Periodically I’ll see some of my Facebook friends announce that they are going on a Facebook fast: “Leaving Facebook for x days; text if you need to reach me.” While it sounds like a good idea, I have never officially done my own Facebook fast other than when I was traveling or at summer camp. I think a break from the internet can definitely be a good thing, both for the mind and the body, but I have some mixed thoughts about it as well.
Hearing about someone going on a Facebook fast sounds pretty similar to someone announcing they’re going on a diet. It’s short term and may have some benefits, but it takes discipline, it’s easy to give up on, and it probably won’t affect you much in the long term. I’m not a big fan of diets, but I am a fan of healthy living.
Personally I don’t do internet fasts because I want to be reachable if people need to contact me, especially if they want to schedule something last minute that I wouldn’t see if I were on a fast. A one-time internet fast isn’t likely to accomplish much (for me), but I do like the idea of trying to moderate how much time I spend on the internet on a regular basis. Maybe that means taking a day each week/month and not checking Facebook. More practically for me it means not checking my email constantly throughout the day.
Personal internet moderation is something I still need to work on – I still fall into the trap of sitting in front of my computer screen when I’m bored, or even when I should be doing other things. For some people, Facebook fasts are great. For me personally, I don’t want to go on a diet; I want to improve my lifestyle.