I gave up Facebook for Lent when I discovered that I was frantically checking it to see who would wish my son a happy birthday, and getting upset when there weren’t enough ‘likes’ for my birthday-related post.
That was when I realized I was losing my mind. My FB use was unhealthy. It was Ash Wednesday. So FB had to go.
At first it was…weird not to know what was going on with all my neighbors and friends.
Then, people started sending me personal emails when they needed me. That was glorious.
Next, I discovered that pushing towards a hard deadline without the distraction of FB was a joy and a privilege.
Now that my deadline has passed along with four weeks of Lent, I’ll admit I’m feeling a little isolated.
The phrase I hear most often these days (from people who don’t live in my house), is “Oh, that’s right! You’re not on Facebook” before they fill me in on something that happened that everyone else knows about.
Yes, we’ve become so reliant of FB that no-one hardly anyone contacts friends directly to talk about stuff anymore.
I’ll admit it’s partly my own fault. I’ve come to loathe the telephone. But one nice friend did text me directly to ask if I’d heard the news about Terry Pratchett. The fact that she texted me (just me, not a random blast of friends on her wall) told me that she had thought about me and conversations we’ve had in the past. It meant a lot, and highlighted just how little we (I?) do this kind of thing anymore.
I have another friend who sends me things she thinks I’ll like *through the mail*. Not expensive things. Articles, fliers, books-she’s-finished-with. But things she knows I’ll like. Me, not some random subset of her audience of social media.
It seems very odd to be saying all this, given that I am the queen of the blog/social media network/text message. But I think my Lenten sacrifice is teaching me something. One-to-one interactions are meaningful. I shouldn’t assume that ‘putting something out there’ is enough. Sometimes a tailored, personal contact is exactly what someone needs.
I will stay strong. I will stay off FB. I will try to be better at taking the narrower path.