Monday, December 31, 2012

What I'm Doing About My Facebook Account

Yesterday in church I spoke about the importance of Making a Fresh Start.  Here's one of the things I am doing in my own personal life.

I don’t know about you but I’ve about had it with Facebook. For the last year I have had very limited activity on Facebook. I know that makes me an old fogey in today’s world, but Facebook has become detrimental to me (for a number of reasons). So I've decided to put some sanity back into my life by limiting my social media activity even more. No one (especially me) needs to be connected to the entire world. Life is too short for me to have that kind of electronic ball-and-chain.  Besides, I have better things to do.

I have a few personal guidelines for my Facebook account, as well as who makes it to (or stays on) my Friends list. Here are the hows and whys:

1. Facebook is a place where all the people on my “friends list” come together in “one place.” Do I really want this to happen? Think about it. Facebook is for everyone. That means my family is on Facebook, along with my closest friends, co-workers, my in-laws, a bunch of people from my past, casual acquaintances, people I knew in middle school, the guy down the street, church members, former church members, friends-of-friends-of-friends, adversaries, snoopers, trollers, gossips, loons, critics, and a colorful assortment of others. DO I REALLY WANT ALL THOSE PEOPLE TO COME TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE (on my Facebook page) and POTENTIALLY KNOW EACH OTHER THROUGH ME? No way! That's insanity.

2. The signal-to-noise ratio is ridiculously low. For all the time I have spent on Facebook, finding anything worth seeing or reading involves wading through volumes of insignificant information.  You know what I mean.  Most of it is silly, useless, or offensive.  I don’t have time for it.

3. If you are on my ‘Friends List’ it’s because I already keep track of you someplace else. If I see you at church, at work, in professional circles, or in friendship circles, you’ll probably make it to my Friends list because it means we are already talking face-to-face or by phone.

A while back I trimmed my Facebook friends list. The criteria for keeping people on my list was pretty simple (a) family, (b) friends whom I see in real life, (c) people whom I have had some type of direct contact within the last year, and, (d) I actually have some interest in maintaining a relationship with the person.

It’s time for me to do this again.

4. My relationship connectors are already full. The thing is, I’m only one dude with a limited amount of time, attention, and emotional energy.  I simply can’t maintain 632 friendships on Facebook. Can you?  I don’t believe anyone can – at least not the type of friendships I’m interested in maintaining. I have a lot of friends (the real kind), and my life is very full. I simply do not need hundreds of artificial friends on my Facebook list.

5. Facebook makes me too accessible. Through Facebook, anyone can contact me at any time about anything and for any reason. I’ve had too many personal plans ruined by the latest so-called emergency or gossip that came to my attention via Facebook.

6. Facebook makes me to too visible to the public. If I’m fishing, on a vacation, out to dinner, or on a road trip, I don’t want everyone to know what I am doing at that exact moment. I hate it when someone takes my picture and immediatley posts it on Facebook for all the world to see.  The idea of getting away is to “get away.”

7. You are being judged. All those poeple on your Facebook friends list are looking at your pictures right now.... and judging you. Do you need that? I don't.

So here’s what I’m doing:

1. I am not deactivating my Facebook account, because I will use it to post links to my blog from time to time. However I will no longer use Facebook as an “in box.”

2. I am trimming my Facebook friends list using the criteria mentioned above.

3. For those who would like to stay in contact with me, you can follow me on my blog: I will continue writing and posting pictures there.

4. Or you can invite me to have a cup of coffee sometime… like people used to do.

5. If you call me on the phone and there is no answer, you will find me in a van down by the river:  I’ve gone fishing and my cell phone is turned off

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