The other day I decided to deactivate my Facebook account indefinitely. Some have indicated that they would like to read my reasons, so I offer them in this brief post.
My decision for leaving Facebook is my own, and this article should not be construed as a list of rules as to why you should as well. I have no ability to dictate or determine how one uses their time and energy. We all have decisions to make in life and, as I am often heard saying, “life is about choices.” This decision is one I made, for me, and for no other reason.
My Reasons for Leaving
First, Facebook is a source of stress, sometimes, due to the drama that usually takes place in the discussions and status updates of others. It is a place where people often vent and rant and spout off with little or no thought as to what impact their words will have. I have been guilty of this too often, and the best way for me to stop is to leave. The medium does indeed control the message and debates on Facebook usually have little profit, at least in my experience.
Second, Facebook has become a place where the potential to waste significant amounts of time is real. Again, I am not speaking for anyone else. I am speaking for me. Many of my readers know that I am a busy pastor of a small congregation. As a result, I do almost everything necessary for the church to operate day-to-day. I prepare two sermons a week and write my own Sunday school material. I counsel and disciple young Christians and visit the members in their homes. That is my calling, and I have found that the hours I waste on Facebook take me away from those primary duties and responsibilities. On top of all that, I am called to pray, as are all Christians. I seriously doubt the Lord will accept my excuse that I did not pray enough for the people He entrusted to me because I was on Facebook (or any other social medium). Christians are to redeem the time because the days are evil. The potential to waste time is simply too great. I have heard people tell me they don’t spend that much time on it. However, if you add up 5 minutes here and 12 minutes there for an entire week, I suspect the time spent would be shockingly large.
Third, Facebook has the potential to be a place to “promote self.” Again, I have been guilty of this too often. I know of no other way to avoid that issue except to remove the temptation.
Fourth, I see little value in knowing every action, thought, etc. of people. I know I can block them or remove them from my friend’s list or unfollow them. For me, that is too much of a hassle. I opted to stop the process altogether. The flip side of this issue is that I have often engaged in this activity (for instance, check-ins to a certain location. Really? Do people care where I am?). I am not that important and do not think I need to let people know everything about me — where I am, what I am doing – etc.
There are probably other issues. The first two are the primary reasons. None of these are profound.
The Value of Facebook
There is value to Facebook, to be sure. It is nice to stay in touch with loved ones and friends who live outside your area. It is nice to see pictures of people you care for and hear what is going on in their lives. However, for me, that represents a very small fraction of why I am on it. Another benefit is seeing recommendations regarding books, articles, etc. from others. However, I can get that information through RSS feeds as well as Twitter (which does not require a ton of time at all because I set up lists and quickly scan valuable items).
Those who read these reasons may disagree, and that is fine. Again, these are my reasons. I doubt anyone will care why I left Facebook. Again, I am not that important. I wrote this for my benefit.