Pros and Cons of Not Being on Facebook–as according to Samara

As my one year anniversary of Facebook sobriety came and passed, I have been spending a lot of time toying with the idea of reemerging into that community.

I have swung back and forth many times in my decision, which, inadvertantly, has led to complete indecision and therefore a lack of any sort of action.

So, in response to my own indecisiveness, I have compiled a list of pros and cons to help my decision making process and, in turn,  help you understand whatever decision I end up making.

 

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(in no particular order…)

1.  When I was on Facebook I would often get annoyed with, what I deemed, ‘superficial relationships’; not being on Facebook alleviates this annoyance.

I felt like, if a person wouldn’t tell me the information they’re posting on Facebook in real life conversation, there is no reason I should know it because of Facebook.  Similarly, I didn’t necessarily want all of my Facebook friends to know things about me because of looking through my pictures and reading Facebook posts rather than having meaningful conversation with me.

(Side note:  I once met an old friend for coffee, we had been pretty close in the past, but hadn’t seen each other in a decent amount of time.  I was a little late and when I arrived I noticed that he had a list of things that we could talk about–each being the title of one of my Facebook albums, this really bothered me and I subsequently deactivated my Facebook account for the first time after that experience.)

Yes, I know that there are lots of ways to pick and chose which friends see what and you can now block people from your news feeds, but, if I’m going to chose to prevent certain people from seeing things and likewise prevent myself from seeing what they’re posting–what is the point of said ‘friendship’?  It comes down to complete social obligation.  Not being on Facebook gets me out of the social obligation to ‘friend’ someone I don’t really know and/or care about.

-A subtopic here is that my meaningful relationships back home have only gotten more meaningful as both parties take more time to keep the relationship going–be it through Skype dates, long emails or handwritten notes, the thoughtfulness of the relationships have increased.   I have more fulfilling relationships, just with much fewer people.

 

2.  Not being on Facebook helps me live life in Thailand.

Not having the escape of Facebook, keeps me here.  I don’t find myself thinking about home and dwelling on my past relationships and the fun things that I could be doing–rather I am given the opportunity to invest in the relationships here.

 

3.  Death to Comparison.

Lets be honest, there is a killer that sneaks around Facebook, whispering to us as we scroll down our news feeds

Well, maybe it’s just whispering to me, but that killer can convince me that these other people’s lives are much more exciting and fulfilling than the day to day life that I am currently living, or worse still, that I am not as pretty, cool, spiritual, educated, hip, ‘fill in the blank’, as such and such person over there.

Of course this killer of comparison doesn’t only live on Facebook and for those of us who deal with this, we need to keep our minds in check all of the time and be constantly renewing our identity in the Lord–but not having Facebook helps seriously limit comparison’s influence in my life.

4. The Stalker Bug.

This is another one of those ‘let’s be honest’ moments and this time I know that I’m not the only one…

Who hasn’t spent accidental hours in a whirlwind of stalker-esque activities while on Facebook?

While I am still able to go on a stalking binge if I feel the urge–not having a Facebook account easily available to me seriously decreases the urge.

 

5. Time Saved.

I laugh at this one.  It is a perk.  But the reality is that any time I do save not stalking people on Facebook is probably spent playing Words with Friends (or, in my case…Words with Strangers…as I don’t have any Facebook friends) or reading silly BuzzFeed articles.

BUT!  I could be more productive if I put my mind to it.

 

6. Freedom from Social Obligation.

This ties in almost completely to number 1; but it gets it’s own number because it is a big one to me.

Not having Facebook has elevated my guilt compulsion to say ‘Happy Birthday!’ or ‘Congratulations!’ to people I barely know, but has also caused me to be much more intentional in the relationships with the people that I do know and love.

If I remember your birthday, wedding day or that your child is being born sometime soon–it’s not because Facebook told me, it’s because I actually took note of it and have been thinking about you.  🙂

(Or…in the spirit of honesty, because someone else told me about it and I felt excited and wanted to connect!  Regardless, the connection is more personal.)

 

7. Not knowing (and thus, not really caring,) when a bad photo or a silly video (…uhhum…) of me is posted.

What I don’t know can’t hurt me.  Right?

 

8.  Not hearing about all the political stuff.

The reality is, (judge me if you will,) I don’t really care about politics.  BUT, if enough people that I deem ‘really awesome’ post about a certain topic, I will inevitably pretend that I do care and that I do have an opinion and then I will share my said opinion but completely un-educatedly.  No one wants that.

 

and now for the…

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1.  I don’t hear the news about some of my friends’ lives.

Yes, I realize I went on some decent rants in the pros section about not having to deal with superficial relationships.  And those feelings hold true, but there are other relationships that I’ve had in the past that are not superficial and I haven’t done a good job of keeping up with them.

There are plenty of people whom I’ve been very close to in the past and now they’re married with a baby on the way… and I missed it all. This makes me sad.

 

2.  Thai people use Facebook.

While, my not having Facebook helps keep me grounded here in Thailand, the reality is that 99% of the people I meet here use Facebook and expect that I do as well.

It can be difficult to take relationships past the initial meeting because I don’t ‘play Facebook’.  People are much more likely to send a Facebook message or write on your Facebook wall after a first meeting than they are to send an email or make a phone call.  I am included in this group of people.  I have to be incredibly intentional with the people I meet if I want to get to know them at all.

 

3.  I forget people’s birthdays, weddings and upcoming births…

…even when I’m trying really hard to remember, I forget.  Facebook is incredibly helpful with remembering special events.  So yes–if I remember your special occasion, you should feel really loved–but if I forget, it’s not because I don’t love you.

