I finally did it. I quit Facebook. I have successfully deleted my account, after my obligatory 14 days of account ‘deactivation’ where facebook patiently and silently waits for you, hidden in the tall grass, to come around to your senses and re-login. But, I never came to my senses. I never logged back in … and I have been fairly happy with my decision. I’d appreciate if you’d tell my friends what I have done … oh, but that might involve sharing it on the platform I just left … ironic maybe?
This was a big deal for me to leave facebook because like most of internet-savvy America, I spent WAAAAY too much time on it. I very much enjoyed my time on the site; I got to know exactly what was going on in the lives of all the people that I know, love, and care about. I got to see pictures – which I contend is the killer app of facebook when combined with the ‘feed’ – which showed the smiling faces of my friends, their children, their parents, their grandkids, and people I knew I need to meet one day. The feature I liked the most with pictures was that I no longer needed to bring my camera to places – somebody was going to take pictures and by tagging me, the pictures automatically came ‘running home’. An enjoyable killer app indeed.
But the fact that I enjoyed it so was part of the problem. This ‘perfectly personalized pipeline’ of news I cared about, the dream of most content providers, was an absolute time suck. It is the go-to “I’m bored” site – but it is also the site which made me exclaim things like “I’ve been on here for how long?” I ran into a 12-year-old a few weeks ago at a hotel that was on facebook for several hours, and I asked him about it – it was his fifth day after being introduced to the site through a school-mate. This preteen already had 50 some ‘friends’. His review was “It’s awesome and much better than MySpace – facebook let’s me see what my friends are doing.”
What led me to unplug from being updated on what my friends had for dinner was a book on Godly purity that talked about ‘running light’. This particular lesson started out with the following scripture found in Heb 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” The book then asked a simple question: “What things will you ‘throw off’ so you can run light?” This question bothered me – it bothered me a lot in fact as shown by the next ten minutes; I argued back and forth in my head the pros and cons of facebook. No joke, it was 10 minutes, sprawled out on the bed just before I was to say my night-time prayer. I don’t watch TV during the week, I rarely go to movies, I try to stay away from the mall – I thought I was pretty light already. But see, in one of the earlier days’ lessons, I had already identified facebook as a gateway drug for other problems – so my argument for keeping it was all the good it was providing.
Facebook was good – it was a tool that offered a wonderful service to its members – and this is still the case. However, just as any tool, like guns, knives, taut-kitchen-towels, and even websites themselves – tools can be used for good and bad. And let’s just say I was not always the most responsible symbolic-gun totin’ dude. So in this case, in my own scribbled words at the time, “I am having such a cow on removing fb – maybe that is a sign I am addicted.” This began my thought process of wondering, do I really need facebook? Yes it is nice – but is it also weighing me down? – dare I say even ‘hindering’ me like the book of Hebrews talks about?
There was a time before facebook that life existed. There was a time I needed to get through my senior year in college and turned it off for a few months. But this seemed to be something more. This seemed to be something deeper. I felt a cleansing coming on. I wanted to run light.
So I deleted my facebook account.
One of my friends found my absence on ‘THE social network’ by unsuccessfully tagging me in a recent facebook note. She then sent me a nice text message that said, “*Gasp!* Jason Nitzberg, you are dead to the world of facebook! O.O *Mourns!* T-T -.- …” She is right, I am dead to facebook – which has it’s disadvantages; i.e. I can’t always get ahold of everyone as quickly as I used to. So I’d love to make sure I have my friends email – so please, send me a nice note with my contact page – and I’ll keep it in my records this time.
Last Thought: It is not that facebook, as a tool, is bad – it is that I am not wise enough yet on how to properly use it. The problem is, I’m kinda guessin’ I ain’t the only one. Facebook addiction, soda addiction, TV addiction, and the like is more prevalent than anyone would like to admit. I may return to facebook one day – but not for now. I need to grow up. If you are looking on how to delete or deactivate facebook yourself, see the following guide. Facebook even has a really cool backup feature.
I recently wrote the following about idolatry – which can become a matter of degrees for any subject: “We often think in the church that idolatry is from a time long ago – but it is alive and well, in fact thriving in the church. The problem now is that it is hidden … masked … and we can’t see it like the old version. Wood gods have switched to company name badges, the piney grove to the stadium, the little mini-gods to the glowing electronics in our pockets.”
If you made it down to here, then thanks for reading. I appreciate anyone who comes by and reads. Since Thanksgiving is just a couple days away – I guess this is my opportunity to say ‘thanks’ – and hope to see you in the non-digital world sometime soon friend.
And while you are at it, read what several people from google have been reading on my blog about the ‘Cranberry Upside Down Mystery‘ – where the mystery of why cranberry cans have labels put on upside down is revealed.