Thursday, January 2, 2014

Freedom and Liberation: Goodbye Facebook, Hello New Year

The title pretty much sums up my blog post, and perhaps it is all I need to write, but I'll expand a bit.

Over the last year or so I've become frustrated with my relationship with Facebook.  I hate how my fear of missing out is really the only thing that keeps me posting and reading.  I also hate how I start thinking only in status updates, or only take pictures of my kids with the soul purpose of posting them on Facebook.  I don't take pictures anymore with the idea of preserving family memories and placing these pictures in an album for my children to look upon after they've aged and grown, but rather to see all the "likes" and comments.  And it only got worse after I got my iPhone and could access FB at all times.  Instead of reading an interesting article that would cause me to think and grow while I waited at the doctor's office, I'd scroll through the last few updates. Instead of journaling before bed, like I did in my youth, I scrolled again, and then fell asleep.

I would actually feel a sense of victory when I would have a gathering with friends and no one would take a picture to post it on FB.  But then I'd feel a bit cheated that not one of my 500 friends would get to know how fun my life was and that I had been to the beach with my friends, goodness.

Then there was the parts of me that I didn't like, that were coming out...the judging side of me. I would make judgements in my mind about people based on a random posts here and there. As if someone can be summed up by their daily status updates.  I'm sure that if I were having a face-to-face conversation with this or that person we would be having an authentic interaction and would be truly hearing each others' points of view and I'd end the visit feeling like I had truly heard someone instead of throwing them in the pile of ridiculous thinkers.

Then I sunk to a new low, I posted something of my son's that was merely a brag, that was only motivation.  I was proud and I wanted everyone to be impressed.  I wanted to read the comments of, "Wow, he's talented!  That's amazing."  Why did I need to hear this?  I needed to purge.  Still, what if I missed something?  This line of thinking always kept me stuck.

Then a friend who I hadn't seen in a while came for a visit. I found myself struggling to have a conversation.  See, all those starter questions we already knew the answers to, so how were we supposed to start and reconnect?  I finally stated, "B's been playing basketball." 

"Yeah, I saw that on Facebook."  Conversation killer.  That was it!

Over the next few days I shared my new conviction with a few friends, "I think I'm going to fast from Facebook."  Each January our church promotes the idea of fasting during the first week of the New Year.  I've never participated.  I always feel a bit lame for not fasting from food, and I would literally fall over if I did not feed my body.  So I always give myself permission to not ever participate in this church fasting extravaganza.  Others have fasted from movies, Netflix, FB, chocolate, coffee....etc...anything that they feel consumes too much of their time or cravings.  Should I fast from Facebook?

Each time I shared my new conviction to quit the social network, I grew in my confidence that this was the right decision. Plus, each person I shared it with actually agreed with me and thought it might be a great idea for them too.  One friend was so bold as to completely delete her account!

The other thing that spurred me on was my friendship with Heidi.  Heidi and I have been friends since college and our friendship has continued to grow and evolve.  We don't live close, but when we do get together we never run out of things to discuss and share.  And she's never been on FB.  What!?  You mean I might not miss out if I too was off that blasted thing?  My true friendships might survive!?

I must be craving a simpler time when people actually called each other.  I have even sent a few old-fashioned emails in the last few days, and they were grand.  I loved them.  They were personal, like a letter.

Today was my sister's birthday.  There was the temptation to post on her wall a glorious message that all could read and testify to our love for each other.  But I didn't.  I called.  We chatted.  It was about us and no one else.  It was good.

Seriously, at least for the first two days of my Facebook Fast I have felt liberated and free, daring and edgy.  I love it.  Happy New Year!


Jen Rouse said...

You need to post an update post at the end...if an when you return to Facebook!

Rebekah said...

And currently FB is not pleased. I keep getting reminders via email that I'm missing out. Today I was told that 441 messages are waiting for me!

Marcie said...

Love this, Rebekah!! :)