10 Reasons You Gotta Stop Obsessing Over Facebook

by Alli Polin on July 29, 2015

facebook obsession needs a facebook hiatus

I’m on a Facebook hiatus, but, then again, Facebook has never been my go-to social networking site. I’m more of a Twitter fan, but that may be because I resisted Facebook like the plague and missed the “oh-my-gosh-it’s-the-best-ever” boat. When the movie, The Social Network, was released at the end of 2010, I went to see it in the theater, but I would bet big money I was one of the few in the audience without a Facebook account.

By summer 2011, I took the plunge. I’d often like and comment on friend’s posts from high school, college, and work with whom I’d lost touch. Not that we were ever really friends in real life, but I still saw their children, the divorces, and their holidays. In fact, I probably get more scoop on their lives through Facebook than if we caught up over coffee; not that if we saw each other in real life we’d even recognize each other.

[On an aside, I still don’t understand the love letters and anniversary messages to people who are not on Facebook. “Just wanted to say how much I love you, so and so. You are the light of my life but oh yeah, you’ll never see this because you’re not on Facebook, so it’s not really for you.” I’d love to hear your insights on this in the comments.]

I’ve never been a big poster on Facebook, more of a lurker giving occasional glimpses into my life and work. Of course, then I started a business page, because that what I was supposed to do, right? Yes, organic reach was an immediate issue (another game for which I was super late) and one I found frustrating from the get-go. Hard to engage on a business page if hardly anyone sees your posts. Kind of like the proverbial tree falling in the forest.

Two months ago, I decided to go on a Facebook hiatus, not because of my business page or the silly posts in my stream, but because it had become my go-to source for a brain break. Actually, more like a billion brain breaks a day.

On the posting front, it also started to feel like work instead of fun. Come on, engaging with people should be a joy, not a must-do. The decision to go on hiatus was also easier because I was about to head out on vacation and had a lot of work to finish before I left. Moreover, I didn’t want to schedule posts and not engage. Seemed to defeat the purpose of posting. 

I’m sure that there are a lot of marketers out there who will gasp when they read this post. Back off of Facebook? What?! If you’re in that camp, don’t sweat it. Honestly, I’m not suggesting that you give it up for good, just consider if you could benefit from a pause away from your Facebook obsession.

10 Reasons You Need a Facebook Hiatus – Stop the Madness! 

If you see yourself here, do yourself a favor, take a break. 

1) It’s automatic.

Every time you take a two-second break from your work, your fingers magically go to your browser and start to type in faceb…

2) You are spending hours on Facebook instead of spending time with the people in your life.

Do you and your loved ones play dueling laptops on social networks at night more often than you play footsie?

3) You are constantly searching for new cat pics to post. 

Maybe not cats, but you’re always looking for a new quote, article or picture because if you stop posting, people will forget about you. (not really)

4) It’s work- no fun at all, not even a little bit.

You’ve created a marketing engine that’s working for you, but the thrill is gone.  You don’t look forward to engaging, you look forward to racking up the likes and feeding the social media and SEO gods. 

5) Sometimes when the likes come pouring in, it feels like the same thing as “I like you, I value you, you are a human being of worth.”

I liked your post, your kids are cute at the swimming pool. It does not mean I think you are a better human being because you posted. I like you for many other reasons that I’m happy to tell you offline.

6) You are starting to feel like a loser or maybe a very competitive loser.

Your friends from HS haven’t gained a pound, and it looks like most people you know are globetrotters while you’re stuck home with a bag of Doritos. Lost in comparison hell, you feel the urge to get posting and show off, I mean share, your fabuloso life. (Guess what? Most of the time their lives look a heck of a lot like yours, they’re just not putting it on Facebook.)

7) Stalker is not your middle name, and you want to keep it that way. 

People you haven’t seen since elementary school going through all kinds of messiness makes you feel like a  rubbernecker looking at a car accident. Look away. 

8) You’re sure you could never walk away from Facebook. 

Your business, your engagement, your connections are all on there. You NEED Facebook. Like now. In fact, forget vacation without a strong wi-fi connection.

9) The only thing you don’t post is when you go to the bathroom. Other than that, it’s all on there.

The world can somehow feels less lonely when you tell someone what you’re doing. I get it. Still, no need to separate out meaning from minutiae, huh?

10) You can’t go to sleep at night without checking in on Facebook. 

It just makes you feel better to know how all of your friends ended their day. Who needs their spouse? You just tell them to roll over. 

