Saturday, May 4, 2013

Retraining Myself in the Old Ways

Lately, I can't stop thinking about the joy of mailing birthday cards to friends, and the fun of hearing news by word of mouth, face to face - the "Did you hear that so-n-so is engaged?!" "No, really!" (not, "Yeah, read it on Facebook."), and the connection of praying on the phone with a long distance friend. Tonight, I read an excellent article written by an author and youth worker, Rebecca Cusey, about "breaking up" with Facebook. I have never wanted to abandon Facebook completely, and still don't. It's the most common form of communication today, and a great way to find old friends, and a good way to get feedback from a lot of people (e.g. "Does anyone know where I can find this kind of store in my town?" or "Does anyone have a good recipe for chicken enchiladas?" - very handy indeed). But I've been feeling for a while that something has to change.

Go read Rebecca's article...she hit the nail right on the head. Facebook has taken the place of true connection with people.

I post banalities because realities would be too much. I respond with comments when in the past I would have sent a sympathy or congratulatory card. I’ve realized, a thoughtful wall post is no substitute for a visit and a gift of a casserole.

This is what bothers me the most. I mean, I just mailed my sister's birthday card a week late. Lame. I've trained myself to jump on the computer (not just Facebook) whenever I'm done with present work and want to zone out and not face reality. I've lost so much time for prayer, for letter writing, for calling old friends. All of that matters so much more to me than anything I read on the internet.

Another thing is that I want my son to pick up good habits from me. Gracious...he knows already that when I'm on the computer I'm not really connecting with people - and he proves that by shutting my laptop lid on me almost daily. "Look at me, Mom. I'm here. Enjoy me!" If I am actually relating with people on a real basis, he will learn that from me. 

So in lieu of deleting my Facebook account, I'm limiting it. I use a wonderful tool for Firefox called Leechblock that allows me to literally time myself on the site (I also use it for Twitter now, too). And tonight I changed the settings on my timeline to limit how people can contact me. If you want to say something to me, send me a message, or pick up the phone and call me. If you don't have my number, or address, or email, send me a message and ask. Likely I'll be asking a lot more of you for your personal info, too, soon. I'm also going to limit my own posts. I know every time you get on Facebook you are bursting to read what I write about my little boy (insert sarcasm), but I'd rather tell you about his goofy antics in person.

This isn't going to be easy. But I want to retrain myself in this. I'm tired of letting myself be controlled by social norms. I miss people. And I want to connect with you for real.

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