Today is New Year’s Day, and I’ve been reflecting on something, off and on, for most of the Season of Advent. As I’ve prayed about the season and my own attentiveness to it, a word has repeatedly come to mind: distraction.
I like distractions, generally. Which is the point. I like them too much and I’ve decided to take action on one distraction in general. On January 6 (Epiphany), I will deactivate my Facebook account. I’m not saying Facebook is evil or that it doesn’t, in fact, have some real value in and of itself. It does. My personal opinion is that because of Facebook (and other social networking venues) we as a population probably laugh more, discover a little more inspiration here and there, and are sometimes even better informed (but also, honestly, sometimes, misinformed) than we were before Facebook came along. But this isn’t about Facebook at all. It’s about places of unhealth in me.
Very simply, it’s not that I spend too much time on Facebook. I don’t. It’s that I care too much about what others do on Facebook. I care too much what others say about things that matter to me (Do they agree? Do they disagree?). I care too much about whether the latest clever thing I’ve posted is “liked” by many people (which is really a bit sad, if you think about it). I care too much when people argue and bicker and are unkind toward one another, thinking that their hastily posted comments pass for “conversation” or “community-building” (I’ve never heard anyone say, “I used to feel that way on the issue, but a post on Facebook changed my thinking.”). All of it is a distraction. And, to be honest, it just no longer interests me. Saying farewell to Facebook doesn’t feel like as much of a sacrifice as I thought it would be when I first began to consider it.
I realize I will lose some things, of course. There is some real connection with people that’s been beneficial, as well as some genuine laughs and inspiration from time to time. I’ll have to look for that elsewhere. And I’m not saying that this is permanent (though it may be). It’s just what I need to do now.
Again, this is about me and my own need to eliminate Facebook as a distraction in my life. No one else needs to read anything more into this in terms of what they think I might be saying about others’ involvement therein. No judgment against avid Facebookers is intended in any way. This is all about my own issues. I just didn’t want to disappear without some explanation, that’s all. My hope is that I’ll have more mental and emotional capital to invest in face-to-face relationships as a result.
In eliminating Facebook from the mix, perhaps I’ll blog a little more in 2015 than I did in 2014. Maybe I’ll have more room to reflect, read, and write. Maybe I’ll get better at getting to know my neighbors. That would be nice.