Why I Quit Facebook (Kinda)
I deactivated Facebook today. Why? Am I crazy? Is it possible to exist in 2012 without Facebook? And did I really quit? After all I can simply log in and I’m back. Still I decided to take the summer off from this very addictive social network. I am sure I will rejoin down the road and I do value the ministry potential in this tool. It is a great way to connect with church friends and to share information with family and friends. I believe it would be great to have a professional site for the church and I have no problem being a part of that but as for a personal FB page I decided that had to go.
Why? Am I going to move to a shack out west and send missives to local government agencies? Not quite. I simply decided that this is a time consuming, addictive, and very impersonal way to be a friend.
I will confess that the majority of my status updates are simply not newsworthy. Does it really matter what I’m eating for lunch or thinking about every little detail of my day? I’m not sure my life is news. And what about information we shouldn’t share? I’ve seen my share of folks who air personal issues on the ‘wall.’ Sometimes it feels like eavesdropping on private phone calls. And if someone does want to deal with an issue there are better ways then Facebook. It’s like standing in the middle of the local mall and shouting out, “I’m having pasta today! I’m feeling like I might throw up! I’m in love with the girl in my Algebra class! I like Twinkies!” Who would do that? Yet we all do similar things on FB daily.
The longer your list grows then each time you pick up your phone you see status after status and find yourself reading, typing ‘like’ or ‘unlike’, and commenting. I found I was spending too much time reaching for my phone to check FB and less time actually enjoying my own ‘status’ that was going on right then. One day my daughter said to us, “Let’s put FB away and watch a movie!” She doesn’t do FB. She was talking to her parents.
I love learning about my friends but I’ve seen folks share political views, religious ideas, sports commentary, and other opinions that quickly lead to a battle of sound bites and I feel very uncomfortable watching it. Folks say things they’d never say in another venue. And the way we write in these types of forums are often misread and misunderstood.
I know the counter arguments! It’s about social networks! This is how the younger generation connects! Really? Are we going to create a culture that can’t talk over a cup of coffee? Are we going to have a society that can only tweet or send mini-messages (with poor spelling) to one another and yet is not able to really talk and share from the heart? Remember when you had a crush and had to either call or go up to your heart’s desire and actually ask him/her out? Now you can tweet your feelings and maybe that’s easier but is it healthier? What about having the courage to share how you feel or to go to someone you needs to talk too and be honest about your feelings?
Is FB feeding our narcissistic consumer world that says it is all about me? Isn’t the gospel saying that it’s not about me but God and we?
So I’m done. I believe in social networks. The Holy Spirit created the greatest one 2000 years ago on Pentecost and it’s called the church.
We need community. We need real and genuine community. In a world of media sound bites and easy comments we need to bring back the art of real community.
I realize I write this on a blog and I am using 21st media to share my opinions. I don’t propose we go back and ignore technology. I’m all for web sites, apps, blogs, and new ways to share information. But that’s about mass media. Personal media might just need to be personal.