I’ve been thinking for some time about unfriending myself from Facebook, due to the many things I’ve come to dislike about it:
- Lots of fake news that too many people continue to believe and worse, pass along to others who believe it
- Too much talking-point or meme-oriented politics, with little open and honest discussion
- Often, any attempt to have open and honest discussion is reacted to with vitriol
- Sometimes I mindlessly scroll and scroll and scroll through countless posts. When I add up all the minutes, it seems a waste of time that keeps me from better ways to spend my time
- Privacy issues
However–and this is what makes the decision so difficult–there are also a few seemingly irreplaceable things I love about it:
- Staying in touch with friends and family I wouldn’t otherwise be in touch with
- Seeing photos of families, vacations, etc.
- Notifications of events
I am just as ambivalent about what Facebook has done to us as a society. It’s been a effective tool for getting to know each other and for staying in touch. But, it’s also caused us to communicate less face-to-face, to lose our ability or desire to empathize, and to cling to our tribes and become more divided.
In the upcoming political season, (actually, the previous political season never ended) the chasm between us will become even greater, much with the help of Facebook.
Which brings me to the purpose of this blog post. I’m giving up Facebook for Lent. As I considered what to give up, I looked up the meaning of Lent:
Lent is a penitential period, involving the dual disciplines of abstinence and fasting. During Lent many Christians commit to fasting or giving up certain foods, habits or luxuries – for example meat, cakes and sweets, alcohol, smoking – for its duration (the money saved is often then donated to charity). This is done both as a form of penitence and as a spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.
“A spiritual tool to tame the body and ‘sharpen the spirit’ for prayer, reflection and contemplation in preparation for the celebration of Easter.”
Giving up Facebook sounds just about perfect.
I hope to write more during this time of reflection. Though I’ll be logged out of Facebook, I’d love to stay in touch and just happen to have a “Contact” button on this blog. 🙂