I started unfollowing most of my Facebook friends after reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport, which I wrote about it here.
I experimented with how it will affect my daily life and my relationship with my friends and family.
After almost a year and nearly a thousand friends unfollowed, here’s what happened:
1. The feeling of Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) immediately disappeared.
The first thing I immediately realized upon unfollowing several Facebook friends is how it relates to the fear of missing out or FOMO.
I realized that you would not fall for the feeling of missing out if you don’t know that there are events to miss out on.
Birthdays, weddings, promotions, celebrations, and other social events are a common cause of FOMO. Still, if you don’t see these visual cues from social media, such as Facebook, that you are missing out on something, your mental health will be in a better state.
Sometimes I just like to return to a time when we don’t know every detail of other people’s lives which causes many to feel inadequate. If ever you feel FOMO, you can try experimenting on temporarily removing your social media or unfollowing your Facebook friends.
2. Important news from important people will still reach you.
Facebook is a great way to get updated, but there are other ways for the more important news to get to you, even while away from social media.
It isn’t easy to keep track of many things in our society, and we don’t have enough energy to care about everything. But if we are following too many people and pages, we will be bombarded by a vast amount of information that can either be important or irrelevant.
In recent months, I thought I would miss out on important events and news regarding my friends and families. However, I realized that essential information from the people we care about has its way of reaching us. They can contact us through personal messages, group chats, texts, calls, Viber, and other communications apps.
In the same way, we can reciprocate by updating them via text or a PM when some exciting news happens.
On the other hand, national and international news is easy to spot. This kind of information will come up in Twitter’s trending topics or on top of reliable news sites, so you’ll still be in the loop.
3. A selected number of people and pages who share valuable content is enough.
According to anthropologist Robin Dunbar, an individual can only maintain a stable relationship of up to 150 people, while several groups from the US propose the number for stable relationships is 290.
Looking at those numbers, it becomes apparent that we won’t have a stable relationship with the thousands of our Facebook friends.
That is one of the reasons why, even though I have more than 1,000 Facebook Friends, I only follow a tiny portion of it. I also make sure that these people share valuable content, and yes, this can sometimes include memes to relieve stress.
4. I spent less time scrolling mindlessly on social media.
Since the number of people and pages that I follow are fewer, my newsfeed also decreased in length. That way, only the most relevant and important information is shown. I also have a 30-minute time limit on Facebook and other social media sites to maximize it.
An important tip is to have an application that will limit your screen time. You can also place your apps in inconvenient locations with the hope of restricting your usage.
5. I can always check my friends’ profiles if I want to know what they’re up to.
There are times when I suddenly miss a friend or a family member, so it’s a good thing that even though I don’t follow them, I can still visit their profiles to see what they’re up to, or I can just send a quick message, saying hello.
With more and more people limiting their social media usage, personal communication is still the best way to connect.
However, If you’re looking for professional connections, LinkedIn can be a better alternative than Facebook.
6. My mental health is in a much better state.
We are bombarded with information and various news that makes us anxious. Then we see friends looking like they’re having the best time of their lives that makes us feel envious.
So, by limiting social media exposure, I became more selective with what I read and where I react. There are just so many things that we can use our energy on, aside from absorbing the toxins of social media.
Don’t get me wrong. It is essential to know what is happening to our society. However, most of the fight doesn’t happen in cyberspace, so we still need to be selective in placing our energy.
Aside from social media, there are so many things that we can do if we just allocate our energy to something that will be beneficial to our circle of influence.
Social media has its pros and cons, and if we are not careful, it will easily suck the life out of us, and the pandemic made is much harder to avoid.
We need relationships and inspiration, but most importantly, we need connections — genuine connections.
In the time when we are slowly losing actual physical connections, and many are struggling with keeping their mental health stable, let us remember to reach out to our friends and families and extend our love.
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