I used to be the Facebook queen. If you were my friend, I liked every picture, status, comment you posted. I knew what was going on in everyone’s lives via what they put on Facebook (which was all of their life, right?). I felt so in the know, in the loop, up-to-date, whatever you want to call it.
Lent of 2013 comes along. I pondered what would be difficult for me to sacrifice for 40 days and couldn’t think of a thing. Then a friend (doubtfully) challenged me to give up Facebook for Lent. I used a few lame excuses like “What if I get invited to an event and don’t know about it?” and “I need Facebook messaging because not everyone has my phone number,” but ultimately, I decided to shun Facebook for those 40 days.
And I loved it.
I was out of the loop and it felt so good. I realized that I didn’t need to know everything that was going on. The time that had previously been committed to Facebook scrolling was now being used for talking to the people around me, reading my Bible or any book for that matter, running, doing homework, and all inclusively and most importantly, for living life. Facebook was a cheap substitute for being present in peoples’ lives and my own life.
I am proud to say that Facebook addiction is a thing of the past. I still use it, but I barely spend 2 minutes a day on it.
(Twitter and Instagram are a slightly different story, but hey, baby steps.)
In order for social media to be used for the best, it must be used for its strengths and in moderation. Social media is a uniquely great (and cheap) way to connect those separated by distance, raise awareness for issues, and convey a message to a large group of people. Beyond that, it breaks into the displacement theory and takes time away from other things of quality. Social media users need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of social media and then use it accordingly.
See the trap and avoid it.