Friday, June 21, 2013

A Year Without Facebook

Over a year ago, I deleted my Facebook account.

You read that right.

Other than my mom, I don’t know anyone without a Facebook account. There were many reasons for the decision, but mostly I just felt overexposed. I felt overexposed not just for myself, but for some of my “friends” on my timeline. I couldn’t wrap my mind around why someone who hadn’t spoken to me in years, and wouldn’t know me if they crossed my path on the street, was now my “friend” and telling me what they ate for breakfast and the last time they passed gas. Okay, maybe no one actually posted the last observation on their wall…but it was just a matter of time as I had “friended” all my teenage nephews.

The original reason I signed up was because a good friend was moving far away, and we both needed to feel like a day hadn’t passed that we didn’t see one another. Once she had a baby, we really needed Facebook to keep in touch…until she couldn’t post pictures because someone got creepy. This didn’t help my desire to stay “plugged in.”

But now that a year has passed by, I have seen how deciding to not be a part of the social network has kept me from staying in touch with some very important people in my life. I was missing “I’m pregnant” tagged to a sonogram picture. “I said yes!” with the important change of the “single” to “engaged” relationship status. I wasn’t invited to parties and I missed some good deals at some of my favorite places. I also missed the news of the loss of loved ones to people who I really love. And probably the biggest thing I missed was getting an encouraging word or sending one…I loved that about Facebook. It was like the “warm fuzzy wall” we had at camp when I was growing up.

So why join now? It’s going to sound a bit like “Christianese,” but I’m learning that I can be in the world but not of the world. I don’t need to be absorbed by it…I can make decisions that limit how much I’m exposed and I can definitely limit what I want to be exposed to. The reality is I want to see my friend who lives on the other side of the country share her favorite memory of her mom on mother’s day. I want to be included as someone celebrates their birthday or the purchase of their first home. I want to pray for someone when they can’t convey their need in any other way than a status update. And I want to “like” it when they post that the prayers were answered. And although I prefer a hallmark card via snail mail or a catch up over coffee, I realize that a lot of people don’t use a stamp anymore and time or distance is not always on our side.

So I’m back on board. Or should I say, “I’m back on the wall.” Feel free to “friend,” pin, poke, tag or post on my page if I can call you friend without the quotation marks.

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