The day was October 8, 2007. It was the day I joined up with a social media site I knew very little about. But since everyone else seemed to be there, I thought I’d head over and give it a try too! It took me a while to catch on the hang of it at first because to be honest, I didn’t see what the big deal was! It was less than appealing to me. But day by day as my friend list grew, so did my interest….and the amount of time I was spending “hanging out” around FACEBOOK.
I had the best time reconnecting with old friends, ones I would never get to see or hear from otherwise. I loved seeing the pictures and status updates of what was going on in their lives. It didn’t take too long for Facebook to become a source of connection, entertainment and even at times a form of personal expression.
For a little over five years FB had become a part of my life! Through of avenue of FB I had watched other’s and even my own kids grow up there through pictures and statuses. It connected me with some pretty cool organizations, inspirational people and worthy causes. It allowed me my own personal little window into the intricate, day to day details of the lives of friends, people I hadn’t seen in years and even many of whom I had and would never met.
At first glance, FACEBOOK seems like such a positive thing. At least for me it did. I mean, it connects us, broadens our world and gives us a voice!
Or does it really?
Over the past few months, that is the question I have been asking myself. Has Facebook truly done anything to strengthen my already existing relationships? And does it truly connect me with people I have never met and never get to see face to face?
Does the time I give away to it equal the value it adds back to my life?
Well honestly, that’s not a difficult question to answer.
And as far as the message of truth, how sufficient of a job do avenues like Facebook really have the ability to do in relaying and spreading it as it was first meant to be?
Somehow, messages…no matter how innocently proclaimed, tend to end up twisted and distorted into something completely different than how they were intended.
In more recent days each time I hit that button to “log on,” more often than not I found myself dreading what I might see. I found myself feeling frustrated, misunderstood and wondering if even my own attempts at personal expression had turned into something more of distorted exploitation of my own true self.
And all, with my permission.
I really knew I had an issue when I found myself “checking Facebook” first thing as I awoke each morning and last thing just before falling asleep each night. On top of the quick clicks to check it throughout the day when sitting in traffic, waiting on an oil change or just every spare second that I needed something to fill in the “holes” of daily life…. even the times when I really didn’t even want to be on there.
Yes, it had become a literal problem. Maybe even dangerously close to a bone-fide addiction. Because of smartphones, Facebook has become way too easily accessible and using it had become much too much a routine part of daily life for me. It was crowding out parts of my life that I think maybe were meant to remain untouched, empty and silent.
Not everyone has this issue, I understand. And I’m not proud to admit my own. But I’m sort’ve an all or nothing girl and sometimes I tend to struggle with moderation. I had tried several times to “lay it down” by “deactivating” my account. The problem with Facebook, is that you’re never really deactivated. You can reactivate your account anytime simply by signing back in and it so easily and quickly welcomes you back!
Honestly, how something a silly as a little social media site could get the best of me, I’ll never understand. But THIS time, I knew it was time to do something about it. And I realized that simply cutting back my friend list or even just deactivating Facebook wasn’t going to fix my problem.
So, one by one, I hit that “unfriend” button on all 2,000 something of the “friends” I had accumulated on my list.
It took DAYS. Literally.
But with each click on my mouse, It felt as if I was freeing myself of so many of the seemly small things Facebook had subtly caused me to struggle with over the past several years.
I truly want to live authentically. Not just say that I do. And something I read over at Pete Wilson’s blog the other day put the final nail in the coffin for me on my internal FB debate.
Choosing to be “real” over being “liked” will not be the safest thing you do today. But it might be the most rewarding. Constantly controlling your image so you get the good opinion of other people will not only exhaust you, it will keep you from looking into the face of the One whom you should be living your life for.
But while authenticity is the cry of all, it’s the game of few.
Do you know why so few people live authentically? Because it takes tremendous courage. You are constantly bombarded by a culture that is doing it’s best, day and night, to make you anybody but yourself. Letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are is one of the most courageous battles that we’ll ever fight.
I don’t know about you, but I have sure found myself in this trap… caring so much and projecting and predicting and wondering what other people think that all my energy is wasted there instead of living my life for the One who has created me.
I knew those words were for me – that day, that minute. And it was time.
Facebook had been such a seemingly small thing, standing in the way in a big way, of me truly being free to be who I am without apologies, without constantly worrying about how what I said came across and whether or not it offended someone. Or wondering if people thought my life is all rainbows and unicorns because people do tend to mostly post the happy, beautiful parts of life on social media.
…Or even worst, measuring my own worth and value by “likes” or comments of approval.
It just feels like that now, those who know me, will truly know me. They will know me because they’ve sat across the table from me at a coffee shop and saw the expression and emotion on my face as we listen to each other share our hearts, or because we actually do life together in some way.
I have just come to a place in which I am weary of being just another profile picture on a social media site; representing only a very small portion of the total person I really am.
With real feelings
and a real life.
And I’ve just come to the personal conclusion that part of what’s wrong with America is that we have raised up generations of people who have never really grown up because they are not truly living in reality.
And for me, Facebook has become so far from reality.
It’s time for me to grow up and be a big girl and live life in real life now.
“Goodbye Facebook, you were awfully entertaining for a while….but I just don’t need you anymore.”
The question that lingers on the inside of this girl’s soul, as does most all of us, “Do I matter? Do you see me? Am I heard and known- and still loved and valued?” Was never Facebook’s place to answer in the first place.