 

4. Events.

I am just not in the loop about things.  In Thailand, just like in America, community events are posted on Facebook.  I often find things out very last minute or not at all.

(Fortunately, my roommates use Facebook and are cooler than I am so they know what’s going on…)

*Similarly, I miss out on all the ‘cool spots’ people post about in Thailand and am again left relaying on my roommates’ coolness and have also just become settled with the fact that I’m not as hip as I once (thought) I was.

 

5.  I still find out when bad or embarrassing photos/videos are posted…

And I can’t do anything about it; no snarky comments or un-tagging can happen.

 

6.  I miss out on the blogs and videos that get posted and likewise am unable to post blogs or videos to share with you all.

It goes beyond blogs and silly videos… I mean, you all post awesome things on Facebook–songs, bands, teachings, educational materials… it’s not all politics and I miss out.

 

7. Keeping you all updated with my life.

A lot of you give me money so that I can live the life here in Thailand that I have grown to love.  While, I try to write blogs semi-often and send out email updates and paper updates to keep you in the loop, the reality is, if I was on Facebook I would be posting more pictures and sharing more tidbits of my life.

I think this is the hardest ‘con’ for me to come to terms with.

 

 

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As you can see, a lot of the pros have a con to contradict it, which has lead me to flip flop in my decision making many times.

Decision making is hard.

But, I have made a decision and for now, I am actively choosing not to reactivate my account.  (Actively choosing as opposed to simply not reactivating because I hadn’t made up my mind and status quo is easier than changing things up.)

This decision is primarily based off the fact that I came up with 8 pros and only 7 cons and that there are more pros that can’t be contradicted than there are cons.

There you have it.  It all comes down to simple math.

Thanks for walking through that mental processing nightmare with me.

xoxo

 

Hopefully the next blog will be filled with pictures of the new little people I get to spend my Tuesdays and Thursdays with.

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5 Comments

21/05/2014 · 01:02

5 responses to “Pros and Cons of Not Being on Facebook–as according to Samara

  1. Here’s 2 more cons so that the cons win out and you can come back to Facebook.

    1) You don’t get to hear Jacob’s laugh in the videos we post to Facebook.

    2) You don’t get to see how cute Caroline is in the pictures we upload to Facebook.

    3) And here’s a third: we really want to see more updates and pictures of your life (especially of all the critters that visit you at night 🙂

    Just ask Traci or Caleb to get on their Facebook accounts and show you videos and photos of Jacob and Caroline. Then you’ll be convinced you need to be on Facebook again.

    Our family wants you back on Facebook. Please come back. Pretty Please (with sugar on top!)

    • samara marie

      I am going to have to get on and watch your videos! Caroline must be almost a year now!!! How exciting!

  2. Paul

    In response to pro #1: This is true, and it bothers me too sometimes. For me, Facebook is an extension of real-life relationships. Of course it isn’t the same thing as a real-life relationship, but it has advantages. I would rather hear about things from real people. However, I realize that as life goes on, year after year, I can’t stay close to everyone I’ve known throughout life thus far. And Facebook helps keep me informed of things such as marriages, graduations, births, moves, tragedies to pray for, etc. in the lives of people that I may not talk to on a regular basis, but I still care about enough to want to know these things. It especially helps if I run into someone and know these things so it doesn’t seem like I’m totally in the dark. I don’t expect to know all the small details of someone I don’t hang out with regularly, but I still want to know about the big life events. These are things people passed on “through the grapevine” in the old days before Facebook… it’s not like in the old days people never kept up with old friends, it was just in a different manner.

    In response to pro #3: I agree. I read a great quote last year in an article about the band Over The Rhine. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” I liked that quote so much I shared it on Facebook, but of course you didn’t see it (ha!).

    In response to pro #5: This is true. There are times when I will go for several days or a week without Facebook to force myself to do more productive things with my time. Those days are sometimes quite enjoyable. I’m not the best model, but I prefer the moderation approach. Instead of being constantly on Facebook or disconnecting from it altogether, I try to use it in moderation. This works better on some days than others.

    In response to pro #8: Amen! I think the older I get the less I care about politics. I have a confession: we recently had our primary election in Omaha and I didn’t even vote. There was a time in my life when I thought it was the solemn duty of every Christian to vote. But now I’m sick of politics and don’t trust most politicians.

    In response to con #1: See response to pro #1. Last year year I gave up Facebook for lent. It wasn’t a bad experience, but my biggest “regret” of that experience is that I found out that Bryson & Alyssa had had their twins several days after everyone else did. With a big announcement like that people just assume you’ve already seen it on Facebook so mutual friends often don’t even mention it if you see them at church.

    In response to con #4: This was one of my biggest fears of giving up Facebook for lent last year. I still don’t know if I missed any great parties. Facebook is a great place to notify people of events. I have my notification settings set to email me with event invitations so if I’m taking a break from Facebook for a few days I still find out about events. People often don’t mention Facebook events in real life until the last minute (like you said). This is one of the reasons I wouldn’t consider giving up Facebook for good.

    In response to con #7: I disagree. Your emails, blogs and support letters keep us well updated on your life. At least I think they do. Maybe there’s a bunch that isn’t mentioned. But you certainly compensate quite well in terms of life updates for someone who isn’t on Facebook.

    Also, another con I would add is the lack of access to photo albums. One of the things I love about Facebook is being able to take photos on trips and post them later, along with captions. (I’ve gone on several trips over the past few years). Facebook is a great place to give a bunch of people you know access to your photos instead of carrying around a photo album or iPad to show to people when you hang out with them. It’s also a great place to view other people’s photos.

  3. Pingback: 7 Reasons to Quit Facebook | Story Time with Sunshine

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