Back in the beginning of December, I posted about cutting out the Face. I thought I would give you a little update about the effect that’s had on my life. There have been downsides, and I’ll just get those out of the way now.
Suck Number One
For one thing, the argument that I always used in favor of Face – it’s how I keep in touch with long-distance friends – was valid, in its way. I’m cut off from people who perhaps live in another state, or who I just don’t cross paths with often. But I’ve reminded myself that, honestly, if we were that close, our friendship would have withstood the end of my Facebook. I mean, if we’re not willing to put forth the effort to send an email or make a phone call in order to stay in touch, nothing against these people, but we’re obviously not BFFs, right?
Suck Number Two
The second (and last) downside: people looking at me like I’m crazy. Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t everyone. Actually, a person’s response to learning I don’t have Facebook is typically one of three. Many people are quite pleased. “You mean, there are humans under the age of eighty who function without Facebook? There is hope for humanity!” A few people have a guard up about it, as in “Well, that’s great for you. I still think Facebook is great, though. So don’t you try to evangelize me.” A handful of times, though, people have basically treated me as though I’ve come down with some debilitating illness. “Wait. You deleted your Facebook? You mean, you had one, and you deleted it? But … why? Well, why does it matter if it sucks away your whole day? But I won’t be able to look at your pictures anymore! But how do you talk to people? But – but – but -” I’m just waiting for someone to ask if I don’t have Facebook because I belong to a cult.
Now that we’ve got the lame out of the way, though, here’s some awesome.
Awesome Number One
I usually check my email in the morning. Not the moment I crawl out of bed, but not long after. And it used to be that “checking my mail” meant looking in my email account (which was empty save for junk mail) and then checking Face. I’d reply to messages, get ‘caught up’ on my news feed, look at pictures, leave comments, read linked articles, etc. An hour later (and sometimes more) I’d resurface with sore eyes and notice the kitchen needing cleaned. Of course, by then, my son would need his diaper changed, and I’d have to go to the bathroom, and of course I’d need breakfast. And after all that work, I’d figure it’d be time to check my Facebook again.
And then, one day, I just deleted the darn thing. After I checked my email, some sort of muscle memory in my fingers twitched to go see the Face, and then I remembered I didn’t have it. For a couple of days, it was uncomfortable, like the feeling after switching to a new pair of glasses. Then came the pleasantly disorienting sensation of not being attached to my computer. Which leads into …
Awesome Number Two
This one’s simple. There are twenty-four whole hours, every single day. And I just won two of them back, to do whatever I want. I can piddle them away with a movie (which I do, from time to time) or I can pray, or I can read, or I can write, or I can take my kid to the park. Heck yes!
Awesome Number Three
So, when I deleted my account, I assumed I would just have to deal with losing my cyber friends. These were people I’d met in real life (that’s a rule of mine) but who I primarily keep in contact with on Facebook. I collected emails and phone numbers before the Big Deletion, just in case, but felt pretty sure I wouldn’t be using them.
And then my friend Erika and I started emailing each other. I don’t remember who started it, but we have emailed back and forth several times. Without the Face connection, I had assumed I would miss any updates on the upcoming birth of her son. I wouldn’t learn his name (which they kept under wraps until his birth) or see any pictures. This refers back to Suck Number One, losing touch. But instead, Erika kept me up to speed when little Jonah was born, and when he had some health problems, I prayed for him. (He’s home and healthy now, praise God!)
Those emails, though maybe small gestures in themselves, verified that Erika and I have a genuine friendship. We care enough about each other to take the time to send a personal, private message, rather than just shooting off a sentence or two because we thought about it because we were already on Face. Maybe that’s not huge, but it’s reassuring. And Facebook couldn’t have done it for me.