Facebook is eating my soul, and I can’t seem to make it stop

I inadvertently got into quite a debate on Twitter the other day when someone shared a link to The Atlantic’s Eulogy for Twitter article. I made an offhand remark that, “I feel like Facebook is a lot closer to death than Twitter.”

Guess I best be ready to support my statements, right? (Eek!)

The people responding to me had very valid points. Facebook is deeply integrated in so many of the other apps and websites we use daily, and new ones pop up every day. EVERYONE is on Facebook, it seems. (Except my dad. Of course, he also still uses a flip phone and drives to the utility companies to pay his bills in person.) Facebook is growing and working with advertisers and developers to become even more powerful and deeply-integrated. What Zuckerberg and his people have built is nothing short of astounding.

While Facebook is great, it’s also… not.

I’m sure we’re only representative of a minuscule segment of Facebook’s billion users, but at a recent gathering of my friends, we all expressed Facebook burnout. The app is like an addictive drug that we want to quit, but can’t seem to stop.

Our consensus was this:

  • It wastes time.
  • It makes you feel less “present” in your daily life.
  • It takes away from work and family time.
  • It can make you generally feel shitty about yourself if you don’t “measure up” to the people on your newsfeed (and having all that stuff right IN YOUR FACE in the newsfeed encourages you to measure your life against others when ordinarily you might not think about it).

Yet none of us uninstall the app or close our accounts. Why? “I might miss something!” (I guess everyone is at least a little bit of a creeper deep down?)

Facebook has certainly done something very, very right. I applaud their business strategy; clearly they’ve won us all over! But I question whether it’s healthy for us? The people who can login once and a while are like social drinkers. They pop in, have a beer or two, have a little fun, then go about their lives. Then there those of us that are binge-drinkers and full blown alcoholics who can’t seem to stop even when it’s for our own good.

I speak purely from a personal standpoint here, but I’m curious if anyone else feels similarly? I can shut off Twitter. I don’t feel compelled to check it on my phone. I rarely tweet from my phone, except to share an occasional photo. I can unplug from Twitter easily. However, I find myself checking Facebook on my iPhone during every moment of idleness. I have had to make a conscious mental effort to stop myself. It’s a reflex. Waiting in line? Facebook. Doctor’s office waiting room? Facebook. Lull in the conversation? Facebook. It actually makes me feel a little ashamed of myself. I know it makes me less present in the moment with friends and family.

So perhaps my Twitter comment more accurately should have been, “I wish Facebook is a lot closer to death than Twitter.”

Then we could all break the cycle.

I can’t and won’t wish the death of something that employs so many people and in a lot of other ways is a great service. It’s really more about self-discipline, and I know that. (But I still kind of wish it would go away…)

Love for Twitter

Again, speaking from personal experience, Twitter has given me a lot more opportunities to interact with people I’d never normally talk with; primarily bloggers or journalists. Sure, I comment on their blogs, but those comments get lost in the ether quite often. I “like” their pages on Facebook, but their posts never seem to bubble-up in my newsfeed (maybe because they don’t pay to promote them?) so I don’t comment on them there. So Twitter has really been my primary means for networking and making friends in the blogoshpere.

(Does anyone even SAY blogosphere anymore? BLECH.)

Additionally, I feel like I’ve had much more positive exchanges on Twitter. I’m sure this has a lot to do with who you follow and connect with, but I’ve been witness to a lot more angry debates (particularly around election time), bullying and trolling on Facebook, and it seems easier to block it all out and ignore it on Twitter. Facebook has an undercurrent of ANGRY! or LOOK AT ME, I’M BETTER THAN YOU! on my newsfeed.

As a web developer, the fact is I just plain can’t QUIT Facebook. I think I’m ready to draw a line and go on a Facebook diet, though. It’s worth having an account and perhaps checking in occasionally, but I think I’ll stick to my digital-happy-places (my blog, Twitter, Instagram) for most of my virtual socializing.

