I was telling Kerry last night that since I’ve given up Facebook (by deactivating my account a couple of months ago, and resisting any urges to log in again “just real quick”), I’ve kept in better touch with friends. I write longer and more meaningful emails, have a few more phone conversations than I used to, and have even written a few old-fashioned cards and letters (the kind you put stamps on).
Not only that, I enjoy relationships more. I feel less tapped. I’m happy to see someone show up at the door on business, or to invite a neighbor in for a visit, or to go meet a new friend at the park, or to have an unexpected conversation in the grocery store. I look forward to these encounters, and feel more able to engage in a real and interested way.
Kerry had a good observation. He said with Facebook and other social media, it’s easy for us to feel saturated with news about other people, but it’s a saturation that doesn’t satisfy. We may still long for a more meaningful connection with other people, but when opportunities come, they can feel tiresome instead of enjoyable because we’ve been “relating” to so many people online.
I do miss a few things about Facebook. But I don’t think it’s as important a connection as I used to believe. The arguments that made it so hard to let it go aren’t really panning out. I feel more connected to people now, not less. Maybe turning to Facebook for a “people fix” is like eating a rice cake for a snack; it satisfies for a moment, but it’s really just empty calories that take away our appetite for more wholesome food.
I read a good book awhile back (“Margin” by Dr. Richard Swenson) about the benefits of de-cluttering life in general. I remember enjoying people in my life more after I took some of his advice, too. I recommend it.
From the book summary on Amazon:
Margin is the space that once existed between ourselves and our limits. Today we use margin just to get by.
This book is for anyone who yearns for relief from the pressure of overload. The benefits can be good health, financial stability, fulfilling relationships, and availability for God’s purpose.
Reevaluate your priorities, determine the value of rest and simplicity in your life, and see where your identity really comes from.