Friday, March 11, 2011

Facebook Lone Ranger

I did it. Wow. I can't believe it. I actually did it. I DEACTIVATED my Facebook account. It still makes me a tiny bit panicky, even though its been 10 days now. I've been contemplating it now for a little over a year. I even took a little hiatus a time (or maybe even two) last year. But it had to be cold turkey for me. Of course I worry that I will be left out of the loop on things. Most of my invites to parties, get-togethers, and play dates are all done via Facebook now. And all the drama? Well, I won't miss that part. I also do business quite frequently through Facebook. People find out my name from a friend who has a platter, and they look me up and message me. Giving it up is risky, I tell ya. Am I gonna be the Lone Ranger? Facebook seems to be the way people connect and communicate in this day and age, and I've just cut myself off.

There are several reasons for taking my face off that book. Here's a little bit about my "why"

1. It sucked way too much time out of my day. I wasn't good at controlling or limiting my time on Facebook. And with having 519 of my closest friends staring at me all day long, with something to say, it took awhile to scroll through my home page and read all of their exciting (or not so much) news.
For the first time I realize I'm truly addicted to something. Actually it's the second time. I use to be addicted to The Young and the Restless. Ha! Now that just makes me laugh, but that's another blog for another day. I realized I was addicted when I thought maybe I was spending an hour or so a day (thinking that was too much), but then when I stopped and really added up the time in the morning (while drinking my hot tea and waking up... every tired Momma needs wake-up time, right?!?!). And throughout the morning in between breakfast, dishes, and teaching school I might have jumped on for a little bit. Of course in the afternoon while the kids are playing outside or while waiting on them at dance, soccer, etc., I would find a quite minute to scroll. In the evening while cooking dinner, if I had even just a few minutes while waiting for water to boil or bread to finish baking, I might be found sitting on the floor next to the oven seeing what my friends had to say. Ugh... pathetic. In the evenings when Alan and I would sit down to relax and watch TV I would be sitting on one end of the couch, Facebooking, and Alan would be on the other end, laptop in hand, doing his thing (usually playing poker). Good relationship building time, huh? Not really. And, last but not least... before bed I would go plug my Ipad into the charger, and often have just a little more quick responding, posting, or scrolling to do while Alan is waiting for me to turn off the lights. Addicted? I think so.
Add it up, and I bet it totals between 2-3 hours. A day. Yet... I can't find time to get projects done, can't find time to spend praying or reading the Bible, can't find time to exercise or do the laundry. Hmmmm.
Many friends suggested I trim my list to a few favorite friends and/or family. Some suggested only having a business page, or only logging on at morning and night. But I know myself. That wouldn't really work. It's all or nothing, baby. At least for awhile.

2. Another major reason I don't like Facebook... I don't like what it is doing for relationships. I don't like that people rarely TALK anymore, and rather just assume they know what is going on or how you might be doing. I believe Facebook causes people to "feel" connected, but in reality, the relationships that should be more substantial are probably much less "connected" or real. Now I will be the first to quickly admit I have a hard time with change. I've blogged about that before, more than once. So I will admit that it's possible that I am just having a hard time adjusting to this monumental change is society and in communication. That being said, no matter what is going on in the world, I believe in following my heart and listening to my gut. Facebook is one of those "gut feelings" I've been sorting through and trying to figure out, and this is my conclusion, I guess you could say.
In my own experience over the past year or so, I can definitely say that some of the important relationships in my life and in the life of my family have changed because of lack of talking. In my opinion it's all to easy to read posts or upload pictures, and get the feel of "Oh! Yay for her!" or maybe it might be "bummer... I need to be praying for them" or whatever the case might be. I do think facebook is great for keeping up with the casual relationships in town or across the miles. But for family relationships and close friends, I think those warrant real talking. And real listening. And with facebook, I bet there has been 90% less real talking on the phone or in person. And that.... I truly believe, cheapens those all too important relationships.
Perhaps If it weren't for my "addiction" issues I'm overcoming, maybe I would work harder to enjoy the best of both worlds? I could make an effort to make phone calls AND enjoy posts and pictures and updates. But I don't know... It's still all too easy to get the fix and fill by simply scrolling.
I kind-of fear for the future of society a little bit. What will happen after years of communicating this way? Is this what people said long ago when phones were invented? Or the internet? Hmmmm. I don't know. But for now... for me... It hasn't felt right in my heart and mind. So I've made the monumental leap to give it up. It's gonna require more time to call my brothers, sisters-in-law, cousins, and friends to stay connected. But for me, I think those relationships will be so much better and more real, like the days of the near past. And technically I should have a little more time in my day now, right?

I have to say that 10 days in, I have LOVED my break. Emotionally, spiritually, relationally, and even time-wise! It has been great. And while I still have little moments of "what am I missing out on???" I can honestly say that it feels like a brick has been lifted off my shoulders. Weird. Yeah, I sometimes I am weird. I admit.
Also, it feels good to have broken an addiction.

((deep sigh of relief))


Jennifer said...

I totally agree with you and I've been thinking about deactivating my FB account BUT it's how I keep in contact with my relatives in other states so for now I'm staying on but really considering it.
Love ya and glad you did what was best for you!

Kim said...

Awesome Cari! I feel every bit of what you is a time sucker for sure! It's also a wall that people can hide behind and I don't like that either. I have thought about going on a hiatus for awhile and probably will soon. You are not the Lone Ranger girlie, just the Pioneer Woman who did it first! :) Thanks for inspiring. Where have you been anyways? I miss seeing you at dance, even if it is for just a few minutes. How's the house coming along? I keep meaning to drive through your hood and see the progress. I'll put that on my to-do list this week!

6 Happy Hearts said...

Addictions take 30 days to break.
I'll see you in 30 : )
I miss our witty banter on screen.
Call me! LOL.
Love you & you have to do what's right for you, your family & your calling. You go!!!

Keri said...

Watch it sister... you are stepping on my toes! :) I have had many of those same thoughts & feelings about facebook. Part of me knows I should give it up & part of me justifies it because I have so many long distance friendships that would probably end if I let it go. The reality is that I should probably let some of those friendships go so that I will feel the need to invest more in friendships here. Guess it's time to think it over again. Thanks for the great post!

Matt said...

Like anything else that can be addictive, Facebook is dangerous. So is alcohol. So are many other things. The key is exercising healthy boundaries. If one cannot exercise healthy boundaries, than abstaining is better. Glad your blogging, it helps me keep up with what's happening with your family now that your not on Facebook. Cheers!