What do you think?

Does Facebook impact your life (negatively or positively)? Is Twitter’s impact the same or different? Do you feel like you need to change your habits using either service? Which social network(s) have been most successful for you networking or promoting your blog/business?

C25K: Day One

Craptastic C25k: Day 1 // Life In Beta

Everyone has to start SOMEWHERE, right? (I totally looked cuter than I FELT.)

I wanted to quit at 20 minutes. But I made myself keep going. So I made it through the 30 minutes, though I walked more than I ran. (Sad face.) Onward and upward, Right?

I have SO far to go. My feet fell SO heavy on the treadmill or the sidewalk now. It’s kind of depressing, really. But it’s a start and whining or being sad about it won’t change a damn thing.

Today also marked another first: I left Myles at the gym’s daycare center! I’ve never left him with anyone but family before. When I picked him up, one of the girls was holding him, but he wasn’t crying or fussing. I was a proud mama! Now there’s no excuse not to go to the gym!

Currently

MEMORABLE MOMENTS • Benny had his first tee ball practice this week. The kids were practicing throwing and catching the ball, and the coach was totally blown away with Ben’s throwing arm! (Little does he know Ben’s been a total natural at playing catch since he was like 3…) Mike went to a job fair and has a few interviews lined up in the coming weeks. (Cross your fingers for us!) Myles is taking being ONE very seriously. He’s in full-on toddler mode now and he’s running and learning and just … wow.

WATCHING • Mike and I just got done binge-watching Game of Thrones so that we’re caught up to the current season. Talk about an intense show! I’m not sure what will be up next for our binge-watching. Suggestions?

READING • I’m listening to the audio book of The Silver Linings Playbook and I have Orange is the New Black on my playlist next. Reading is too difficult with Myles trying to rip books out of my hands these days!

PLAYING • The big boys (Ben and Mike) are currently hooked on Minecraft. We’ve been trying to cut back on video game time (it got to be a bad habit when Ben broke his leg and was really limited on what he could do), but this is their favorite game of the moment when they do play. We also had a great family game of Crazy Eights going the other night and Benny won 3 out of 5 games. Myles got lots of fun new toys for his birthday. He hasn’t shown a preference for anything specific yet. His favorite toy of the moment has been two plastic spoons, actually. (Kids…)

WORKING ON • I’m juggling more projects than I care to quantify right now. Thank goodness for notebooks to write it all down, so I only have to concentrate on a few tasks at a time! I’m doing my best to get a game plan in order, but there’s SO much to do.

WEEKEND PLANS • I actually feel way cooler than I am because for once, I have fun plans this weekend! My friend Melanie invited me to go see her work that’s featured in the Spring Show at the Erie Art Museum. I’m hoping since she has an MFA she can school me a little bit so I can appreciate all the art a bit more than “oh that’s pretty”/”I don’t get it”. (She has her work cut out for her.)

Happy Friday, friends!

Wordless Wednesday

Myles (12 months) // Life In Beta

Early Lessons in Home Remodeling

When you take on a major home renovation project, it’s pretty much a given that things won’t go as planned. (At least that’s what my extensive knowledge gained from watching hours of HGTV has taught me.) Having a cushion in your budget for when you uncover rotted floorboards, leaky pipes or (cringe) asbestos lurking in unexpected places is always a good idea. I went into our project thinking I’d be smart and have a cushion. I’d have my bases covered! I wouldn’t make mistakes!

Right.

Unfortunately, we’ve have already hit stumbling blocks before even getting started.

Home Remodel: Hammer // Life In Beta

The Equity Loan Process

(AKA “The Good News”)

The house has been transferred into my name and it’s just a matter of time till it’s on the books at the courthouse and I’ll have the deed in my hand. With that completed, the bank was able to start processing the home equity loan. If approved, we’ll be able to borrow up to 89.5% of the home’s value.

