook is staying off my phone. I will continue what I did during the month of July for the conceivable future, and if Twitter or Instagram become a burden, I might just drop them too.

I’m suggesting anyone else should do this, but if you are like me and feel Facebook, or any social media for that matter, is an opperssive presence in your life, give a digital detox a try.

At the very least, no longer being a slave to social media will be a wonderful result, and, if you’re lucky, you will be more connected to those around you too.

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