Personally, I’m staying on a Facebook hiatus until it’s no longer my go-to distraction and my fingers no longer do the walking. 

Top 5 Things I’ve Learned from My Facebook Hiatus:

1) There are some people I miss because that was the primary way we connected. Like the inspiring Sharon Reed and Hoda Maloof

2) Most businesses in my town do not have websites, but they do have Facebook pages. If I want to know what’s happening with the business, I need to go on Facebook.

3) Maybe I was doing it wrong, but the lack of action on my business page hasn’t hurt my business. (Most of my real engagement was coming from my personal page.)

4) I like the ease of using Facebook to log into bazillions of other sites. If I close my account, that goes away too. 

5) I have plenty of other things to do besides scroll through my Facebook feed at a million miles an hour.

Break the Frame Challenge:

Walking away from something that has become an obsession can enable you to take a whole new view.

A client of mine was obsessed with potato chips. Seriously! For one week, she abstained and kept a journal of when she craved them most. At the end of the week she ate them again, but understood her triggers and was able to notice them instead of letting them control her; She tapped her personal power of choice instead of default behaviors.

Ready to get a real-deal picture of how you’re engaging on Facebook? Is it a time filler or a must-do business builder? 

Go on a Facebook Hiatus.

Not for two months like I have, but for two days.

Be mindful of how often you’re tempted to tap on the app or put it in your browser. 

What does it tell you? 

Notice what drives you to return… is it relationships, conversation, marketing or something else. A little boredom maybe? Habit?

The next time you log on, do it mindfully.

Set some parameters (like a block of time)

Break the habit and make a conscious choice.

PS. If I haven’t responded to your message or post in a while, please don’t take it personally. 

I’d love to hear from you. Are you addicted to Facebook? Could you benefit from a Facebook Hiatus?

Could you use some support to make a change? Let’s talk. I can help.

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

John Thurlbeck July 29, 2015 at 6:24 am

Great post and challenge Alli! I don’t think I obsess about Facebook, as I’m not constantly checking it. However, it does interrupt me from time to time and your post has made me reflect about that.

So I’m giving it a miss for the next two days and seeing how that works!

Thanks for the stimulus to think about this … and have a brilliant week ahead!

Kind regards

John

PS Just a heads up that I’m heading off to my summer vacation on Monday coming for five weeks. So my interaction over social media will be limited and irregular.

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 6:29 am

First of all, have an amazing vacation!! I’m glad to hear that your posting will be sporadic – it means you’re out there relaxing and having fun.

Would love to hear how a mini Facebook hiatus works for you and what, if anything, you learn from it.

Enjoy your time off!

Best,

Alli

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Jon Mertz July 29, 2015 at 7:01 am

Alli,

Important points! We need to connect in real conversations rather than just post. Google+ is my hiatus… at some point, spending less on social opens up more opportunity where you are.

Focus and relationships. These should be our non-platform activities….

Jon

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 7:48 am

I’ve done one of those before too. It’s all about making choices with our time. Social platforms are great but so are the people who are sitting in the room with us and likely want our attention.

I’m all for narrowing down channels to create more meaningful connection in the time I do spend online.

Thanks for sharing, Jon!

~ Alli

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Chery Gegelman July 29, 2015 at 7:28 am

Alli – I love your challenge to evaluate what drives us to do things and to be mindful about our choices.

Yes – I am addicted to Facebook, and no I’m not ready to let it go! Although I did break from it for much of our vacation. 🙂 Like you – it’s not about business there, as much as it is personal, and for that reason it is a very precious tool for staying connected to family and friends on the other side of the world.

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 7:46 am

I agree with you – staying connected is one of the greatest challenges I have as an expat. It really does come down to using it mindfully instead of mindlessly. Our time is precious too.

Thanks for adding these important points!

Hope we can catch up once you settle back in via G+ Hangout (still do love tech for connection!)

~ Alli

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Joy Guthrie July 29, 2015 at 8:31 am

I really like Facebook. I enjoy seeing the pictures and the goings on of my kids, grandkids & family members who live in other places than I do. I like being able to visit with friends who can’t visit in person. I like being able to talk to friends who are going through chemo without potentially compromising their health (getting a cold when you’re on chemo can be life threatening). I love the almost instantaneous way it allows check ins during horrific weather so you know everyone is ok, even when their phone service is down.

Recently, I had a washer that tried to turn my home into a swimming pool. I didn’t lose anything important. FB gave me a quick space to get info on products & services that could help us quickly. It was enormously helpful.

