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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Real Face Time

Pin It Well, as luck would have it, yesterday I wrote an entire post before I realized that my internet connection was on the blink and none of it but the first paragraph was saved. Have you ever done that? Written something out and then lost it but just didn't have the heart to write it again after all of the time you put into it?

About a half an hour ago our connection was restored and so here I sit, wanting to write but not in so much detail. So that's what I'm going to do.

picture found at f2f.org

I disabled my Facebook account a few weeks ago. There were many reasons behind the decision, but mostly it was in an attempt to simplify my time on the computer. One day I just decided to do it and see if I would miss it. I didn't miss it at all. I have realized many more benefits since then and have not regretted my decision even once.

One of the benefits is that I was allowing myself to become too wrapped up in people's lives. When a friend writes in her status about how her husband lost his job, I want to help. When someone talks about how unhappy they are in their life or their marriage, I worry about them. When people express opinions that I 100% disagree with, I wish I hadn't seen that side of them. When someone invites me to 'like' a page they have created I am worried they will be offended if I don't. None of that matters anymore because I don't know about it. If something were important enough for me to know about, I would find out about it in other ways.

I think the best part, though, is that the people who really are truly my friends I am still in contact with. When it comes to those whose lives I want to remain a part of, nothing changed when I left the Facebook community. I have only had one old friend from high school email my brother and ask him for my contact information so that we could stay in touch. I don't have anyone poking me or sending me 'gifts' or inviting me to join their Facebook game community. I'm just living my real, live life and it's awesome.

The one thing that social networking (among other things - like texting, which I will never understand) takes away from life is actual human interaction. If you really want to know how your friends and family are doing, how about picking up the phone and giving them a call? If they live locally, walk/drive over to their house and say hello! Or, hey - how about writing a letter? (Letters are those things that people send in envelopes in the mail... you know, you write what you want to say on a piece of paper and send it off to the person you wanted to say it to? The benefit of a letter is that it can be read over and over again.)

My main point is that the only thing missing from my life since I left Facebook is the time I spent on my computer reading people's endlessly changing status updates and (quite often) life details that I was better off not knowing about in the first place.

Do you think you could do it? Disconnect from Facebook and go back to the way things were before you had ever heard of it? I bet you could.


Kalei's Best Friend said...

I am probably the only person who has never had an acct. on FB.. tho, I have deleted other sites and yes, it is easy.. in fact it felt good!.

Teachinfourth said...

I could totally do it…I don't go on that often anyhow. Kudos to you, Gerb on being strong and letting go of your addictions. It looks like that intervention last month has really paid off.

I'm still hooked into the power cord, myself.

diane rene said...

I am sure I could do it. I have left facebook for the reasons you mentioned, and I have come back as well. I streamline my FB time - no games, I hide all those, and I make it known that I participate in only the pages I feel a connection to, no offense to anyone trying to market themselves, just my own personal deal.

I stay on FB because I find that there are some people I really really miss. I talk to them regularly on FB, and we call each other from time to time. there are still a couple of more people I lost touch with ages ago, that I have tried like mad to find and can't. I hope to one day find them.

but I was reminded last week of the things that make me really happy with social networking ... I got a message from someone I hardly knew in school. she was picked on and put down because she was painfully shy. but she thanked me for talking to her in class, offering to be her partner in science, and not acting like the other kids.

she's a successful doctor these days, still shy as can be, but she made it. and those stories make my day :)

Rachel said...

Could I do it. Yes. Will I? Probably not. Do I want to? Absolutely! Then why don't I? Two reasons:

1) I have teenagers on there and I like to keep them under my microscope. Their friends too.

2) Ditto Diane's reasons.

I don't get into the games and such. I update my status far more than I probably should but I'm a whiner and I like to share the whine......

I'm hopeless. Good for you for simplifying!!

I have thought about getting rid of my blog........ but then my poor mother would be upset because she lives so far away she uses the blog to keep up to date....

I dunno...... I'm talking in circles I know. There is good and bad to both.... Moderation in all things is the key.

Anaise said...

I've never had an account, and I have no desire to.

Sometimes there are people I wonder about, and I'm sure I could find them on FB. So I think about it. In the end I always decide that it isn't worth it.

The comments by mothers who say they need to monitor their teens have me thinking . . . I'm going to have teens someday, too . . . but until then, I'm happy, happy, happy to stay away.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I've been thinking about doing it for a while now, and when my sister did it, I REALLY started thinking about it seriously. I always tell myself I'll just keep the account but use it less. But of course, I'm drawn into it. I just need to delete it and keep one page for my blog. Soon. I will do it soon. I hope.

Gerb said...

For those who want to keep tabs on their teens via Facebook, I still do. They have to divulge their password to me in order to have an account - and they are fine with that agreement because they have nothing to hide.

I can totally understand the connecting with old friends angle, but those who wanted to remain connected I am still in contact with - without FB.

I think it definitely has its good points, but they were outweighed by the negative for me, anyway.

mistyc0x said...

okay. can i just say that i am feeling way less weird now?

i was sitting in the dentist office just 2 days ago and picked up a TIME magazine (because the dentist office is truly the only place i would pick up a TIME magazine because i am certain dentist's offices are the only place you can find those....) and they had chosen their PERSON OF THE YEAR! and of course it was the facebook guy and i read all the facebook stats and how amazing it all is...but i just wasn't feelin' it. i think there are a lot of good things to say about facebook on the surface...but the negative outweighed the positive FOR ME. and that is okay! it was just me. i deleted my account months ago. but, see, now...it isn't just ME! Gerb! now there are TWO OF US!!! ;) lol

Diplo_Daddy said...

We have a love/hate relationship with our Facebook account. I love to read it so I'm up-to-date on what's happening with family and friends. But I hate to read some of the meaningless subjects people write about themselves, and others.

Lori said...

You know...I just went looking for you on FB, and you weren't there. I felt so bereft. Now I understand. And agree, to an extent.

I cut myself out of FB to a large extent because it had become too consuming during that "honeymoon" phase. Now I look at it, briefly, when I feel a desire to catch up with a distant cousin, say a quick hello to my brother in Texas, or message my entire youth group about upcoming schedules and plans. It's great for things like that.

Face time, though, is so much...MORE. Good for you to make that stand.

Rachel: you can learn some amazing things about teenagers from their FB pages. Amazing.Things. Some of which you really didn't want to know. And if you get rid of your blog I will hunt you down. Just be sporadic, and do it when you can. Don't be a slave to it.

I've found that no one gets particularly offended if I ignore all of the silly requests--the pages, games, gifts, pokes, etc. Nine times out of ten, they're sending them to their entire address book instead of carefully selecting individuals.

mindfulmama said...

I take breaks from FB all the time and I know I could leave it. I think it can be addicting and end up spending yr whole day on it. I usually just check my messages and log out.

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