So I have toyed with the idea of giving up Facebook for awhile as I have had issues with spending too much time on it and I finally gave it up for Lent this year. I feel as though I learned A LOT from my 40 days without Facebook. Here is the rundown of my take aways:
1. TIME: I spend too much time on Facebook. It is so time consuming! Having close to 1000 friends makes for a lot of time going through everyone’s status updates, shares, photos, and likes. Not to mention it is so easy to get side tracked and start looking at someone’s profile and pictures and then it takes you to someone else’s profile and pictures and before you know it an hour has passed and you are snooping on someone’s page you don’t even really know. I would find myself checking my status right before bed and first thing when I woke up, while at the same time not spending time in prayer or in the Word. What a loss of quality time I could be having with my Lord! (During my time away, I have learned that I can edit what I see from my friends which can save a lot of time, because I don’t have to see the games they play or the comments they make to other friends or things that they like. However, you have to do this individually which takes time.)
2. DIDN’T MISS IT: Interestingly I did not miss Facebook much at all and it was quite freeing. The part that I missed the least was checking statuses. So much of the statuses I read are just not worth the the time it takes to read through them. No offense to anyone writing them it is just the truth of the matter, especially when it comes to pages they like, games that are played or comments they make to others.
3. CONNECTIONS: Facebook is truly a place to connect like no other. There are many people that I have no other form of contact with. Therefore, not having access to Facebook limits my connection to many people.
4. MISSING OUT: There were a few opportunities that I missed out on because I did not get the message because I was not on Facebook. One in particular that bummed me out. My cousins who live in Texas, and I rarely get to see were in town and wanted to get together. I missed the message from them because Facebook is the only form of contact we have with each other, and consequentially missed them being in town completely. I was super sad about missing them. (A remedy for this is only having the facebook messenger app on you phone. This way you only get messages, so it’s more like a text message.)
5. SOMETHING ELSE WILL REPLACE IT: Although I did not go on Facebook, I still did spend time on my phone/computer on social networks. I have been very reluctant to join other social networks including Twitter, Instagram, and Pintrest. I feel I already spend too much time looking at Facebook. I did take up Instagram while I was on my Facebook hiatus, which just reminded me how much technology is such an integral part of life and we cannot escape it. I still consciously try not to use any of these to excess. Everything in moderation.
6. BEING PRESENT: One thing I wanted to be intentional about in giving up Facebook was being present wherever I was. So many times I catch myself checking my Facebook or on my phone for something where I could be interacting with the people around me. I really tried to be intentional to interact while I had this break and I loved it! Sitting in a restaurant and talking with your waitress, talking with those sitting with you in a waiting room, being truly present with your friends and family instead of thinking about or posting the play by play of what is happening in your day. It was freeing. That is the essence of who Jesus was, intentional, relational, present. I want to be on my phone less and be present more!
7. ADDICTIVE: I once read that there was a study done about Facebook about why it is so addictive for people. Here is what it found in summary. “Through a series of experiments, the researchers at Harvard University learned through the study that the act of disclosing information about oneself activates the same part of the brain that is associated with the sensation of pleasure, the same pleasure that we get from eating food, getting money or having even having sex.” Check out an article about it here. This was scary to me, but at the same time it is apparent to me that it is true for me. There is something that triggers that sensation of pleasure when others like my status, read my blog, or comment on a picture I posted. However, something I realized is that is not why I want to post things in the first place. I post things because I want to share life with those around me, and what I like to see more is the other things that those around me post. Therefore, checking to see how many people have liked something or commented really is not what I want to be spending my time doing, although it is nice to know that others connect and want to be apart of my life. I would much rather be playing with my one year than looking at my phone to see how many people liked the picture I put up of him.
8. PURPOSEFUL TIME: My real goal in this, and what most Lenten goals are all about, is to give up an earthly pleasure to focus myself on the Lord and what He did for me, to renew my relationship with him and prioritize my time spent throughout my day. I did find that I was able to do this with all of the time that I gained back. I found time to read a devotional most days, read the bible most every day and even read some books that have been waiting for me on my nightstand for some time. He calls us to be in relationship with Him, and like any good relationship you must spend time pouring into it in order to gain and grow from it.
I was so very blessed by my 40 days without Facebook and I am so thankful for the new perspective the Lord has given my on my unhealthy addiction, and how I can still be on Facebook and use it for His glory without it taking over my life.
(I also just read another article from Relevant Magazine entitled STOP INSTAGRAMMING YOUR PERFECT LIFE that also gives nice perspective on social media. Check it out.)