The woman who didn’t Facebook

“Are you on Facebook?”  I’m getting this question more and more these days, from friends and acquaintances alike.

My answer, always said with a slightly apologetic tone: “No.”

Let me say up-front that I don’t consider this a moral issue. It’s not like I think Facebook is the online equivalent of shooting heroin.  I just don’t think it’s something I should do.

My main reason is a practical one.  From my friends who are on Facebook, I hear that it’s a real time-suck.  Trust me when I say that the LAST thing I need is another reason to spend time online.   It’s kind of similar to my resistance to getting Tivo: I don’t want another excuse to plop myself in a sitting position in front of a screen.

“But it’s a great way to catch up with people,” say my pro-Facebook buddies, and I believe them.  I’d love to reconnect with people from high school, to get frequent chatty updates about what is going on in people’s lives.  As an author, too, I know that I”m missing out on a golden chance to network and promote my book and meet other people who are also kinda crazy about Mary.

But I know myself.  I know that it would be very, very hard to self-regulate when I could have the fun of logging on every ten minutes to see who has posted what.  This is exactly why I don’t buy industrial-sized  bags of gummy bears: I like them far too much.  That makes them far too dangerous.

I’m not a total Luddite.  I do blog, and email, which keeps me pretty busy as it is.  I fear that having something else to do online would steal time not only from these pursuits, but also from the soul-nourishing activities that are already getting short shrift: my books, my photo albums, my garden.  My prayer life.

Having said all that, I must in all honesty add that I could change.  My grandma used to have a saying framed on her kitchen wall: Lord, make my words tender and gracious, for tomorrow I may have to eat them. I may decide to jump into the Facebook pool at some point;  when I’ve figured out how to be better with my time, say.  But for now, I’m just blogging and emailing: you know,  those quaintly old-fashioned ways of communicating.

So what are your thoughts about Facebook?  I’d love to hear them.  I could still be swayed ….

11 responses to “The woman who didn’t Facebook

  1. Ok, so everyone knows I FB alot…or so they think. I am an insanely organized person and an insane multi-tasker, I have to be to get done all that I wish to do. I actually am not physically on as much as folks think, I am just able to jump on and off.

    What I LOVE about FB is it is that connection into SO MANY friendships lost, moved on (ie Grade School/HS/College, Church) When I was in MB it was a HUGE connection when I was so alone with two babies and now even a great way to connect with other moms when I am feeling overwhelmed AND in a quick way. I email, blog, have my websites, but this I can do all in one place as well. I am able to post photo’s, chat w/people, often read when folks need prayer…it is amazing all I can do! AND I choose what to do, I stopped doing all the games and extra’s and now I have real focus.

    As for FYV and my writing, I am fascinated by the networking I have done and the wonderful feedback when I write a piece from friends I haven’t even seen in 20yrs! It’s cool! I have a FYV Group and belong to many who do the work I do, it’s a great connection! You could post your articles in here and it is amazing the numbers of people who see and read them, I have found. For once you post it, someone then likes they re-post and on and on and on. I think it would undoubtedly sell your books and open doors!

    I am starting to sell a new DVD from my non-profit colleague and already doors are opening….I say go for it, just monitor it. I know you are really organized too, but if you ever want some hints on stuff I am happy to help. My brother always whines to me about not having the time, but if you knew how many jobs/projects I was working right now…anyone can do it 🙂

    Have fun!!! (And if you are up for it, I am open for a play date)

    Peace,
    Andrea

  2. I replied via email before reading this.

    In defense of Tivo, it has kept me from being glued to the TV at specific times; now I can choose when I watch certain shows AND I can limit myself to JUST THOSE SHOWS. It has also meant that we can watch “our shows” together…because if he’s not home or I fall asleep or any number of other things, well, it’s there. So I love Tivo.

    As for FB, no I don’t love it. I have self-regulation problems too. That’s why, though I am on FB, I am never ON FB. Not much, anyway. Because in the extra moments, I’m catching up on my #1 favorite online pursuit…blog reading! 🙂

  3. LOVE Facebook! I just need a few dozen hours to catch up on all the correspondence I’m months behind with, a few dozen hours more to actually visit the sites of friends I’ve reconnected with to see where they live, what their family situation is, look at pictures of their kids, pets, homes, etc. Since I never feel I have enough time to devote to coherent typing, I just don’t even bother to try and therefore have become the extremely neglectful re-acquaintance of all these people I used to know. Oh well! Of course, I desperately love checking peoples’ comments at the end of the workday – it’s a comforting and amusing way to spend a few minutes!

  4. Facebook is fun. I just got on it. My family and some friends encouraged me to try it. I agree with your friend Andrea that this could open more doors for you in touching other people’s lifes with your writings. You have nothing to lose and much to gain. I will look for you on there. Just ask me to be your friend. You can control the time you spend on there.

