What I Really Think About Facebook

 

I like Facebook. I like it a lot. And I’ve liked it so much that I’ve struggled with being on it more than I should. I think it’s a common struggle in our culture. I mean, most of us want to be “plugged in” all the time. We love new information. We like to know someone is always out there on the other end, hopefully listening. It helps us not feel so alone in this life. And there’s nothing wrong with these things.

But, I’ve struggled and wrestled around with Facebook for some time. That is, I’ve been wondering if it’s actually helpful at all. Because, though I enjoy seeing what my friends are up to, staying “connected” to my family, and posting things and receiving feedback, I’ve also loathed my seeming incapability to turn the blasted thing off and focus on the folks right in front of me. The ones with their sippie cups that need refilling and their snotty noses that need wiping and their train tracks that need to be seen because they’re the best train tracks EVER!

I get irritated that my Facebook usage is sucking the creative juices right out of me. I want to be writing a book. I want to be making art. I want to be dreaming big and digging into things that take a fair amount of time and focus, but first I have to check my Facebook. And then I have to check it again. And I just have to check out that one link that my friend posted, and watch that one quick YouTube that says it’s the most hilarious YouTube in the history of the world, and before I know it, my creativity is zapped, and I feel drained and defeated. And then I’m ready to delete my Facebook forever, but somehow I just can’t. I might miss something.

So, I’ve been doing a lot of praying and a lot of thinking and a lot of asking around and the thing is, I still don’t have it figured out yet. But, I do have some thoughts. My Daddy taught me something when I was younger and learning how to make big life decisions. He told me to get out a notebook and write out all the pros and cons of the situation and then step back and look at it really good. And after praying, of course, that piece of notebook paper could surprisingly help me to decide what’s best to do. So, this morning I did that. I was actually really surprised. (Thanks, Pa. See, I did remember some things.)  

Here were some of my pros:

  • Getting to interact with friends and family that I otherwise wouldn’t have any other context which to communicate with. (This is especially important to me regarding my cousins and aunts and uncles that I never get to see.)
  • The feeling of being “connected” to grown-ups throughout the day. (Being a stay-at-home mama, this is especially nice. I miss the comradery and companionship I had with folks when I worked full time.) 
  • Sharing my life and family with people. (My mama especially enjoys the pics of the kids and what we’re doing throughout the week. Makes her feel not so far away.) 
  • Easy way to get a hold of people quickly. It’s just really convenient.
  • An outlet with which I can share my heart, thoughts, things I love, things I wrestle with and I thoroughly enjoy that. It’s satisfying to me. Getting to know others and being known by them.

Now, this isn’t all the pros but you can see there are a lot of them. Now for the cons, which I kinda already shared up there:

  •  Incredibly distracting. Why can’t I just turn the thing OFF! This tendency to check it every time I’m in the room. Sucks up a lot of my time.
  • Squelches creativity. The constant urge for more information/interaction keeps me from investing in long-term projects. It’s like I get a quick-fix and then I no longer want to focus on something that requires more of my brain. (I actually read a study that showed how constant connectivity effects our productivity like a marijuana high! I believe it.)
  • Feeds insecurity. Did I get enough “likes”? (I know, it’s ridiculous.) Did anyone comment? Did anyone even care? Oh, shoot. What if I said something dumb? Am I dumb now? (Yes, embarrassing to admit, but true.) 

So, there you go. And as I looked at my little notebook paper, I saw that my pros did outweigh my cons. And the thing about my cons is, most of them could be eliminated, if I just practiced DISCIPLINE!

Now, I know this blog post is getting kinda long, but I just wanted to tell you a few more things. You know how I said I’d been doing lots of praying about this? I’m just so glad and blown away that God hears all our feeble little prayers and He really has answers for us. This morning, I sat down to read and in my normal daily Bible reading, I found myself in I Corinthians 10. Did you know God has a lot to say about social media? Okay, maybe Facebook isn’t mentioned in the Bible, but I sure saw a lot that applies. I’m not going to write out all the verses, you’ll have to go read that chapter for yourself. I just want to tell you what I gleaned from it, and what God spoke specifically to my heart. Here goes.

  • Don’t let Facebook (or anything else for that matter) become an idol of my heart. God is who I get my worth and value from. Not people. Period. (verse 7)
  • Realize your weakness. Admit it. (verse 12)  I haven’t been practicing self-control at turning the computer off? Just admit it. Maggie–you’re not good at this. This is something you need to work on. Something you might need some helpful input from others who have a handle on it.
  • Remember that God is big and He’s faithful to you. He’s big enough to help you with this. It’s a common struggle. Don’t beat yourself up. You can do this. God will help. (verse 13)
  • It’s good to reevaluate from time to time if this is helpful. It’s not wrong, but is it helpful? Is how you are using it helpful? Are you seeking to promote yourself, or are you using it to invest in others? To build them up? (verses 23-24)
  • Whatever you do, Maggie, whatever you invest your time in, do it for God’s glory. You were made for His glory. You can’t mess up when you live your life fully aware of Him. (verse 31)
  • I’ll say it again. Don’t be all about yourself. Be about others. Don’t let the focus be what you can get, but what you can give. (verse 33)

Alrighty then. I don’t know if this was helpful to anyone, but it sure helps me to process things this way. Like I said, I don’t have social media figured out, but I’m not content to just live my life aimlessly. For some reason, I’ve just got to know there’s purpose. It’s all got to mean something. I only have this one wild and glorious life. I want to spend it well. (God, may You get the glory.)

And thank you, again, for listening.

4 Comments

  1. by At your service: on February 20, 2013  5:28 pm Reply

    I really "like" this but it takes too much brain power to say anything constructive about it. Don't judge, a complete sentence is is almost too much to ask for! Where is the "like" button??? ;)

  2. by Maggie Paulus on February 21, 2013  4:00 pm Reply

    Ha! Oh, I'm with you on losing brain power. Two plus two is chicken, right?

  3. by Melissa on February 21, 2013  2:15 pm Reply

    I feel exactly the same way about Facebook, and have been trying to figure out how to take advantage of the pros without suffering from the cons. Thanks for writing this, I believe this was just what I needed to read!

  4. by At your service: on May 30, 2013  4:34 am Reply

    Yes! Exactly... but I think the chickens may have flew the coop. :)

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