Friday, June 13, 2014

The Facebook Dilemma

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a video of a guy urging people to quit Facebook. (Yes, a bit ironic.) The final straw for him: apparently FB has added (or is adding, I don't remember which) a new feature where they can listen in when you post a status, determine from the background noise where you are and what you're doing, and add that to your status. Something creepy to that effect.

The video post also had a link to another post explaining how to permanently delete your Facebook account. And another explaining how to "quit Facebook without quitting Facebook" -- how to set-up your FB so that you're not unwittingly sharing info with the scary world that could take advantage of it but still keep a very limited presence there for the times you need it.

Quitting Facebook without quitting Facebook. I've considered such a notion in the past.

Privacy wasn't my concern -- although now I'm wondering if it should be. I've always figured that I have nothing on my page that I want to hide from anyone, and I'm a pretty boring nobody in the world. Who would care about my life enough to stalk my page and go through the effort to find something there to use to against me?

No, my concern has been that Facebook has become far too much of a presence in my life. Especially since I got my phone that yells an ugly "DrroOOIId!" at me every time something of any significance happens on my account. I spend way too much time stopping to see who liked my last status.

I spend way too much time reading comments from people I don't know on things I've commented on recently.

I spend way too much time scrolling my newsfeed for the rare amusing or interesting item.

I spend way too much time reading articles my friends have posted that may be amusing or interesting, but most of the time don't add much of real value to my life.

But there are things I would genuinely miss if I quit FB altogether. Things that I really do think add value to my life. For one, my world on FB is much wider and more diverse than my world in real life. If I only interacted with the people I see face-to-face, I would for the most part only be interacting with other straight-laced conservative Christians in our own social class (especially since our move to Texas). Frankly, that may be very comfortable, but I don't think it's good for me -- not socially, not intellectually, not emotionally, not spiritually.

I would also have a pretty limited understanding of a lot of issues facing our country today. Hearing what my differently-minded friends think of what's going on in the world forces me to try to understand issues from another point of view and helps me solidify why I believe what I believe -- and sometimes change what I believe when I clearly need to do so -- and often have more compassion or respect for others with whom I disagree.

I would also miss the connection with scores of people around the country from multiple eras in my life whom I would never communicate with if it weren't for Facebook.

The other problem with quitting? The vast bulk of my blog readers come from the links I post on Facebook. Yes, I mainly blog for my own benefit, but it would stink to do all this writing and nobody read it.

I'm torn. Social media is like a drug. Even when I'm determined to only look at FB twice a day, I'm drawn back in by something that presents itself as important enough to be an exception. I can't partake in moderation. I'm afraid I need to go cold turkey or give up the fight.

Sigh. First world problems. (Note that I didn't put a hashtag on that. Thank God I never let myself even LOOK at Twitter.)

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