I’ve met you a dozen times, and you’re exclaiming (like everyone else) that there was an earthquake. I haven’t seen you in five years, but I know what you ate for breakfast. We went to high school together and I just spent a half hour looking through an album of your kids.
Facebook is a time-suck. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that. And I don’t know why but I play the Facebook game. I get sucked in and spend hours looking at… nothing, really! Photos of your dog. Your kids. Your trip to Utah. Photos of a people I’m not friends with but we have a mutual friend that was in an album with them and they don’t have privacy settings turned on. (Am I the only person who does that? Usually it’s photos of weddings. I love weddings.)
Probably the thing I hate most about Facebook is how I end up playing the comparison game. “Wow, person A is living in that exotic location?” “Wow, person B travels to Antarctica for her job?” “Wow, person C married that beautiful specimen of a human being?” “Wow, person D ran another marathon?” “Wow, person E is finishing grad school?” I know that no one’s life is perfect, but the Facebook version of everyone’s is often super sanitized. And it makes me feel inferior.
Or even worse – I’m ashamed to admit – is when I play the Facebook comparison game and start feeling superior. “Look how much weight she gained!” “He’s my age and working a minimum wage job?” “If I was her I wouldn’t want those photos of me doing shots posted for the world to see.”
So I sat down and said to myself, “Self, is what you do and think on Facebook glorifying God?” No! That answer came back quickly. I think it was Don Miller who said that one of Satan’s greatest weapons is getting us to waste time. Plus, pride and self-loathing? Not exactly tools of God.
What to do? Quit Facebook? No. There are some people very dear to me that I don’t get to see often but like to keep up with, and we often do that via Facebook. So I’m going to stick around, but I have a plan: newsfeed purge!
I hid people. A lot of people. The biggest group was those who haven’t seen in some time but I still get all their posts – which means I spend time reading them and clicking their links. I also hid people who are truly great people, but for some reason I can’t stop comparing myself to them.
Who stayed in my newsfeed?
- People I like and see often in real life.
- People that I am very good friends with – even if we don’t see each other often.
- People that have very encouraging and uplifting things to say – and not in a cheesy or hoity-toity way.
- People that I admire or inspire me (e.g., friend I haven’t seen in five years that does roller derby, or friend I haven’t seen in ten years but is chasing her dream by moving to Prague).
- Among those that I admire or inspire me: fellow bloggers!
- People that crack me up (e.g., friend’s sister who’s kid really does say the darnedest things: Where in the world are my flip flops? I can’t find them anywhere! “Mommy check my pillow case.” Found them.)
- People that don’t ever really use Facebook so they’re never on my newsfeed.
My newsfeed is kinda sparse now. Like Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree. And I like it that way. Hopefully it’ll keep me from spending forever on Facebook doing… nothing. And if I do find I want/need to know what’s going on in someone’s life, it’s easy enough to unhide them.
Like many things I do, it’s an experiment. A challenge. Maybe you’ll want to give it a go yourself. I promise not to be offended if I fall into your list of people that need to be “hidden”.