Why did I delete my Facebook account?

I deleted my facebook account.

Taking the plunge to delete my account - hopefully for good - was challenging. First of all, facebook makes it difficult! I had to google how to delete my account in order to actually determine what needed to be done. Once you find the deletion page, facebook tries to guilt trip you into staying by pointing out how you will be missing out on Molly’s birthday party or won’t know what’s going on with Frank. Once you can push past all of those hurdles and your fear of missing out, you still need to wait 14 days for deletion. This has nothing to do with the difficulty of deleting and everything to do with hoping you will change your mind before the two weeks is up.

So what’s my deal? No, I do not think technology is evil, wrong, or sinful. Saying that technology is evil is a false way of viewing the world. Technology, in and of itself, isn’t evil at all, though evil people have used it for their twisted means. In the right hands, with the proper discipline, and a healthy focus, technology is wonderful and can have incredible impact for good. Just think about what social media has allowed people like Charity Water or Preemptive Love to accomplish for the benefit of the overlooked, forgotten people of this world.

Technology should be a tool and not a master in our lives, and, for me, this has always been the struggle. It should help me to work hard and accomplish what needs to be done, not something that controls my life, but from the time I received my first Nintendo at the age of six, I had a hard time controlling my time spent in the virtual world. From video games to facebook, the blackhole of technology has changed over the years as I have grown up, but the struggle has remained the same. Still, social media, as a manifestation of technology, presents some unique challenges and difficulties. So, why did I do it? Why delete facebook?

A few weeks ago there was a young man who was tragically and accidentally shot by his girlfriend while filming a youtube video. Holding a book to his chest, she shot him at point blank range with a Desert Eagle. The book did not stop the bullet. When asked why they did it, she said they had hoped that it would garner more subscribers to their youtube channel.

First, in a world where “it’s all about the likes”, I don’t want my children growing up any more narcissistic than we already are naturally. Even though I may not perform crazy stunts to be seen, my children are growing up in a world that is obsessed with 15 seconds of fame. Perhaps one of the best ways that I can model freedom from that trap to my daughters is by not feeding it at all.

Second, I want to be in the moment more. So often, I have caught myself much more engaged with trying to catch a photo of the sunset rather than simply enjoying the sunset. Which is more important, watching my daughter take her first steps or ensuring that I can catch it on video for everyone else to see? I was struck when, a few weeks ago my daughter did something funny and asked me, “Do you want to get your phone out and record that?” I simply smiled and said, “Not everything needs to be made into a video, my love, but that was really funny!”

The other day, my hygienist at the dentist office (who is taking a course on social media at the university) pointed out that people on facebook and twitter statistically spend the most amount of time with the people they know the least. So, third, I want to spend more time with those who are closest to me, not more time thinking about those who are the least connected to my life. It is time to stop living in a fear of missing out or being left out and start embracing the wonder of true community once again.

Fourth, I want to rekindle a love for the unplugged life. I grew up playing in the creek, climbing trees, and hanging out with friends. We didn’t have the internet in our home. I didn’t have a cell phone until I was a Junior in college. That is a world my children will never know (unless the zombie apocalypse happens!). I want to do less, not more. I want to enjoy the outdoors, a good paperback book, making smores under a starlit sky, and long walks along the beach with family and friends while my phone stays safely parked inside my house or truck.

How about you? Are you trapped in the endless pursuit of ‘likes,’ followers and attention? Are you in the moment or are you plugged into a screen? Do you sacrifice time with your loved ones so that you can make empty chit chat with people you barely know while browsing funny cat videos?

Take some time this week to wrestle through these things with me. I am not saying that everyone should quit facebook, but maybe you, like me, would benefit greatly from taking the plunge.