Facebook is... (What I learned from a week of being facebook-free).
After posting an apparently controversial video to facebook over a week ago and trying to keep up on all the chatter, I found myself all-too-routinely tuning in to a screen to view notifications, write comments, and spin my wheels. It was time for a break. The break was good. Here are three things I learned and/or was reminded of this past week:
- Facebook is a drug... and I'm addicted, or at least am recovering. This could easily apply to other social networks and other tools, but for me, this one is my issue. When I get to the point that I realize I'm starting to mindlessly check into things in gaps of time or activity, that's when it's time to give it up, change some habits and recommit to intentional space and stillness. Facebook isn't intrinsically evil. This has more to do with me than social media (or phones and laptops). I don't feel the need to institute a prohibition for myself or others, but I want to be aware and intentional. I think that's a good policy for any drug.
- Facebook is a little desperate, kind of like an ex you recently broke up with, and just like every other social media outlet. All I have to do is check my inbox to confirm my suspicion that my social media tools are desperate for my interaction. I don't know what all it takes to change my subscription and notification preferences, but by golly, I'm going to figure it out before all my email storage is used up. In fact, I even got some great emails from the social network this past week about what I was missing. Didn't I know that I must have notifications? That people had been posting things? Woe is me, I was missing out on the whole online [anti-]social party! It's okay, Facebook, we're not breaking up. I'm still here. I'm going to block you on my phone.
- Facebook can serve as a great filter for two kinds of people: Those who might potentially interact with you when convenient and those who really want to get a hold of you. This is how it worked for me, anyway. I let people know that if they really wanted to get a hold of me, they could email or call me. I got some great emails and had a few lovely phone calls, and plenty of fantastic in-person conversations. And there were plenty of people who interacted with things on Facebook, and that's fine. If someone really wanted to get a hold of me, they could even find my contact information online, or find people who have it. It's not as convenient as point-and-click, but it's possible and still facilitated by the social network's connective powers.
I don't hate Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any kind of social media. What I don't like are some of my own habits around the use of these technologies and how difficult it can be to tune out the constant chatter. So be mindful and intentional in consuming digital drugs, be gentle but firm with your technological partner, and remember that the whole point is to connect with people, whatever that looks like.
Logging off now,