to preface, there’s probably nothing inherently wrong with facebook. but i do know a few things about myself and about my feelings and about facebook, so that’s all i have to offer you behind my reasoning for the long novel that follows:
people have asked me many a time why i deleted my facebook (when it’s gone) or why i don’t like facebook (when i have it). it’s complicated, and the casual questioner probably doesn’t want to hear all of this, but if you’re interested, feel free to read on! and maybe consider taking some time off, so i’m not the only one, standing in a group of people who are discussing something and you go “sorry, what?” and they say “didn’t you get the facebook invite?”
my first break from facebook was in october of last year when i did a month long media fast (no twitter, facebook, movies, tv, music videos, pinterest). i didn’t delete it, it stayed online, i just used my will-power and commitment to not log on.
after that, i got back on facebook, which was a sigh of relief. i had missed it. it was an nbd, whatevs, good to be back kind of feeling.
but then, whenever i was sad (about the state of the world, my life, my friends’ lives, whatever, normal things you occasionally feel sad about) i felt like facebook was some huge burden that i didn’t want at all. i felt tied down to it. weird, i know.
i told myself these things:
“i can’t delete my facebook! how will i keep in touch with my friends??? i would miss SO MANY events!!!!!! how will i know what’s going on with everyone i know?!!?”
also, more reasonably:
“it’s a great way to show people my interest in their lives, to catch up with people, to love people, to foster friendships, etc.”
that thought of “i can’t live without facebook” made me very uncomfortable, so, for a few months, i went back and forth on whether or not i wanted it and whether or not it was an issue that i did want it.
january came, and i was, again, just sad (you know, life! nothing super particular. i was probably reading the news or something.) i got the urge, that tiny voice inside that tells me – “delete your facebook!”
i remember wondering if it was the voice of God, or if it was just an urge
so i wrote it on my to-do list for the day (i was at school at the time)
“delete your facebook”
for proof, here it is. 5 up from the bottom of this lovely photo from un journée dans ma vie – my planner; this particular monday hosted 18 “to-dos”
even has a ? after it, just to show my uncertainty
well, by the time i got home from school, the mood had passed (i think i bought a lollipop on my way home from school, always puts me in a good mood!) so i didn’t delete my facebook.
there are times in my life when i’m pretty sure i hear God. they happen when:
1) i ask God where He is and then
2) He tells me, and i (typically) ignore it for a while until He tells me again and again and again.
that was this day – i knew what i was supposed to do (delete my facebook) but i was in a better mood, so i said “psshhhh NO, i neeeeed my facebook”
then, i got a text message from the guy i was dating, telling me that he had deleted his facebook, “just so you know”
well i had told him nothing of what i was thinking on the subject, so it was too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence, you know?
so, i said “ok, God, i’m getting the picture”
and deleted my facebook
obviously, i’ve been back on facebook for a while now. and i will, no doubt, go back on again. since i’ve been in a foreign country, it is definitely convenient for communication. but, still, even here, i deleted it for a day (then realized it was actually quite impractical as my friend was trying to send me info about train tickets and i was being unreasonably hard to contact)
why is facebook so burdensome, you may wonder? maybe for you it isn’t, maybe for you it’s cherries and apple pie, or maybe to you it’s nothing.
i’ve reflected on this quite a lot, and here is why i don’t like facebook, or why i delete it when i’m sad:
1) i love my friends. i love sharing things with them and talking to them about their lives, and i don’t like that they read/see my adventures from photos i’m tagged in without me being able to personally share those things with them. and vice versa. i don’t want to hear about new relationships, breakups, life happenings through facebook. i want to hear about it from my friend if they want to tell me.
2) facebook feeds my vanity. now, i wouldn’t typically describe myself as a vain person, but facebook occasionally turns me into one. “which profile picture looks best?” “ew untagging myself from that picture” etc. etc.
3) facebook is a very superficial story of my life. someone can look back through almost 5 years of my life and get some sort of impression of the occurences, but it would all be simply a façade of what actually happened. they wouldn’t really know or understand anything about my life, but they might think that they do, and that makes me uncomfortable. i want to give off an impression of me as i am, not as my facebook says i am. it is a constant reminder of the “old” abbey which is the abbey that i am in a constant pursuit to better. people are capable of change, and i feel that facebook holds on to this old, outdated image of who i am, who quietly tells me i can’t change and that i haven’t changed.
still, i brought it back and probably will bring it back because it is incredibly convenient and i like having so many pictures in one place, as it is a nice documentation of my life from my perspective, because i own all the narration. and having it isn’t bad – the bad i saw was in the fact that i felt like i needed it.
i want to have friendships that work through other means besides the superficial format of facebook
i want to write letters and e-mails, directed to individuals who i care about
i want to share my photos and my stories at the same time.
i don’t want my facebook to be me… because it’s a poor representation.
maybe i’ve thought about this too much (probably) and maybe i’ve taken something small and turned it into something big (again, probably) but it’s not entirely logical – it’s more emotional than anything else. i feel freedom in knowing that i don’t have to have my facebook, and i feel free when i get to delete it.
i’m still not entirely sure what God is teaching me and has taught me through taking breaks from this aspect of my social life, but i do know that i’m trying to follow him as best as i can and that he has been faithful to me, even when i have been unfaithful.
john 10:27 – “my sheep hear my voice, and i know them, and they follow me.”