Many of my friends and family know that I have been off Facebook since October 1. I have had several people ask me how this is going. I am never quite sure how to answer that question. Many thoughts come into my mind when I am asked about this severing of ties between myself and the site that governs “social-networking.” This post is an attempt to put all those thoughts in some sort of order.
I decided to stay off of Facebook for the entire two-month sabbatical. I had many reasons for doing this, but at the top of the list was this feeling that I should pull away from the distraction that it provided. I thought it would be harder than it turned out to be. In fact, I can hardly believe that two months have already passed!
For anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time from Facebook, you know that after a few days, they will send you an email to let you know what messages, friend requests, and notifications you are missing (“Wow! People really need me!”). This continues for about a month. Along with this are non-stop notifications regarding the fact that you were “tagged” in such-and-such’s post (“I wonder what they said about me”) or picture (“Good grief! Am I not given some say in whether or not I want my picture on Facebook?) or that someone else made a random comment about something that doesn’t even relate to you. (“File that under: Stuff I Didn’t Really Care to Know”) How nice of Facebook. They seem to really care about me knowing all the goings-on of all my “friends.”
There are a few things I have learned about myself during this time. I am skilled at trading one distraction for another. Yes, Facebook may have been off for two months, but I needed something to fill that time. Enter online word games. I was able to convince myself that no harm was being done here. I was still keeping my commitment to stay away from Facebook, and hey, wasn’t my vocabulary expanding with the word games? However, it was just another distraction. This is not to say that Facebook and word games are evil. I need to work on my moderation in both.
I also learned that Facebook can make you feel as if you have to check in often. You don’t want to miss that reply to some witty comment you made. You don’t want to miss what people have to say about the cute picture you posted. Information changes constantly, and you must keep up with it! Or so I was convinced to believe. During the two months I have been away from Facebook, life has gone on without me. I haven’t suffered from a lack of online social-networking. I have actually gained much in the trade off.
I went back and forth over the last two months over whether or not to close my account entirely or just take my friends list down to those I truly had a desire to hear from. I decided to make a few usage changes that should save my sanity and keep me from investing God’s time in useless endeavors. Yes, there will be an extreme paring down of the so-called “friends” list. No offense meant to anyone. Most of you I have only met once or haven’t seen in 20 years. I will also refrain from scrolling through the news feed. There is nothing but trouble there. I might miss something vitally important, but if I was meant to know it, hopefully the person who posted it will make sure I have the needed information. I’m also going to limit myself to a once-per-day check in...NOT first thing in the morning. I don’t need to be bombarded by needs and requests that early. I have enough needs to deal with between my two homeschooled children.
In preparing to re-enter that world, I reminded myself what I liked and what I could do without regarding Facebook.
What I missed:Connection with family and friends who are far away
Shared videos that make me laughWhat I didn’t miss:
Reading the ill-thought out comments of others
Poorly written sentences
Reading profanity in comments
Pictures that have no place in my home so why would I want them on my computer screen?
You get the point. And I do too. I’m looking forward to answering those messages, friend requests, and notifications. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of my nieces and nephews. I’m mostly looking forward to a more disciplined me as I use Facebook according to my rules.