Monday, August 23, 2010

Facebook - what to do?

I have now been on facebook for 3 years. In that time I have developed a love/hate relationship with it. I check it several times a day. I want to know what certain friends are up to on a daily basis. For other people, I want to read about the big events. Every couple of months, I consider cancelling my account. In fact this very week I received this email from a friend:
I thought I'd let you know that I have deactivated my facebook account. It wasn't good for me. It indulged voyeuristic tendencies (reading other people's conversations) or made me feel like I was missing things when I didn't go online. So if you would like to contact me, just use good old-fashioned email.
Sometimes, I wish I had this friend's resolve.

Another friend has commented to me they have lost respect for other Christians because of the self-indulgent time-wasting nonsense they regularly write. That certainly made me think.

Here are some of the ways I have chosen to manage facebook:
  • I hide everyone who writes too much. Especially if you post about nothing. You fill up my page with your stuff and I just don’t have the energy to sift though it all.
  • I hide people I don’t know well. If I don’t talk to you in person, I don’t tend to read your stuff.
  • I use the privacy settings a lot. Many people can’t see all my photos, or my status updates.
  • Please, if you never write anything – give us an update once a week or so. Over 75% of my facebook friends never write anything and I would love to hear what they are up to.
  • I must look at it less. This has been an issue with me for almost the whole 3 years.

In the end, I don't think facebook is wrong or evil. Some things it offers are great. Yet I continue to be uncomfortable with it. It appeals to my addictive personality. I lack self-control in many things, and this is just another one of them.

My current decision is this:
  1. I will keep my facebook account for now
  2. I need to keep analysing why I use it and how
  3. I am going to restrict my facebook time to 10mins, once per day
  4. I am going to try some facebook holidays - a day offline every week, and perhaps even a week offline every month.

Ahhh, the dilemmas of the online life.*

* which, when compared to many people's actual lives, are nothing indeed!

1 comment:

Tom said...

Curiously, I have recently found myself with not enough time to check Facebook! I'm not keeping up with what people are doing - must check it more. By 'more' I mean more than about once a week.