In recently quitting Facebook, I walked away from a fantastic blessing. I’ve enjoyed catching up with friends from the past and present, seeing their pictures, and knowing what they’re doing. I’ve even made some new friends because of Facebook.
This brings a certain sense of continuity. In some small way, Facebook might be like heaven – everyone we’ve ever known, their place in our lives scrolled out before us as on a screen, with no mysteries about “whatever happened to so-and-so?” It will all be known, even as we are each fully known.
But Facebook exists in our fallen world, full of the brokenness with which we’re all familiar. Plus, keeping up with all those people on Facebook is overwhelming for me. That’s part of my own brokenness.
Reason #2: Facebook makes it more difficult for me to pay attention to the people and tasks in my immediate surroundings.
I have recently been re-diagnosed as having ADHD – Inattentive Type. Paying attention is hard for me even under the best of circumstances. I have a constant chatter of thoughts in my head, many of which get incorporated into my writing (when I make myself sit down long enough to somehow write something cohesive).
Facebook doesn’t help. For me, it’s not about the time spent online. It’s about the chatter in my head. When I read Facebook status updates, I think about them long after closing down the screen. I wonder why one friend said this and another friend said that. In my best moments I pray for people who asked for prayers in their posts, and in my worst moments I spend negative energy judging people for what they chose to post. I try to remember to say “happy birthday” to my friends on their walls. I loved reading the happy birthday wishes on my own wall a few weeks ago. I think about the people who wrote those nice things, and wonder when I could get together with this friend or that one. How could I reach out to them beyond Facebook, or should I reach out at all?
These thoughts take up space in my brain. And then when Brad wants to talk with me – really talk – then I have to tune out those Facebook-driven thoughts in addition to the regular chatter of my ADHD mind. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes when my kids ask me their deepest questions, looking to me for that real guidance and love that only a parent can provide, I have a hard time making the space in my head for them, because there are so many other thoughts bouncing around that I just simply can’t focus.
Facebook isn’t the entire problem – I can get mentally distracted by an airplane in the distant skyline. But part of managing ADHD is limiting how much data enters my brain. That is my second-biggest reason for dropping out of Facebook.
More to come…