So very tired.
I remember 8 years ago when I first made my Facebook account. I vaguely remember life before it.
I take that back.
I vividly remember life before Facebook.
I remember life before all the cheesy fad puzzles disguised as games.
The instinctual need to wake with a quiet moment of positive thinking has been replaced with the primal urge to check Facebook notifications.
Somehow, my life has become filler between surfing the internet and checking new pictures or statuses on Facebook. My life is spent in front of a screen.
It’s not all bad. I research a lot of topics that interest me. I check out new art techniques, am inspired by a quick shake through boards on Pinterest, and have an outlet in this blog to brag about my daughter. It’s not like I vegg out in front of the computer sitting on my duff all day, but I certainly feel tied to Facebook in a habitual manner. The computer is a wonderful machine.
At the touch of my fingertips, I can learn anything I want.
I can connect to any person I want.
For example, I am connected to my family all over the states, strangers in my mommy group, and a few past acquaintances with whom I don’t think I’ve shared a word. I can be close to my family even though hundreds of miles separate us. What wonderful advances in technology.
I can reach anyone I want.
Yet, I feel more disconnected than ever.
I remember how I used to volunteer at my church. I used to sort music and set up powerpoints and music setlists for the following sunday morning service. I’d volunteer my time in the praise band too.
I remember how Sam and I would connect with each other rather than to our individual machines.
I remember how I didn’t give a rip if someone knew what I was up to or was glad to see new pictures of my life.
I remember when I didn’t depend on the need for acceptance and assurance as a person by spending time on social networking sites.
And there is my point.
Let’s be honest for a minute here.
I have struggled with my identity for years. Who am I? What is my purpose?
I find myself latching onto ideas, hobbies, or habits that provide me with a sense of identity. Each new project gives me a different perspective and a new facet of who I might be.
Spending time on Facebook gives me purpose—I feel important to stay in the know about my friends and family. I feel cherished, almost loved, when someone remembers me online on Facebook or in an e-mail.
I remember a long time ago where I devoted a set amount of time daily to writing on people’s Facebook walls and sending messages to stay involved in people’s lives. I figured it was a good way to spread some love.
The problem with that was that I barely got a return on my investment. I may have gotten a bit more traffic on my notifications but I didn’t feel any more complete or sure of myself because of it.
I don’t mean to say that I am searching for my life’s meaning on Facebook.
I mean to say that Facebook has developed into my means to an end.
And I’m not okay with that.
I’m not okay with how much time I spend on Facebook.
I’m not okay with waking up and reaching for my phone instinctively to check it.
I’m not okay being distracted in my free time with meaningless games.
Hours of my life spent on social networking sites turn into days. Precious limited time is wasted.
I wonder what would happen if I deleted all of my social networking sites and only used the computer as an educational tool.
1. The world would burst into flames and mourn my loss.
Just kidding. I’m a drop in the ocean. Wouldn’t even cause a ripple. It’s not like I’m flying to outer space and gonna vacation there for 40 years.
2. I’d have more free time.
Dream with me here for a minute, friend. With no more games to play, statuses and pictures to scroll through, and acquaintances to stalk, what an abundant measure of time you would have to fill!
3. I would release myself from the pressure to perform.
No longer would I have to come up with a clever status to catch people’s attention to draw comments or attention. No longer would I feel like I have to keep up with anyone to stay popular. It’s not even about performing for others. I wouldn’t have to exert my energy into uploading pictures or commenting on posts.
4. I’d miss it.
Not gonna lie. I’d miss Facebook. I’d miss seeing pictures of my friends and family. I’d miss hearing that a friend of mine is pregnant or getting married. I would miss the connection. I’d also miss the games—I admit it. There are so many colors…like a bug to the light!
5. I would be
completely kinda-sorta out of the loop.
This does pose an interesting question. Is the fear of being missed by people and missing out on information hinder you from leaving Facebook? “But…how will someone find me if they need me? How can someone contact me?” Unless you’ve stomped your phone into the ground, cut all electricity in the house, or moved to a remote tropical island and burned the boat, I am sure someone could find a way to get a hold of you if they needed to do it.
Social networking sites offer a very alluring bonus: You stay in the know. Facebook and Twitter are like your own personal newspaper. You have personalized pictures and stories from people you know and trust and stay up to date on information. You know what’s happening in someone’s life at any moment they post.
