Challenge: Facebook extrication!

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”.

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