I now have until November 14 to reactivate my Facebook account before it is deleted forever.
Telling people I was getting off of Facebook elicited noticeably odd reactions in some cases. “That’s a big step,” one person noted. Apparently, it’s a move that in our culture carries weight.
It was as though I was letting people know that someone in my family had died (though no one has). Or that I was splitting with my wife (which I can say most assuredly I am not!). Or perhaps that we were leaving our church and moving because of some irreconciliable conflict (again, not at all so).
But it’s not at all like any of these above scenarios. All of the above possibilities are situations that have the potential to upset and even wreck the applecart of our lives.
Meanwhile, I deleted an app on my phone and left a social media platform.
There are stories of people having left Facebook and other social media, leaving others to wonder if they’ve died!
Perhaps those who have abandoned social media have simply come to life in more important ways.
In a recent podcast a Christian thinker I have long appreciated referred to Facebook as “Satan’s urinal.”
All of this has left me with a somewhat surreal feeling. It makes me ask: How much do we depend on social media like Facebook? What did we do prior to Facebook? And what would we do if for some reason Facebook was no more? What would fill the vacuum?
Heaven forbid it would be healthy conversations and relationships!
I appreciate authors and thinkers like Jonathan Haidt and Jean Twenge who have done some work helping us understand the impact of social media on us as a culture, from our mental health, to parenting, to the state of our universities. I highly recommend their books, The Coddling of the American Mind and iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us.
Many of us are not nearly as intentionally reflective on our habits and practices, and especially how thoroughly digital technology in the form of smart phones and social media has infiltrated how we live our lives and interact with others. We often live unthinkingly at the whim of technology.
Is it any surprise that creators of social media in the documentary, The Social Dilemma, refer to users as the product?
Meanwhile, I await November 14 with anticipation.