Confession: I used to spend an inordinate amount of time on Facebook. But I didn’t even realize when too much was enough–until my wife said, “David, you’re on your phone ALL the time!” So I checked my usage. Sure enough, I spent an average of 2 hours 20 minutes every day–on Facebook alone!
I ended up deactivating, and then deleting my account.
Yes, there were withdrawal symptoms, but after about a week I stopped constantly checking my phone for those little red numbers. FOMO was eclipsed by FOMU–Fear Of Messing Up.
Being off Facebook has been a mixed blessing. We’ve missed a few funerals; yep, it was on Facebook, and we don’t take the newspaper. It’s also harder to keep up with some of our family members.
But here’s something on the positive side: being off FB has encouraged me to have more face to face conversations–especially with people who aren’t exactly like me.
And when someone is right in front of you, you benefit from tone of voice, facial expressions, and other non-verbal cues to help prevent misunderstandings. Plus, unlike when I was on social media, I’m not as tempted to quickly (and often inappropriately) respond to a perceived slight.
The Original Social Validation Feedback Loop
The Christian love (agape) found in the early church was deep and purposeful. (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37). Such mutual benevolent concern is hard to find in cyberspace, where interactions are often superficial and impulsive.
When Christ Himself was asked about the greatest commandment, He responded, “Love God first, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:28-31) Loving your neighbor was not a recent rule, (Leviticus 19:18) but by the time of the New Testament, most folks held a rather narrow view. Jesus challenges this thought with the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).
He makes it crystal clear that any person in need is our neighbor.
On FB, my ‘neighbors’ tended to be people who were a lot like me; there’s nothing wrong with that, but it felt like an echo chamber. It just wasn’t a good place for me to try to live by the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12).
I simply share my story, and am not judging you. Facebook took up too much of my life, so I quit. Perhaps you’re stronger and can handle it.