Facebook has been on my mind lately. Well, maybe not so much the social network itself, but rather my involvement with it. It can really drain one’s time and mental energy. Just the other night I was hanging out with one of my best friends from high school, Dani, and we were talking about how possessed we could become by Facebook or Twitter (or both). And then we were talking about how dependent we, as a society, have become on social networks and technology to communicate and interact with each other. No, not the simple kind of technology that enables one to call another, but more specifically texting, emails, and Facebook posts. They’re all forms of immediate connection between two people, but are they really enabling people to grow together as friends, families, or communities?
I’m only reminded of my conversation with Dani because I read an article in the Register-Guard about Facebook and then had a small discussion at work about it as well. Bob Welch’s article mostly discusses his likes and dislikes in his short experimentation with Facebook, but it made me wonder about my own involvement with the network. And at work one of my managers admitted that he didn’t know what people meant by “I put as my status…” We were all a little surprised that we had to explain to someone what Facebook statuses were, but honestly, I kind of wish I was him. I kind of wish that I didn’t have the major distraction that Facebook is.
As I’ve been thinking through some additions to my previous resolutions, I think changing the way I work with Facebook is going to be one of them. I’ve made a greater effort within the last couple weeks to decrease how much time I spend on it and I think the benefits have outweighed the drawbacks, by far. Within the two weeks of Christmas break alone, I’ve written over 30,000 words in my journal and have read two books and I’m about to finish a third. If anyone knows me, that’s quite a bit of reading for me. I’m no the quickest reader in the world; maybe 20 or 30 pages an hour. But since I’ve had so much time without Facebook being in the picture, I’ve been able to get so much done.
This is essentially the main reason why I’m considering cutting Facebook. No, I probably won’t delete my account, but I just won’t log in anymore. There is enough information on my profile for people to find my email address and even phone number if they really want to get a hold of me, so there isn’t much of a need to communicate via Facebook.
Call me old school, but I’m kind of getting tired of how I learn more about a person from their Facebook profile than by actually hanging out with them. I wrote a post a while back about how I’m not going to marry a Facebook friend and this is exactly why; I want her to know me in person and vice versa. I don’t want there to be a dependence on social networks for our marriage to work.
Ultimately, it’s how you use Facebook that makes a difference. If you’re able to manage your time well, then it shouldn’t be much of a hindrance – if at all. But if you can’t manage your time with Facebook well, then it’s probably best to take a break. I believe I’m in that latter category. Yes, Facebook is a great platform to connect with people and send messages you want to send (like posting a link to my blog on my profile). But I don’t think it should become the main tool to talk with people, especially people who have phone numbers, which pretty much everyone does.
If we’re Facebook friends, don’t worry, I’m not deleting my profile; just removing my activity. If you desperately need to contact me, there should be enough info on my “Info” section to give you an avenue to contact me. But given the dozen or two of people who I’ve interacted with on Facebook within the last term, there shouldn’t be too many people itching to get a hold of me.
Essentially, I’m doing this major disconnect in order to reconnect; I’m not that great with actually talking to people and removing the impersonal platform that Facebook is will force me to get better at engaging people face to face – or simply calling them. Aside from reconnecting with people in reality, I’ll have more time to reconnect with my passions of reading and writing. And maybe I’ll actually get some homework done 🙂