Sunday, December 05, 2010

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I'm contemplating taking a break (perhaps permanent) from Facebook. I don't feel like it's a big time suck for me; I usually check it a couple of times a day, but I'm not on it all day (unless I accidentally forget to logout of my account, which has actually happened a few times). Still, I've been weighing the pros and cons.

On the one hand...
• Facebook has allowed me to keep up with long-distance friends and family, not to mention to reconnect with old high school and college classmates. (I figure I'll save the money spent on going to a class reunion; thanks to Facebook, I already know who's gone bald, who's gained weight and who's got 19 kids and counting.)

• Facebook has helped me learn new fun facts about people I've known for years. There are a ton of people I'm acquainted with, people I've gone to church with forever or who work with me, but outside of a few vital facts I don't know much about. Enter Facebook, and suddenly I get a little inside glimpse into their lives. Often, I learn that I have something unexpectedly in common with my Facebook friends. Sometimes reading about something on Facebook will prompt a conversation in "real life", which I enjoy.

• Facebook can be great for the ol' ego. Having a bad day? Just admit it in your status update, and watch the encouraging comments roll in. Accomplished a big (or small) goal? Broadcast it on Facebook and you'll find your own cheering section. There is power in having a little online community giving positive feedback now and then.

• Facebook can be a platform for sharing my faith. Occasionally I'll take a break from my snarky status updates and instead post a Bible verse or passage from a Christian book or lyrics from a praise and worship song. Likewise, many times I'll read a verse or lyric on someone else's status update and it will be just what I need to hear at that moment.

On the other hand...
• Sometimes it seems that Facebook has become a substitute for genuine conversation between me and my friends. If I can go on Facebook and read all of my friends' status updates, then it sort of negates the need to actually spend time together and catch up with each other, right? While Facebook been a great tool for connecting with long-distance friends, I'm not sure it's been so beneficial between me and my friends who live close by.

• It can be tempting to use Facebook to share my faith but not extend it further than that. What I mean is that I can pacify myself by putting a Bible verse on my profile but not be more pro-active in sharing my faith at work, at the grocery store, at restaurants, and other places I go.

• Facebook can quickly become all about ME. What I'm doing, what I'm reading, where I'm going, how I'm feeling. That's not to say that I shouldn't share those things, but sometimes I feel like it's just a big brag fest and I feel like a loser if I don't have some exciting anecdote to share. Crazy to think that way, but that does cross my mind sometimes.

And so the inner debate goes. I may take a sabbatical from Facebook for a few weeks to test the waters. Anyone else had similar thoughts?


Harrell Hijinks said...

yes! agreed on ALL points.

i took a break last summer for a few months.... it was good for many reasons. when i came back, i found i'd missed my friends and what was going on in their lives but had a healthier perspective on the pros and cons of FB.

it was good for me. like you, i wasn't spending more than 15-20 a day unless someone wanted to chat (which is rare) but stepping away for a while was needed..... just come back:) we'll miss you very much!

Donna G said...

I am not a very good Facebooker....I sometimes go two or three days without even looking at it, unless I read status updates on my phone. I do like the reconnecting with people and keeping up with some peoples lives....others make me wonder if they really have a life. I guess I will keep using it, but just try not to abuse it, but truly I know I can take it or leave it!