Let me intro this by first sharing this thought from John Piper –
“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”
So…with that as an introduction, here is one step I personally took about a year ago…
About a year ago, I effectively closed my facebook page. I didn’t close it entirely – I remain friends with 10 people – my family and a few pastors I am close with. I enjoy using facebook as a family photo album more than anything else. We can put up pictures of our life and those memories are easily accessible to me via my computer or iPad. So I didn’t want to close the account completely but I deleted about 350 friends.
I enjoyed facebook for a season because it enabled me to reconnect with hundreds of people from high school and college that I otherwise probably would never have seen again. That was very cool and, if managed properly, is good and valid. It was neat to see how we’ve all grew up, catch up on lives and see their children.
My decision to “privatize” my facebook was a personal choice. In no way, shape or form do I seek to judge anyone else and how they use their facebook.
My first nagging came about a year before I acted…I just found myself getting tired of it. I began to “manage” my friends – hiding posts from some where I grew tired of their comments (OK – red flag here…that’s not good) but not wanting to “de-friend” them less they think I was a jerk (another red flag). But I just kept thinking, “I’m tired of this…”
Addicted to being connected….
I have tried to teach my daughters that this cyber world is not “real”. Texting and facebook are not “community”. Yet for most teenagers, they have come to believe that they simply cannot do without their connection to their electronic world. Their phones are glued to their hands and texts and facebook posts, tweets and Pinterest are constantly being checked. Teenagers live their lives through their cell phones. That’s not good. That’s not healthy. They are addicted to being connected to their world. They begin to think they won’t survive this world unless they are totally plugged into it.
Am I a voyeur or a narcissist?
But my real issue has been this feeling of creeping into other people’s lives. Peering. We open up our homes, our vacations, our events and our lives for the whole world to see. Others peer into our lives. We welcome them in to look at our lives and our families and they can begin to think “they’ve got life pretty good”.
Or…we can peer into our friend’s lives and see their successes and their beach trips or Italy trips or lake homes and we can begin to think…”They’ve got life pretty good”. Some of this is OK. It is right to celebrate other’s success and happiness but there is something here that just nags at me. I really can’t put my finger on it but it is a new paradigm – this ability to look into our friends daily lives and their daily postings of their trials and success – and for me (and please don’t take this in ANY way personally) … but for me, it just has started to raise on red flags. And there is just something about posts that draw people to “just look at how great my life is” or even more subtly, “look at how Godly I am” that can be narcissism – that we are in the spin business of “selling” our life as having it all together. That’s dangerous territory.
It is a well documented fact that facebook has enabled many a marriage to break apart. It provides yet another vehicle to reconnect with former loves or to establish new electronic relationships. Sadly, it is being frequently cited in divorces as a major contributor. So my nagging feelings have some justification. There are valid reasons to be very careful with this electronic world we live in.
And then there is time. I rarely looked at facebook at work but I fell into the trap of checking it at night. I have an iPad and usually most nights, I spent 10-15 minutes scrolling through facebook. Most Saturday mornings drinking coffee, I’d scroll through it. Time. Precious time. I was devoting a couple of hours a week…peering, looking and wandering through 350 people’s lives. That was — for me — a lot of wasted time.
So I rebooted and cleared the decks. I’m sure I offended some people with this. That certainly was not my intention. It was just personal. It’s a God-thing for me. He very clearly gave me this direction (God does not particularly like our devotion to our worldly gods). I woke up one Sunday morning knowing what I needed to do and I followed. Let me say a year or so later, I have not missed facebook AT ALL.
There are no easy answers in this world. But in our striving to live wide awake, to live in a radical following of Jesus, to LiveUP!, facebook was just taking too much market share.