Three weeks ago, I decided to stop logging on to Facebook. I felt the need to isolate myself from social media and focus more on other things. I also have personal reasons for it but I won’t go into further details anymore. Hopefully, when we get to talk, I can explain all my reasons for staying away from social media. I just want to share three negative effects I have observed and learned while I was “fasting” from Facebook.
#1 – Facebook eats so much of our time
I know this one’s really obvious. This was actually one of the biggest reasons why I did this. I wanted to allocate time to other things rather than going online and checking news feeds. I’m a SEO specialist by the way, which requires me to go online every day. At work, at home, even when I’m on the go, I need to be online on Facebook. I’m estimating that at most, 20% of my day is spent on Facebook. When I decided to stop going on Facebook and logged out on my mobile phone and internet browsers, I suddenly had more time to write. After July 11, I was able to write 5 articles. I wasn’t able to share them on my Facebook wall though. Maybe you can help share them, and even network with my blog. Aside from writing, I had more time to read as well. I was finally able to finish one of the books I have been trying to read since last year. Being away from Facebook has also helped me prepare for my preaching last July 21st. How about you? How much time do you think you spend on Facebook? And if you do, momentarily stop using it, what other important things can you attend to?
#2 – Facebook stops you from intentionally reaching out to people
With Facebook out of the way, I found myself texting people more and responding earlier to some text messages. Sorry to those I still send late replies to. Hehe. Thinking about it, I realized that news feeds are great when it comes to keeping us updated with what’s happening in our friends’ lives. The downside is, we feel so updated that sometimes (I’m not saying all the time), we don’t make the effort to reach out to them anymore. To get to know them deeper and just be there for them. Sometimes we feel like the news feed is enough to know that they are OK. We forget that before Facebook, people would just pick up their phones to call their friends to intentionally know how they are. Sadly, this isn’t happening so much anymore due to the overwhelming feeds we see and read every day. It feels like I know what’s happening already, I’m good with that. If you’ll take Facebook out of the equation, you’ll get that urge to just reach out to your friends and know what’s happening in their lives because you want to be updated. Because that is how isolating yourself from Facebook can make you feel – out of date, which brings me to my last point.
#3 – Facebook becomes a false necessity.
I was driving one day when I felt like there was a part of my life missing. So I started to really think about it. By the way, I’m not talking about having a girlfriend! I just want to clarify that! (Trying not to feel guilty ). I realized, I felt like a part of my life was missing because I wasn’t up to date with my friends. I asked myself why and the only answer I could really think of is that I wasn’t active on Facebook. This lead to me to conclude that Facebook has become such an integral part of my life that being away from it for 3 weeks felt like I lost a part of me. And this shouldn’t ever be the case! We really need to be careful about this. Facebook is not a need in life. Man once lived without it and we can still live without it. Yes, it made life a lot easier but we cannot accept the mentality that Facebook should be part of our daily lives. It is really not a necessity. Even in the Philippines, where Facebook is widely used, people need to realize this. We have the choice to go with the flow or not. We can choose to still use Facebook but not get addicted to it.
I just want to clarify that I am not against Facebook. I see the importance of it and I value the use of it as well. What I just want to point out is that we need to learn to balance the use of it. We should learn to manage our time very well. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 6:12:
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
Even though the context of this verse is about sexual appetite, which is also hard to control, we must also not be mastered by Facebook. We should not lose control of our time and we should make it a point to use it wisely. With the power of the Holy Spirit (just like sexual appetite), we can control our use of social media. Spend time going through God’s word rather than going through news feeds on Facebook. I know it will bear much fruit.
Try logging off Facebook for a while and let me know what you learn. Leave a comment below and let me know what do you think are the negative effects of Facebook.