Facebook: Friend or Foe?

This past Sunday was Easter, which marked the end of Lent. As many of you know I gave up Facebook for Lent this year. Seriously, one of the hardest Lents ever. Even harder than the time I gave up TV, because so much communication takes place on Facebook. So why would I try to give it up completely? I asked myself this many times and I came to a few conclusions.

You know when you think something is really good then you get some distance and see it actually wasn’t that great? That’s what happened with me and Facebook during Lent. I thought it was just this harmless thing that I’d visit every day and it wasn’t a big deal. The truth is it was becoming my life…which sounds too dramatic for what I mean. Facebook was becoming my main form of communication. It was how I reached out to people, it was becoming my only connection, during the week at least, to my friends. The thought of calling them or texting them, never occurred to me, it was just Facebook.

I’m going to tell you how much time I spent on Facebook, which is sort of embarrassing. I know there are tons of folks out there that have Facebook on their phones and what not, but there’s something different about glancing at it quickly on your phone, and sitting in front a computer screen staring at it.
Each day the kiddo takes a nap for about two hours, give or take. Nap time is when I am able to get things done. Things like cleaning, reading, writing, watching something not age appropriate for my child. The other time I have to do these things is after he goes to bed at 7:30pm. If I stay up until 10:30pm that gives me around five hours of time to myself each day. If I’m being honest the majority of those hours were spent on Facebook.
I would spend at least an hour on Facebook while the kiddo napped, only squeezing in cleaning and chores right before he woke up. I would check it intermittently throughout the day, then check it again after bedtime. It was becoming my main way of communicating with people, my only way of keeping up with their lives and it was starting to get to me. I didn’t realize it at the time. I knew I was feeling lonely, but I couldn’t pinpoint why.

Once I gave up Facebook it made me reach out to people in more real ways, like by texting or (gasp!) calling them. Now that I know this I think my whole approach to the Facebook thing is going to change. I’m not giving it up completely but I’m going to try to be more aware of when it starts to overrun my communication.

I now have three general guidelines for myself when it comes to Facebook. The first is to not visit more than once a day, unless there’s something specific I need to look at. Something specific qualifies as an event invitation, a message from someone or pictures I want to look at; things like that. The next guideline is to not go on Facebook if I’m bored. If I’m bored there’s got to be something for me to do. I’m just avoiding it by thinking there’s something important happening on Facebook. The last guideline is if I’m feeling lonely and want some company, to reach out in real ways to my friends. I have plenty of friends here, many of which are stay at home moms themselves, so it would make sense to reach out to them.

Facebook does have it’s redeeming qualities and I’m glad to not have to wait until Sunday each time I want to check it, but it also has many pitfalls that can suck a person in if you’re not careful. I’m just hoping to be more careful in the future.

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4 responses to “Facebook: Friend or Foe?

  1. How ironic would it be if I posted this to my Facebook wall?

    But seriously, I think this post brings up some good points. I honestly would not have gone out on Wednesday if you hadn’t reached out and texted me – thank you. I’m going to attempt a “Facebook Diet” too.

  2. A really great post – I think most of us have some sort of thing we’re using too much, and it’s cool to see how you discovered your “sweet techie tooth” that needs to be cut back.
    Thanks for being so honest about the process. It is inspiring!

  3. Pingback: Lessons from my road trip to rural Oregon. « Holli with an i

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