I have a confession to make.
You're probably going to need to sit down for this one.
Okay, are you ready? Sitting down?
I only check my Facebook account once a week.
You weren't expecting that one now were you?
And you are probably reading this right now because you clicked on this post where I share it, on Facebook.
I'm not opposed to Facebook by any means. I actually love the idea of it. It's helped me connect with old friends, stay in touch with family from a distance, and will be a huge help in planning my class reunion (in the future).
It's also a great tool for publicity and business. I love sharing my ideas on Facebook and reading people's responses. Actually, a lot of my friends stumbled upon this blog from Facebook.
But, I think Facebook has a dark side.
It can be a substitution for genuine relationships. A replacement of face-to-face interactions.
What do you do when you're bored, lonely, or avoiding work?
Me? I checked Facebook. Scrolling through pages and pages of News Feed, reading peoples statuses updates. Looking at pictures.
Learning about what was going on in people's lives without even having to talk to them.
Oh, but I was really good at pretending I had. When I stepped back into realty and met up with other friends I would talk and talk about what other people were up to. All the information I obtained was from Facebook.
"Oh, yeah they just had a baby."
"Well they've moved to Florida."
"Can you believe his hair is that color?"
Talking about them just like they had called and told me themselves. Like I was actually genuine friends with them. Engaged in their lives. In a real relationship. Not an electronic one.
I was really just pretending. Because it was easy. Just following people, giving nothing in return. No hardwork, or love, components required for real relationships.
So these past couple of weeks I've been trying to be mindful. Of my time and my effort in relationships. Mindful of the distraction technology plays in my life. Mike Donghai says it best:
"I’m mindful of the ways that technology encroaches on my life. The sneaky way it steals me away from the things I truly value. And even the way it alters human relationships and social networks."
I'm not saying cancel your Facebook account today. I'm certainly not.
Remember, we're going for Simple not Crazy.
I'm hoping to stimulate us to start being mindful of our time and engage in genuine relationships with people. Here are some simple things to try:
Be genuinely interested. I read an article by Scott Dinsmore from the blog Reading for your Success. It was about personally engaging people and not letting technology let you forget to be human. Living in real, sometimes messy community with people is how we build lasting bonds with people. Sometimes it's difficult, but definitely worth the journey.
Send them a Facebook message. You can use Facebook to really connect with people. I really like sending messages on Facebook. It's more personal, deeper way to connect.
Limit your number of friends. Great suggestion by Mike. Are you really friends with the 798 Facebook friends you have? Ask yourself why you decide to accept friend request. Is it just to increase your number? Are your real friends getting lost in the masses?
Set a time limit. This was a great tip from Tammy, she even suggest setting a timer. Check out her post, she has great ideas about limiting your computer use in general. You could even join me in a Facebook Diet, only logging on once a week.
Write a letter. Pick up a pen and scratch out an encouragement note for a friend that is going through a rough patch. Or send someone a thank you note for just being awesome. Put in writing how much you love someone. Trust me it will make their day.
Get up and do something. Take a walk with a friend. Plan a dinner party. Call your Mom. Surprise your significant other and take them out to lunch. Be engaged with people and form a strong community around you.
We are relational beings, let's live deeply with one another. Face-to-Face.