The process (which seems a bit backward in my mind) goes like this: First, we apply for the loan with an approximated value based on what we think the house is worth. If approved, the bank will appraise the house to make sure it’s worth what we requested. If the appraisal jives, then we set a closing date. They told us the entire process will likely take about 4 to 6 weeks.

Shifting Timelines

(AKA “The Bad News”)

Our contractor, Builder-Ben (he is known as “Builder-Ben” around our house to distinguish him from “our-kid-Ben”) had some bad news for us at the beginning of this week. The project he’s working on currently is going long, and he’s anticipating he won’t be able to start our project until July rather than May/June.

Like anything, there’s upsides and downsides: We won’t be able to move when we were expecting, so we’ll have to stay in our current rental home. We’re comfortable and happy there, but it means TWO homes to maintain for probably the next year. Two lawns to mow; two sets of utility bills to pay. (Yikes!) However, it also means we can take our time sorting out our house, sorting and downsizing (maybe having some garage sales this summer) and generally getting our lives in order BEFORE we have to pack and move. One more year where we’re at will be just fine, I’m sure.

Budget Constraints

(AKA “The REALLY Bad News”)

I considered not writing about this part. (Hell, I considered deleting my previous post about this project and pretending I never said anything about the project at all!) It’s hard to share less-than-perfect moments with the blog-world, putting it all out there for scrutiny. But after thinking it through, I felt it’s much more useful to be candid and honest about this whole process (even the parts that I’m not proud of) so that someone else might benefit from our missteps along the way.

So… there was some major miscommunication that took place as far as our budget. When I tell people this, they wonder how on earth I could have screwed this up so badly. (Hence why I’m embarrassed and hesitant to share), but let me explain:

When we started our project, Mike and I came up with our wishlist of everything we’d like to do with the house. We went pie-in-the-sky and figured we could always pare it down based on what Builder-Ben felt was possible with our budget. When I met with Builder-Ben, I gave him the list and told him an approximate number for our budget. We walked through the house so he could take measurements, check the foundation, look at the supporting walls, etc. I asked a couple times, “do you think we can do this with our budget?” and he gave me a general “sure” sort of answer.

However, we hadn’t gotten to the point of an exact quote yet. Turns out, he was saying “sure” that we could get the partial basement and second floor structure done, but not necessarily the finish-work.

His thinking (which he had indicated to me, but I didn’t fully understand) was to get the OUTSIDE of the house 100% perfect — partial basement and second floor with new siding, new windows, etc. — in the first round of renovation, so that in a year, we can go back to the bank and get a loan for more money based on the new assessed value of the home after adding on double the square footage.

So that means the building process will have two major phases (plus any DIY we can do in-between) and for a year we’ll be living in a semi-unfinished home.

Home Remodel: Junk Drawer // Life In Beta

Next Steps

I’m moving forward with the equity loan process and should hear some more about that next week. Once I have a definite budget, I’m going to have a formal sit down meeting with Builder-Ben and we’re going to map out exactly HOW unfinished the house would remain with the budget constraints we have. For example — I can deal with walking on bare underlayment floors or looking at un-taped/un-mudded drywall, but I can’t live with no plumbing or exposed wiring with having a toddler in the house.

Sure, it might not be pretty for a while, but it’s entirely DO-ABLE. More importantly, it’s an opportunity to get creative, pick up some tools, and DIY our hearts into those walls and floors!

I’m sure some of you are cringing right now. You’re thinking I’m crazy, right?

Thankfully, my childhood was filled with sawdust. (No joke.) I watched my parents tear down walls, put on additions, and well-over double the size of their house over years of renovations.

I watched them learn as they went along. They were never afraid, which had a huge impact on me. That dust and chaos was exciting to me as a kid, and more importantly, it taught me you can do anything if you just TRY. My parents are amazing people, and I feel like growing up watching their adventures was a huge gift.

Now it’s my turn. (And boy am I ever glad they’re still around to look over my shoulder and teach me…!