I was listening to Pastor Brad talk about Lent. (which I think means “Spring” in German but go here and get the skinny) Typically a Catholic tradition, he suggested that we should give something up for a time to focus on spiritual matters. For some this fast, or denial, means giving up chocolate or some other guilty pleasure. For me this was Facebook. I handle Social Media for a few companies and am always stressing its importance as a marketing vehicle. I am a member of all the relevant sites and spend good portions of my day/life promoting the business of “me”. Deactivating Facebook was the natural choice. It IS the big daddy.
My over-blown sense of self told me to warn everyone that I would be off FB for a while. I mean c’mon, what will they do without my biting wit and keen sarcastic observations?
“Hey everyone, I will be off of Facebook until April 1st”.
With all the fanfare out of the way, I deactivate and make sure to “opt-out” of the email notices. Now to focus on my spiritual growth…
There are many, many businesses that are tied to Facebook. One of them is Apple and this means my iPhone. The latest software update included your Facebook and Twitter account settings as a part of the devices’ quest to be a helpful time-saver. The deactivation sent my phone scrambling to get me to sign back in. Every action, every app opened, every email prompted a “pop-up” for Facebook. This got annoying quickly so into the iPhone settings to turn that off. That should stop ole’ Facebook, right?
Wrong. I am also an Words With Friends junkie. Let me tell you that without the tie to Facebook, not only is it tough to get signed in, you fall off the face of the earth to your competition. I had to email and call friends to get their alternate usernames to continue playing. That took a bit of doing but I was back on the circuit!
Klout. I like to think I have some. Without Facebook I’m a bottom-feeder. Klout is a measure of your social media influence and some say soon to be as important as your credit score. We’ll see. My score dropped like a rock! Even though I post regularly on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest, I lost points daily. Facebook: it’s what’s for dinner! The Klout app also whined that I need to sign in to Facebook. For Pete’s sake buddy, SIGN IN! Your score is plummeting!!!
Microsoft emailed me because of my Xbox Live account (that I never use) and prompted me to reconnect. And down the line it went. You get where I’m going with this: Facebook’s roots go deep, real deep.
Now what about me. I mean the fleshy me. I’ll have you believe that I live an exciting and fast-paced life. I’m at the gym, I’m eating sushi, I’m on the Bay Bridge, I’m in a band, I am friends with pretty people, you really should get to know me, really. Truth: 80% of the time is actually spent working and sleeping. That means sitting at a desk or lying down.
During my fast I did some really cool stuff in that remaining 20% which, until now, I could not post. I thought it would be no big deal, but I found myself texting pics to someone who would recognize the events’ greatness and comment appropriately. “Rad dude!” – Yea, rad indeed! In the past 40 days I have taken a polygraph examination, filed a lawsuit, completely rewired a guitar, broke up with my girlfriend – twice, got promoted at work, attended an event at UOP with Condoleezza Rice, and dozens of other cool things I would have loved to have bragged about.
Then, after a few weeks, the inquiries came. “Dude?”, “Dude, you alright?”, “So you think you’re too good for us?” I had a friend from grade school (who I heard was dead) contact me from Linkedin and say “Where are you? Are you off Facebook? Did you get dumped?” No Bud, I didn’t get dumped (wait, yes I did) but that’s not the reason. I’ll be back soon! My brother Scott, who I don’t talk to until football season, even texted asking what happened. What Happened? That’s it! Something is assumed to have happened to you. No one just deactivates their Facebook account on a whim. I see dead people who still have accounts. (I see dead people?)
So I have to ask: Is Facebook a part of your life? Is it just something you do at lunch or before bed to get a chuckle? Maybe check up on friends or family? Or is it your WHOLE life? Do you get anxious that you might be missing something? Are you pissed off that your friend is having lunch without you? Are you changing your profile pic daily? Are you taking all the comments, or lack there of, as a personal insult; stewing on your perceived slights and then posting cleverly worded passive/aggressive messages in hopes that a certain someone you were too chicken shit to face sees it? There is no way to be a part of this social monster and not come out with some hurt feelings or resentment. I have to remind myself that it’s for fun and to try and be kind to those whom I may not agree with. (remember to just “hide” people from your news feed, you’ll come to your senses in 30 minutes or so) My de-friending (un-friending?) is stuff of legend and I’m working on my blocked list. I don’t want to be defriendly.
As the lure to post subsided, I found that just like anything else that you neglect, it fades. There is work to do, goals to strive for and people; live people to interact with, listen to, care about. I did find that I worked out less. Without the reminder that all my gym buddies where hitting it hard by seeing their posts, I just did my thing. My thing is sometimes really lazy and that’s alright. We all should try to take ourselves a bit less seriously. This is recommended conduct for Facebook also.
I found out that life, with or without Facebook, moves on. I will get along without my cell phone. I won’t cease to function without my iPad. If my car breaks down, I’ll ride my bike. If I get hungry enough I’ll kill something and eat it. (Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that!) Admittedly I am a tech junkie, but also a child of the 70′s. I remember rotary phones, Changing the channel by hand, 8-Tracks, The Pet Rock, Big Wheels, Nerf football in the front yard… New things come and go, but simple pleasures are always the best.
I’m looking forward to returning with a fresh perspective. I worked out less and did not pray any more. It’s not Facebook, it’s me. I’m always the cause of my problems. I like my friends and I like my Facebook friends. They are one in the same. In fact, I have met everyone who is a friend on my page. I need their encouragement, their wit and troubles. It’s a wonderful idea – connecting. Just need to keep it in check.
Now, let the games begin!!!