I’m most likely to be off of FB during elections, unless I’m looking for a few minutes of entertainment. 🙂

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 8:41 am

All beautiful and important reasons!

One of the few times of the day I was intentionally logging on was in my late evening because that’s when you post in the morning.

I was spending too much time scrolling and watching random videos when I needed to be focused and working. The reason I’ll return once I get my bad habit under control is the people.

Many thanks to you for sharing your experience and thoughts, Joy!

~ Alli

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Terri Klass July 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

Excellent post, Alli! I too have to reflect on my social media channels and re-evaluate where to spend my time more productively.

What I tend to do is choose places like Facebook for more of the personal catching up with friends and family far away. I haven’t quite mastered how to use my business Facebook page to the fullest. But the other social media channels still can get the best of me.

I am going to think about where I could pull back. You now have inspired me to at least give it a try and gain some wisdom from the experience.

Hope you had a wonderful vacation and trip back home! 🙂

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 8:20 pm

It’s interesting, when I first joined Facebook, I was very careful to keep it just friends and family. Since then my Facebook has grown to people I’ve met on other platforms (who share really interesting things!) but it’s about my discipline vs distraction.

The reason I’ll go back is for the people I miss by living a billion miles away.

Pulling back has opened a door to conscious choice and reflection. I’m not drywalling over it, never to be opened again.

I did have a good vacation…. only bummed I didn’t get to connect with you in person again!

xo

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Tom Rhodes July 29, 2015 at 10:56 am

Intersting post Alli. I have times when I look alot and times I put it away for a while. I like to keep in touch with family and share great leadership content more than anything about myself. But I am not a social giant in any sense. I would much rather have a dinner with great conversation face to face.

Again a real life honest post. Keep up the great work.

Tom

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 8:23 pm

Thanks for your comment, Tom. It’s interesting to see how you weave in and out and when you return, it’s there for you. I think that’s important to remember. A hiatus does not mean you’re banned or forgotten. It’s always a joy when I see you pop up on my social channels when you have the time. Truly appreciate your spirit.

For some reason, I’m also shy on Facebook in my personal feed. I keep things to myself and mostly catch up on the lives of others which is totally okay as long as it doesn’t go on and on and I get work done too!

Thanks, Tom!

~ Alli

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Blair Glaser July 29, 2015 at 12:31 pm

GUILTY AS CHARGED. I have nothing to say but well done! Even though I do go on a “social media cleanse” a coupla times a year, when I go back on, I mindlessly scroll FB or follow up with engagement there countless times a day — so it’s a break but not a change. Your post was inspiring and confronting . Maybe I need to take your course!

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Alli Polin July 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm

A cleanse! Yes! Break from bad habits and a return to mindfulness.

I’ll be back but hope to keep some discipline around it. We’ll see how long that lasts before my next hiatus.

Thanks, Blair!

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Ingrid July 29, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Great post Alli! I’m still not convinced of the efficacy of Facebook as a marketing tool for business. I find I get confused when I browse most business Facebook pages. And the number of likes does not necessarily add up to more sales.

I do have a personal Facebook page that I use largely for staying touch with my friends and relatives all over the world. It has enabled me to reconnect with my cousins in Sweden and Estonia, with whom I lost touch because I am a writer, and they are not. No doubt you would appreciate that when you live at this end of the world, something like Facebook can be invaluable!

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Alli Polin July 30, 2015 at 6:01 am

Totally with you on how fantastic Facebook is for keeping up with friends and family around the globe. I can’t exactly meet people for lunch (without 35+ hours travel time.)

Like you, it’s not my go-to for business development. I’m glad I have a presence, but that’s about it. I know many others who swear by it though. When we moved here, I was surprised how many businesses are on FB only. Not sure if it’s the same in Hobart.

Thanks for adding your insights to the conversation!

~ Alli

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Corina Ramos July 30, 2015 at 11:05 pm

Hi Alli,

I’m probably one of the few who does not like Facebook. It took me a long time to get a personal profile and I only did it for my blog to get a FB page. My fam can’t understand how I have a profile but not actively on it.

I think it has to do with #1, I’m on social media for my blog that I don’t want to get on for personal reasons and #2, I’m a private person so it’s hard to share when I’m at the store or feeling blah… 🙂

Yes for me it’s not hard to be off Facebook…Twitter is another thing ;).

Great post Alli. Passing this on!