  5. hello! You don’t need FB to know Jesus, or old friends for that matter.

    Just don’t be like some, and call FB an addiction that is from the devil. FB is fun, but I limit myself to friending only people I talk to regularly in my life.

  6. Muchas gracias to all of you for the thoughts. You have given me much to ponder.

    A common theme I see in your comments (sorry; that’s the English teacher in me talking!) is the need to come up with ways to exert self-control in using FB. Perhaps I should get some practice with gummy bears before I even try the FB thing …

    So incidentally, a friend just emailed me to say that he was looking at the photos on a friend’s FB page. One of the pix is a group photo from the guy’s junior prom. Guess who turned out to be sitting in the second row in this group photo? Yes: little old me, aged 16. Turns out this guy had gone to the prom as the date of one of my high school buddies.

    So is that kind of cool or kind of creepy? And does it make me MORE or LESS likely to Facebook?

    I’m not yet sure. 🙂

  7. Why I facebook!

    I would echo some of the earlier statements here: I planned a 20 year hs reunion on facebook! It was great catching up and more importantly now staying connected to those folks. I’m now slowly finding middle and elementary school folks too. College friends of course are some of the main first connections I received.

    But as someone who uses the net a lot and helps run an internet mag and blogs regularly and has a podcast–I use facebook mostly as a way to push content. I write an article I post it on FB, Podcast–posted. In fact my blog automatically posts things to my fb newsfeed. One step.

    I get more comments on FB than I do on the blog itself–which has it’s good and bad qualities to it.

    I know younger people who decide what they are doing on Friday night based on what they see on FB.

    Mostly for me I use it to chat with friends on their chat system. Push content and get quick responses on an easy interface. And find old friends. And it’s made my surfing less frequent, not more. I even added it to my cell phone for quick reference on subways, etc (no, it doesn’t buzz everytime I get a msg–I turned that off.)

    A bigger question–if you don’t facebook–how will you ever Twitter?

  8. Michael Perez

    I think Facebook is DEFINITELY a mixed bag if you have concerns about self-regulating your time spent there.

    On the one hand, it has proven to be a way for me to “participate” in the lives of friends, both near and far, with a frequency that I otherwise cannot in “reality.” For example, when someone posts a comment, their status, or a link, it’s often the case that comments from one’s friends ensue. Assuming you have the type of friends that are mature and have an adequate understanding of the morays of online discussions, this can actually be quite fun and can serve as a way to “keep in touch” that doesn’t demand the investment of time (a precious commodity, as we all know) that writing a letter or email requires.

    Many have argued that this type of interaction with one another equates to “drive by” relationships that discourages deeper, more traditional interaction. I most certainly could see this as a potential pitfall in the case of a teen, but I don’t see it amongst the friends I have on Facebook.

    In the case of self-regulation, Facebook can be a problem. As a person that is fairly extroverted, I find myself drawn to the ease of random interaction and near constant contact with someone that Facebook can provide. I have thought to myself that my “Facebooking” while working on other tasks, might be leading to some sort of environmentally contracted ADHD that will ultimately render me incapable of focusing when there is work to be done, but until an article indicating that appears in respectable journal, I’m continuing to “roll the dice.”

    A more global concern about Facebook is that it is yet another tool that further enables an already overbooked lifestyle. Who hasn’t lamented the fact that given our druthers, we would all elect to spend more time in the company of friends if we simply had more time, but cannot? Does a tool like Facebook make it even more difficult to make the difficult choices in our lives about how we are structuring our time?

    We are wired for social interaction, albeit all to varying degrees, and Facebook enables interaction. The question is whether you believe that interaction is simply a new form, or whether it is something that prevents you from the real thing.

  9. Thanks for weighing in, Mike and Michael. I do have general concerns about the way that such technologies impact our attention spans … I see evidence of this in the teens that I work with. On the other hand, as you’ve pointed out, it’s like anything: if used wisely, it can be very helpful.

    Hmm.

    More to chew on.

  10. “I do have general concerns about the way that such technologies impact our attention spans … I see evidence of this in the teens that I work with.”

    Interesting…you know we are trying to homeschool Waldorf and they don’t do TV/Computers until after high school (minimal computers during) and it’s proven to be so much better for young people…FB is more for adults, I would say.

    Are you aware that you are getting some weird spam posts?

    Peace,
    Andrea

  11. Hey Andrea — just catching the spammy spam. Aargh! Will delete immediately.

    It’s really interesting to know that Waldorf limits TV/computers. There’s a lot to be said for that. You know, back when WE were kids, we had to amuse ourselves with prehistoric things like books and dolls and roller skates … and we turned out okay!