Instead of a going on a juice cleanse, this year one of my New Year's Resolutions was to quit Facebook for January. Here's a little something about my motivations to begin with and what I noticed two weeks in...

First of all, I am not anti-social media or anti-Facebook. I like Facebook, really. Since I joined some 8 years ago, I have been an active member using it to its full potential, especially during University: groups, events, societies, holidays, you name it - just about absolutely everything was organised using that blue and white webpage. . I have found employment, founded societies, campaigned for education, and kept in touch with some awesome people via my profile. Everyone I knew had it, and I could not imagine having a social life without it.

I thought when I graduated I would have used it a lot less, but it turned out its handiness qually extended to settling into a new life abroad... Without Facebook, I would not have met 3 girls I now consider to be some of my best friends. Through the extensive list of Au pair groups and pages, I spent my first two months in Madrid meeting up with strangers on a weekly basis. When I felt (metaphorically) trapped in the house of my first host family, it was within these groups that I found the support and advice that gave me the courage to leave. Pubcrawls, vegetarian dinners, and language exchanges could all be found just a click away.

As much as I utilised all of its features for beneficial purposes, however, I certainly was not innocent of delving into the shady business that one could get up to using the search bar. I am one nosey parker, and just like maaaaaaany people I know, I just loved to Facebook stalk. Being able to find out what that random dude I went to primary school with was up to - without him ever finding out - was bliss. I could notoriously decipher private details about a person's life just by checking a few likes and photos.

My cousin and I would often joke that the day Facebook released who viewed your profile was the day we'd have to flee the country. I didn't feel bad about it because I was very aware that everyone was doing it, and therefore never considered it a problem.

But then, more and more often, I began meeting people who had deleted their profiles for good. They seemed absolutely fine, and the idea of leaving the site became an intriguing concept. I still wondered how I could keep in touch with people I'd met, especially whilst travelling. For some bizarre reason, asking for a person's email or number just seemed too personal compared to adding one another on Facebook - even though Facebook could reveal so much more! Facebook had become the norm, and although it was likely that I´d never say another word to the person, the possibility of being able to do so was a nice gesture at least.

Then one day but shady habit got the better of me: I'd gotten upset by something I had stumbled across and had a wake up call. What the heck was I doing? A study by the Happy Research Institute found that leaving the site made people feel happier, less worried, and less stressed. The results were hard to argue with, so I took it upon myself to follow suit and try it out for myself.

The study had only tracked results over the course of a week, but I decided to go for the whole first month of the new year. Before I deactivated I posted a status to let friends and family know, and gave them the opportunity to get my other contact details to keep in touch. Out of over 400 "friends", only one person bothered to ask. Just one. I was miffed. For a moment I started running through people's names in my head and thinking about what I might have done to deserve to be forgotten about. Some hours later I got a grip and faced up to the harsh reality that I do not have over 400 friends, and those that mattered already had other ways to contact me. So on I went, and on the 4th January I deactivated my profile, and it felt good.

Moments later I would type into my browser out of habit. I stared at Instagram a little bit more,  but the biggest thing I noticed immediately was that I was bored. Checking my email and reading the news didn´t take up any time at all. Then, after a day or so, I started to do this peculiar thing where instead of simply thinking about doing something...

I got up and....

Did it.

Keep tuned to find out how my month SIN Facebook developed in Part II...

- MW.

Published by Megan Wright