Cori

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Alex Sukhoy July 31, 2015 at 12:18 am

Thank you for this accurate reflection on the addiction and withdrawal from Facebook, especially from a business owner perspective. Like you I also took a break – mid April – and don’t see myself being active again for a while. I do check my emails on it once a week – a 10 minute commitment to make sure I reply to any clients that use FB as their first point of contact. But beyond that? Don’t miss it at all. Just wish I could interact with my friends & family, who span the globe, in person & more frequently.

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Karin Hurt July 31, 2015 at 8:34 am

Ahhh, the power of moderation. My husband has been on a similar hiatus, which works okay since I’m paying attention for him. But the truth is some people count on facebook as news distribution. “Did you know Joe had a heart attack?” “Did you hear about your sister’s big win?” “Did you know your nephew is going to the National championships?”

Of course we can survive without facebook. And I agree with all your points. For anyone considering this, you may also want to let your family know so they don’t assume you got the word 😉

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Brenda Lee July 31, 2015 at 9:33 am

Great article, Alli!

I’m not addicted, but my husband is. He’s all up into everyone else’s business on there. Me? I use it for blog promotion and networking to find animals forever homes. I do have a tight blog community on there as well and is where the majority of my traffic comes from. However, too many people use it to air their dirty laundry. That’s one thing I dislike.

I’m glad to hear you talking about “taking a break” from Facebook. Passing this along as many need to!

Happy Friday!

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Sharon Reed August 7, 2015 at 10:15 am

Alli – Thanks for the kind mention & the great post! I have missed your presence for sure!

It’s interesting…I closed my ‘author’ page on FB last year and haven’t looked back for some of the reasons you mentioned. 🙂

That said, in a world of 24/7 streaming and an inbox that is perpetually full, my personal Facebook account, admittedly, is my default when it comes to online engagement. It’s an easy way to catch up with folks, view my fav author posts within a single online environment, and share some of my own insights and goings on, too.

Growing up around the world and working on virtual projects with friends and teammates scattered around the world (including you), FB has also allowed me to stay connected to a degree that might not be possible otherwise (though if they were all here, it’s unlikely I’d be connecting with them online).

From a work perspective, I’ve found Twitter to be an invaluable tool for learning and connecting with others — many of whom have become friends and business associates, though promoting/sharing my own work en masse, however necessary, will never feel comfortable to me, and the level of engagement required to sustain these connections is, quite frankly, exhausting at times.

Regardless of how and where we engage and connect online, I agree whole-heartedly that taking a break and setting boundaries is a must and gives us space and time to breathe, think, relax, create, and most importantly, connect in person with the people we love in our lives every day.

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De Harris August 19, 2015 at 9:07 am

Hi Ali – It’s great to see this in print. My own hiatus began just from pure frustration from all the noise. I too, experienced posting as more work than fun. It’s been refreshing to just pull away and focus on areas (email marketing, LinkedIn, and one on one sessions) that provide a greater ROI. Thanks for sharing such valuable insights. Your timing is impeccable!

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Alli Polin August 21, 2015 at 6:05 am

Thanks, De! Glad to know I’m not alone. Your experience sounds remarkably similar to mine – the fun was gone. Without play, it was tremendous effort and I think was what was coming through too.

Also appreciate that the pullback has enabled you to focus on areas that matter to your business. Now that’s time well spent!

Best,

Alli

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Toby Nwazor August 21, 2015 at 12:32 am

Hmm. I never knew I was ‘addicted’ to facebook. Okay I wouldn’t call it an addiction, but most of the points you made are true for me. The funniest part is that I got scared just thinking of a personal hiatus. I will give it a shot though, just to prove to myself that I am not ‘addicted’ yet

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Alli Polin August 21, 2015 at 6:00 am

Toby –

Thanks for your comment! Too funny that you got scared thinking about a hiatus. Telling 🙂

Best,

Alli

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Vikas Khandekar March 29, 2016 at 5:33 am

Excellent post, Alli! Agree with it completely.
Over indulgence in Social Media is a wasteful activity. It is another form of a couch potato constantly watching TV, lying in a sofa (or a couch really), munching potato chips.
One needs to get in the real world, talk to the real people, and do the real things – painting, hiking, playing music, running, jogging, cycling, swimming… Face Book is all Fake Book! 😀
BTW, I want all the youngsters and teenagers whom I know, to desist from falling prey to this addiction. Can I have your permission to quote from your post, giving you the credit, of course?

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Alli Polin March 29, 2016 at 7:07 am

Hello, Vikas!

Thanks so much for your comment. I do agree that people only show you what they want to see on FB. What’s really happening in their lives? Who knows.

You’re welcome to quote with attribution.

Many thanks!

~ alli

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