We have all seen the qualitative sociological research articles starting to come out by the dozens. Facebook is being blamed for the rise of teen suicide, insecurities, public slander and relationship woes. The hours of lost productivity, ignoring our spouses and children, neglecting those sitting in the same room with us. Not to mention the mental gymnastics of trying to have a relationship with someone via updates, instagram pictures posted and the small but very significant soul validating "Like". Huffington Post had this interesting article about Facebook and our Love Lives, complete with "tips" at the end to make sure social media doesn't get blamed for any more breakups than necessary. Or cited in any more divorce proceedings. Yikes.
One interesting response to this article I read was the acknowledgment of the pink elephant in the room: our lack of boundaries and self control. As of now, Facebook will only come up on your computer or phone if you GO TO the site, although I'm sure Mark has something in the works that will cause your computer to automatically shut down if you don't check your page once an hour. Kind of like an energy saving light switch. You either do the action it wants you to do or an automatic and highly annoying consequence occurs. Like lights going out while you are sitting in the public bathroom and haven't moved in a few minutes.
But the problem isn't Facebook for me. The problem is the fact that Facebook so brilliantly taps into desires of my heart I thought I left behind in Junior High. Like people looking at my pictures or giving my random thoughts a thumbs up. For a lot of people, this isn't a problem. I have talked with quite a few of my friends who were appalled to learn that after I post a status update I go back within minutes to read it over again and check to see if anyone had validated what I found interesting or funny with a thumbs up or a (!) comment.
For those of you who visit my blog with any regularity, you know that my life is full. I am a wife, mother of two, and work as a part time nurse and full time Mama. I am a member of a small Anglican order which requires a large comittment to read and learn, I do a community Bible study on Thursday morning which also requires an element of study during the week, I have weekly playdates with other Mamas, I (try) to keep a home in order and nourishing food on the table, I am training for a marathon (part of a relay team, don't get too intimidated), looking into graduate classes to start working on my DNP and watched three seasons of Parenthood in one month on Hulu. When do I have time to be on facebook?
The answer is- in any free moment of time. I have a Google Nexus, so even though our computer was moved to the third floor to be out of the way, my tablet is in easy reach for a two minute fix. I have taken the Facebook app off of my phone 3 (!!!) times, the last being on a road trip to Philadelphia after Grant literally told me he felt insignificant because I was checking facebook instead of listening to a playlist he had made for me. Even writing that sentence fills me with shame. My husband made me a playlist of music he had discovered and wanted to share with me, and I was reading an article posted by a girl I went to high school with.
There are very few people I went to high school with that I like. It was a long time and very different time ago for me. Why I wanted to read this article is a mystery. But there I was. Reading it. No boundaries. But she had left me a thumbs up on a picture of Pursy the week before and I felt like I owed it to her to read what she was reading.
So as I read over all the lovely birthday wishes left on my facebook wall on Wednesday (thank you to everyone who took the time- it made me smile to think of how I know each of you and the wonderful turns my life has taken over the years) I realized that as much as I love the idea of being able to get in touch with so many beautiful human beings, the whole of Facebook isn't good for me. If you could spend 5 minutes with Purslane, you would wonder how I can stand to do anything else but hang out with her every free second I have. She is fantastic. And Knox... that guy does not take kindly to waiting a minute for juicewater while I post an instagram picture to my wall. Especially if the picture is of him... asking for juicewater.
And Grant. I love being able to brag about him publically, but those of you who really need to be grateful with me that I found such a gem of a guy either already know or I probably texted you about the awesome thing he did for me recently.
I love writing letters on quality stationery. And getting cards in the mail. And even text messages. I like walking through the farmers market talking about ways to use rhubarb. I really dig sharing a beer on my couch or a walk through the park. When I am doing those things, I don't think to check facebook. I don't feel disconnected or desire affirmation. Some of those only work if you live close by, but even my dearest and bestest who live far away feel more solid to me when we connect off of facebook.
So. I have read the research and seen the reality in my own days. I have debated and decided and reneged. And have finally decided that Facebook is no good for me. If you want to keep up with my random thoughts and instagram pictures, please become a follower on my blog, My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want my cell phone, email and I will happily give it out. I will also share my address because my mailbox loves a good card with a stamp in the upper right corner and some handwriting on the front. My Facebook account will go dark this weekend.
Now to go make a loaf of handmade bread with fresh herbs. And I will leave you with the question, If bread gets baked and there is no facebook account to share it on, is it still delicious?