Isn’t it funny how much we need the internet these days? The thought of going even a day without the internet is unthinkable for me, because I rely on it for everything in my day-to-day life. Life without the internet would be like life without pants or a toothbrush. It’s an essential, a necessity, a non-negotiable requirement.
So when MoneySuperMarket challenged me to take the One Week Broadband Challenge (giving up the internet at home for a week), at first I refused. Not only do I rely on the internet for basic life stuff (checking the weather, looking up recipes, Googling answers to constant random questions from my five year old), but I need it for work. I literally couldn’t do my job without it.
More than that though, I rely on the internet to keep in touch with friends and family. Without the internet I wouldn’t be able to chat to my sister in Australia at the drop of a hat (thanks Whatsapp!) as if she was still just along the coast in Southampton instead of on the other side of the world.
But then the team at MoneySuperMarket asked me if I really need to use everything that I use online all the time. All those apps on my phone, for example. Are they really essential? They got me there. So rather than giving up the entire internet for a week I gave up something I use all the time on my phone. I deleted Facebook.
It felt like a huge deal at the time. As a mum who works from home with limited childcare, I can often only get to the laptop during my toddler’s nap times or in the evening, so I use my phone a lot for work stuff. I check emails on there, I use Pinterest on there, I read blogs and chat to people on Twitter, and post pictures to Instagram. But Facebook – that was the pinnacle of app addiction. I was on it All. The. Time. Life without Facebook on my phone seemed unimaginable.
Here’s what I found out in my week without Facebook:
- I don’t need to be as “in touch” with people as Facebook makes me. Yes it connects you to people, but sometimes these connections with people on Facebook come at the cost of losing connections with people who are standing right in front of you.
- Facebook is a huge time-sucker. Unlike Instagram or Twitter, where you can just have a quick look and then forget about it, I find Facebook draws me in like nothing else. From conversations in closed groups, to links to articles that all my Facebook friends are talking about, to random viral videos, to comments on my own status and other people’s replies to my comments on their statuses… it’s like a big black hole of time-suckiness. It’s so easy to jump onto Facebook on your phone for a “quick look”, but then find you’ve lost five minutes of your life doing something that has added absolutely no value to your day whatsoever.
- When Facebook is out of sight, it’s out of mind. Once I got over the initial FOMO, I found myself really enjoying Facebook’s absence on my phone. I was fully present in life, having conversations without a phone in front of my face all the time. I didn’t find myself thinking about a conversation I’d seen in a blogging group, or a comment someone had made on my Facebook blog page. I sat in the garden and enjoyed watching my toddler play, rather than fiddling on my phone, for example.
- Since deleting Facebook off my phone I’ve only been checking it once or twice a day, on my laptop. I go on there, have a quick look at my feed, reply to comments and then log off. Using it this way forces me to seek out the interesting stuff straight away. It’s made me realise there’s a whole lot of stuff on there that’s really not very interesting.
This last week has really highlighted how much I don’t need Facebook on my phone, so thanks MoneySuperMarket for forcing me to rethink my internet habits. In fact, it’s been such an eye-opener that I’ve decided to keep it off my phone for good.