Thursday, February 02, 2017

My Honest Letter To Facebook

Photo Credit: clasesdeperiodismo
I'm sorry, Facebook. It's not you, it's me. We've been together for nearly eleven years but I'm wondering if it's time for our relationship to end. You've changed. I've changed. The world has changed.

Things just aren't the way they used to be.

When you and I first got together back in early 2006, it was basically college students that were part of the network. Because I'm employed with an organization that works with students, you gave me special permission to be a part of this new world.

I felt special.

It was a lot of fun to reconnect with students who had been involved with our ministry or to see what colleagues had going on in their lives. Even some friends from my childhood signed on. We shared about the music we listened to, the movies we liked and did lots of silly games and quizzes. Lots of games and quizzes.

Then more and more people started to join. Eventually, it wasn't just people that inhabited the shared space of university life and students. Parents and grandparents started showing up. Even babies that couldn't talk were able to open accounts.

Things changed.

You listened to user feedback and offered more and more services. We were able to share all sorts of pictures and videos and articles and links. All that was on the Internet could suddenly show up on our Facebook feed.

I'm not sure when it actually happened but things took a turn for the worse.

Things got politicized. And things got nasty. And I got sad.

What was once a fun way to interact with friends and get to know acquaintances better suddenly wasn't so fun anymore. I learned that people I thought I knew had a completely different side to them.

I began to see abrasiveness and meanness in people that I experienced in real life as kind and considerate. I began to wonder: Is the person I know in real-life the "real them" or is the way they carry themselves on social media the "real them?"

As a recovering Pharisee, my struggle with pride and judgment is all-too-real. I found that seeing all the negativity from people was not helping me to love them as God wants me to love them.

So I sadly decided to "unfollow" a lot of people. And a small number I've even "unfriended." Not in real life. But, for my own spiritual health, I found it necessary in this pseudo world of social media.

I also realize that it's just not other people. I'm to blame, too. I've posted things that I've regretted. I've said things in a less than charitable manner. I've assumed the worst or been careless or haven't thought of others the in the loving manner that God does.

I hope things can get better but I'm not so sure.

If I'm honest with myself, I don't think you help me love Jesus or my family and friends more. Sure, there are occasional moments that you offer me inspiration or genuine laughter. I really appreciate the wedding and anniversary photos, baby announcements and seeing my friends children grow up, celebrations and even memes that bring levity to my day.

But, mostly, I find myself discouraged, irritated and frustrated when we spend time together. I just can't take the political harangues, the braggadocio cloaked in spiritual language, the arguing among strangers, and the complaining. (Wait, am I complaining here? Maybe so...)

This is not good and, if we're going to stay together, something needs to change. I'm not ready to give up on what we've had just yet. But you need to know that I have been thinking about it.

You've probably noticed that we haven't been spending as much time together over the past few weeks. I'm checking in with you every once in awhile but not nearly as much as I used to.

Sure, I'm still posting some things that I think people will find beneficial or humorous but I'm not going to be able to read through everything in my feed or "like" or comment very often.

I hope you understand.

If things get better, you'll be seeing more of me.

But, if they don't, I may have to leave. It'll be better that way.

No comments: