My First Time Away From Facebook — Here’s Why

When I was in college, I decided to be an RA (resident assistant) for a freshman dorm. I remember sitting in our lounge hanging out with some freshman as they talked about this new thing called “Facebook.” I wasn’t really interested in it, but they were convinced I needed to open an account. I told them that if they created the account for me, I would use it. Within minutes my account was set up and I was hooked. 

Since then, over 6 years ago, I’ve used Facebook nearly every day of my life. I’ve used it all over the world from Mexico to Thailand to Honduras to even Vietnam. Using Facebook in Vietnam is tricky because they actually block the site. What they don’t do is block the mobile site, so if you added an m. to the url, you could access it. After 6 years, I’ve given it up. Deactivated. Disabled. Shut down. Permanently? I doubt it. But at least for a week, and probably till the fall. 

I gave it up. Why? Well, I gave it up for a simple reason: it was causing me too much stress.  People I love and respect were in deep disagreement, and arguing in hurtful ways, even though I knew if I was talking to them in person, they wouldn’t. It seemed every conversation turned into an argument. That’s not hyperbole. Every argument. 

I’m not one to run away from a good argument. But that’s the thing, Facebook isn’t a place for good arguments. I wonder if my voice will be missed, or if I do God a disservice by removing my voice from the conversation. The truth is that I feel like I do have something to say given the state of the world. But after praying about it, I realized that I have plenty of other places to share my voice —places that might actually produce positive results—places like this blog, the pulpit, classes, and small group, and one-on-one conversations. Yet, if I kept up on Facebook, I sensed that my voice in these other areas would soon loose their influence, if only because I would lose my motivation. So for the sake of my sanity, I gave Facebook up. 

When I did, I realized just how addicted I had become. 

We are trained by social media to react to situations. When I have a clever thought, interesting idea, or controversial article, I’ve been trained by the medium to post it. Today, I had multiple moments where I thought to myself “I should post that to Facebook! … … .. oh wait…”

Instead of reacting, I’ve been forced to think. I’ve been left with my thoughts. I have to think about what it is I”m thinking about, instead of simply posting it to Facebook. With this time to think, I realized how much of what we share is random and pointless. Instead of posting, I’m going to blog. Instead of reacting, I’m going to try and offer thoughtful responses. 

So that’s my challenge. I’m going to continue to blog (not that you will know that I am since I won’t be sharing it on Facebook), because I want to share my thoughts. I just want them to be more intentional and less reactive. I challenge you to do the same. Instead of commenting on someone’s post, sharing some controversial link, or your great pearl of wisdom, blog. Instead of ten posts a day, write one thoughtful post a week. Sit down, think it through, take time to edit it, and then share it with the world. See what happens when you stop reacting and start responding with intentional thoughts. 

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