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A Week without Facebook

15 Jun

Last Sunday night, I challenged my wife to do a week without Facebook. We’re both quite active on social media, and so not using Facebook for one week seemed somewhat daunting. I’ve grown accustomed to checking in multiple times daily through the Facebook App on my phone. I’ve also grown so used to posting 4 to 6 times per week, that whenever something funny, interesting or cute happens to us, I immediately think, “Hey, that will make for a great Facebook post,” followed by the thought, “I wonder how many like/comments I will get.” Kind of pathetic right?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of feeling validated. All of us desire to be liked by others. It’s a very basic human need. I have always had a strong desire for attention, and I’m happiest when I’m performing on stage or when I’m telling a funny story at a social gathering and everyone’s enjoying what I’m saying. Facebook has become a “stage” for me — a place where I can share my story, including the interesting events of my life, the funny things I see around town or hear my kids say, some of my ideas and opinions, along with some frustrations and even some of my failings.

I decided to “unplug” for a week because I felt like I was getting a little obsessive about checking Facebook. I also felt like I was getting a little too needy — too concerned about “cyber validation.” I would base some of my self esteem on how many likes/comments I got on a particular post. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that, but I think it’s not uncommon for people to feel that way.

Now that my week off of Facebook is coming to an end, I’m going to catch up on status updates that I WOULD have posted for the week of June 9-15, followed by five lessons learned during my week off.

Status Updates

Monday
Facebook fast begins today. I’m hoping to get out of the habit of always having to have some input. It’ll be good for me to take a break and learn to be content with my own thoughts during my downtime.

Tuesday
My son James went with Robin and I to the Parade of Homes tonight. He was so excited so see these beautiful homes and looked so cute wearing these blue booties over his sandals that were way too big for his feet. He did get kind of jealous, wondering aloud why WE don’t have a basketball court or a swimming pool at our house.

Thursday
My heart aches for all of those (on all sides) who have been affected by the situation with John and Kate. It’s a VERY complicated situation in which there are no winners.

Saturday
I completed my second triathlon this morning! This one was an Olympic Triathlon at Rock Cliff Campground at Jordanelle State Park and it was twice as far as my first one two weeks ago – and twice as hard. It took me 3 hours and 21 minutes to complete the 1500 meter swim in the cold reservoir (thank goodness for my wetsuit), 25-bike ride (with strong headwinds) and 10K run. The scenery was incredible and the overall experience was cold, exhausting, frustrating and FUN!

2014-06-14 12.23.19

Saturday
Netflix just sent me an email letting me know that Season 7 of Toddlers and Tiaras is now available! I’m not sure why they thought I’d want to know that.

Sunday
Happy Fathers Day! I am so grateful for my wonderful Dad who I will always love and admire.

Dad Portrait

 

Five Lessons Learned from My Facebook Fast

1. Facebook is, by nature, a fairly shallow medium. Yes, there are often conversations that happen on it which get into deeper subjects, but by in large, it is superficial. It’s a great way to stay connected to friends from the past, but not a great way to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships.

2. Most people choose to present their highlights reel” on Facebook and, as such, it is often easy for us to feel that we don’t stack up, that our lives aren’t as interesting or fun as other people’s lives. I think unhealthy comparison and envy are easy traps to fall into when we forget that Facebook isn’t a true representation of reality.

3. I spend too time looking at Facebook. It’s a great way to stay connected and to communicate with friends, but I don’t need to read every single thing in my Newsfeed. The Facebook world will go on without me contributing to it or making sure that I don’t miss anything. I’m thinking that checking in twice a day for 10-15 minutes total should be plenty.

4. Cyber validation is nice (lots of likes/comments), but it’s not really that important. Hopefully something I share will be of some value to my friends — perhaps it will provide a smile/chuckle, a connection between us, a new way of thinking about something. However, my value (and yours) has very little to do with how many people “liked” something and everything to do with how well we’re serving and loving others and trying to make their lives a little better.

5. Connecting online is a blessing, but it can’t be a substitute for human interaction. It’s cool to have a network of friends and acquaintances that you can share your life with. I really enjoy reading about what people I know are doing/thinking. But the deeper relationships require time together. So when I’m together with the people I love, I’m going to be present in that moment. That means putting away the phone and giving my full attention to those around me.

So there you have it. I’ll continue to use Facebook as a servant, but I won’t allow it to become the master.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Random Thoughts

 

3 responses to “A Week without Facebook

  1. Mike Southworth

    June 15, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Right on the mark, Andrew! I related to and appreciated your comments. BTW, I also enjoy your Facebook posts…:-)

     
    • andrewalma

      June 15, 2014 at 7:47 pm

      And I enjoy yours, Mike. Congrats on the marathon time improvement. That’s awesome!

       
  2. Nate

    June 16, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Great thoughts and I love that you did this fast! In my opinion Facebook is very similar to watching TV. It’s easy to be so consumed watching other people live their lives that we fail to really live our lives to the fullest. I think the greatest problem of facebook is distraction from being productive at our life goals and that it takes place of time we could be reading personal development books. I challenge anyone who might be reading my comment to not only fast, but to replace the time spent on facebook with time reading inspirational books that will help you to develop new skills to create a better future for yourself and your family!

     

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