Without Facebook, I wouldn’t be in the know. Is that such a bad thing? I say, yes. It can be. For a person who likes to help others and give to others, this can be a tricky thing. I’ve been able to send gifts and letters to friends all around the continent because Facebook has given me information on weddings, birthdays, or other events happening in a person’s life. I glean information that deems action on my part from Facebook and would not be able to act in such a quick manner if I wasn’t connected to people online. I’d find other ways to act, I suppose, but this is the biggest reason for me to hold onto Facebook.
6. My friends and family wouldn’t be bombarded with 34 pictures a day of my daughter.
Some days, 35. Depends on what we’re doing. Eh…who needs more pictures of babies, anyway?
7. I could pick up new hobbies.
You know…all the things I’ve been meaning to try but haven’t because I’ve been too busy on Facebook. Imagine..I could revive old hobbies.
I made this list two months ago. Haven’t completed a single thing.
8. My house would be a heck of a lot cleaner.
Yep. I freely admit it. I’d have a cleaner house if I didn’t spend my time online. When did I last dust?
9. The Post Office would have a secure future.
I’d revive sending letters and cards to people to stay connected. I’d give the Post Office a reason to come to work each day…a reason to keep thousands of people employed…all for my new letter writing hobby. That and Verizon. I’d be a texting and calling fool to stay in touch with friends and family.
10. I would breathe a giant sigh of relief.
Can you hear it?
11. I’d get asked “What? You don’t have Facebook? Why? Are you diseased?”
Do you remember hearing about someone who wasn’t on Facebook? People used to react to that situation with confusion. Now, it’s almost like a show-stopping horrific fact. “E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E is on Facebook…why aren’t you?” Eh. I’d come up with fun answers to that question though.
“Because I got recruited to the Candy Crush Championship Competition and had a bad experience.”
“Because someone didn’t like this one picture I posted of my daughter.”
“Because my statuses weren’t cool enough.”
“Because a Velociraptor ate my computer.”
“Because my fingers fell off from typing too much.”
“Because I prefer my books to have words in them, not faces.”
12. I’d miss out on awesome new videos and songs.
Like this one.
13. I wouldn’t have anything to look forward to when I wake up in the morning.
Just think…I wouldn’t have a reason to get up if I didn’t have Facebook. Facebook is LIFE.
Eh…not quite. I would look forward to the tangible and beautiful world, not even mentioning my daughter’s morning face all squishy and half droopy. I’d have thousands of things to look forward to each morning. Facebook would simply not be one of them.
Actually, I’d be able to start a new morning tradition…like stretching, a quiet moment with hot tea on the porch, or simply spending a few extra minutes standing at the front door watching the dew turn into mist into clouds into blue into warm sunshine.
14. I’d win back intrigue points.
There’s something a bit boring about revealing everything about yourself online, isn’t there? When you know exactly what a person eats, thinks, or does every day, then it can become a bit commonplace. I’d become mysterious. I can rock mysterious.
15. I could manage the influence that others have on me by narrowing my exposure.
I could spend my time developing my talents and skills. I could transform myself with no fear of jealousy or rejection. I wouldn’t compare myself against the success or the comings and goings of my peers. I wouldn’t be steered by the moods of others.
16. I would feel empowered in conquering my inner beast.
I had experienced withdrawal when I took a break from Facebook a while back. I think that means that it is time to step away for a while. I could face my addiction and conquer it. What can’t be conquered when I set my mind on a task?
17. I’d become the next big singing sensation.
Eh…maybe not…but I’d sure spend more time recording my music and practicing my instruments! Who knows… maybe even join a group or get out to Open Mic more often.
18. I wouldn’t be tied to my phone every time I go out in public or surfing the internet in quiet social situations.
Oooh, picture it. I’d be the only one at the restaurant table not staring down at my phone. I could hone my etiquette skills and power of conversation. I’d carry conversations instead of finding more interest in the internet. I’d value the company in front of me over the company of my status feed. I could make new friends in the waiting room. I could engage the tangible world around me rather than perpetually looping myself into the virtual one.
19. I’d have a free space on my bookmark bar.
20. The things and people that really matter will settle while all the junk will sift.
I’d realize the substance with whom and what I surround myself. There is life after Facebook. Surely that can’t be a bad thing.
I think it may be time to move past Facebook. Time to explore life without being plugged in. Time to cherish what I can experience around me with my senses. I think life could be more interesting this way. Who knows. I could be wrong.