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