What I Learned from Deactivating Facebook for One Year

What I Learned from Deactivating Facebook for One Year

14 months ago, I deactivated my Facebook account and completely deleted my professional page as well. I also deleted some other social media accounts and refused to use others. You can read about why here: Why I deactivated Facebook and how you can too, if you want to.

Now that over a year has past, I was recently inspired to rebrand my website and start creating more, but with even more intention and authenticity – newer content that can continue to serve others while simultaneously awakening my own spirit by trying new things and exuding more of my personality by way of peppering my humor into my writings and videos. So Sprout and Blossom evolved into Mary Blossoms (like cherry blossoms, get it?). ::thank you. thank you::

Copy of Mary Blossoms 2

With that said, I am so happy that I did take a 14-month hiatus from Facebook, but my decision to reactivate my account and create a new Mary Blossoms page, was primarily so I can continue to stay current in my field (I teach digital media courses) and so I can reconnect in that special superficial way (snide remarks are fun) to the people who I enjoy having in my circle. Facebook is also a great sort of rolodex for contacts and quick, local info. You know, if I want to find out the best place to get a smoothie, I know I can get 50 opinions in 50 seconds. How incredibly helpful for combating decision fatigue.

Facebook has its benefits, and it certainly has its drawbacks. But now I know I will certainly be more mindful with how I use the platform and keep in mind its utility.

So without any further ado, here it is…

WHAT I LEARNED FROM DEACTIVATING FACEBOOK FOR ONE YEAR:

  1. No one will remember your birthday.
    I have to say, it was probably the saddest birthday of my adult life. (I’m kidding.) Some people remembered my birthday, but that’s only because it happens to fall on the anniversary date of a national tragedy. Even so, my birthday was certainly a lot quieter. It was very sweet of the close family and friends who remembered, despite my Facebook absence. But a small part of me missed getting 150 notifications, half of them from people who I don’t know. Nothing says birthday bliss like reading the same generic messages from strangers over and over again. Am I right?
  2. You will not remember anyone’s birthday.
    I realized how bad I actually am at recalling important dates. My friend Ilene was like Rain Man. You could tell her any date in the past and she could actually tell you the day of the week it fell on. Me, not so much. I’m lucky if I can remember what day of the week it is. And confession: Every new year is a horror for me with the year changing. For a good month and a half, I desperately expend an absurd amount of focus and energy trying to remember to write down the correct year each day. “199 …dammit!” “2016 …son of a!” Part of me thinks this could be the reason some people contract the flu in the winter. It’s too taxing.
  3. Politics and Religion: Destroying friendships since 1999
    I had the good fortune of deactivating Facebook during a heated political election, and I’m glad I did. I ended up finding out through the grapevine that friendships were disintegrating left and right and people were unnecessarily cruel to one another. Because we all know that posting overly opinionated material online converts your opposition the majority of the time. ::cough::
  4. Facebook can be a tool or a time-suck. Pick your poison.
    There is an abundance of inaccurate information that gets circulated and regurgitated online. Some of the most ridiculous, poorly researched content I have ever read was on that platform, and I am dumber for it. And then there are the time-wasters. It’s easy to get sucked into the matrix. By the way, which Saved by the Bell character are you?
  5. Most people are drunk on narcissism.
    There’s really not too much I need to say here except that when it comes to,… wait. Hold on a sec. Can you take twenty or so pictures of me posing next to this tree? The lighting is good. Make sure to get the flowers in the background though. This will make a great post. I love photos as much as I love validation.
  6. Life goes on.
    Facebook is more convenient for people to use than cultivating and nurturing a few meaningful relationships in real life. Bear with me. Since we all know 500+ people now and since anything we could ever want to know about is on Godfather Google, our brains / attention spans have only been conditioned to handle so much. It really is information overload. With that said, when I chose to get off of Facebook, I made an effort to try to reach out to close friends more. It wasn’t always reciprocated, but the experience made me realize just how much things can be superficial. I also learned what is important to me, and what is not. Cute cat photos are not important to me. But puppy photos are.

In the end, this was a useful 14-month social experiment for me. Facebook is just a tool. A tool can be used in a multitude of ways. It’s when we let a tool control our lives that it becomes destructive. I just found/find the site mostly annoying and time-wasting, but the fault was also in how I was using it. For me now, I have unsubscribed and unfollowed just about every page and lots of individuals who I really didn’t know too. I have simplified my newsfeed and am much more mindful and intentional with the relationships in my life but also the types of content I want to take in.

The beauty of it, is you can take a break from social media as an experiment any time or you can simply clean up your account a bit and unfollow and simplify, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just tired of it. Sometimes it helps to take a step back from things to view them with fresh eyes.

And yes, I will share this article on my newly revived Facebook page. Because what would any good piece of writing be unless it’s saturated in irony.

Catch you on the flip side,
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Ethical Gift Giving

Ethical Gift Giving

This week, I rewatched the documentary film Living on One Dollar, which illustrates the lives of people who live in extreme poverty. The film also documents the day-to-day experiences of farmers, day laborers, and artisans in Guatemala. It is the type of film that really puts things into perspective for those of us who have plenty.

As we enter the holiday season, I want to share the importance of considering our purchases in every way, shape, and form – and moreover, spread awareness about ethically made and fair trade gifts. There may be fair trade stores such as 10,000 Villages in your local area that you can look into, but those are unfortunately rare. For me, one of my most favorite ethical companies is a customized, handcrafted jewelry subscription box called Worldly Box. I have talked about them once in the past on my YouTube channel; they offer a beautiful gift option that your loved ones will get so much out of, and the best part is, the items support talented global artisans who are paid a fair wage. These are not items that can be found at any mall or by making impulse purchases at big box retailers.

Below, I have shared photos of what was in my box this month. What is neat about this is, the box is curated based on your style specifications, and the items make beautiful gifts individually, or you can purchase a gift subscription for your friends and family members so they will receive a surprise in the mail! And each piece is really special, because they will have the opportunity to learn about the person who made it.

I spoke with the founder, Veronica, and she shared a 20% off coupon code with me that is good thru Dec 25th, but orders have to be placed by Dec 4th, 2016, if you want your gifts to be received by Christmas. The discount makes it even more affordable than it already is.

Holiday Discount Code:
“SANTASCOMING” 20% off all gifts – You can order your gifts here

How beautiful are these pieces of art? I cannot wait to wear the pink earrings for New Year’s and the gorgeous blue pouch will be a change purse for me. I just adore it. I have very little by way of jewelry, accessories, and clothes, because I like to live simply, so I truly appreciate every piece I have and wear it with joy in my heart, knowing that they are made by hand.

No matter what gifts you decide on making or gifting this holiday season, I hope you choose options that are special and where the people who made them are paid fairly for their talents, so that they can also enjoy time with their families and experience a better quality of life. We all deserve that.

And if you watch the film Living on One Dollar, please comment and let me know your thoughts on the film. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

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Thank you for reading and sharing!

Mary Signature