Live your real life (or, Why you should stop giving Facebook so much of your time)
One year ago, Jimmy Kimmel said this about Facebook:
“No one needs to know what television show you’re watching or what you just ate, or if you’re feeling hungry, or tired or anything. Those thoughts should stay in your head, they should not leave your head. …Share a little bit less, I think is the message here.”
We’re in a time where we are addicted to sharing personal and intimate things with people whom we don’t even know. Albums from honeymoons, from camping trips, from our mornings…what are we doing? What has made us so helplessly addicted to broadcasting every detail of our personal lives to people who are on the other side of the world—people that may have added us just to raise their friend count up a notch? Have we lost our sense of privacy? Have we lost the meaning of moments meant to be shared between two people?
Jimmy Kimmel is right when he argues that “people are wasting a lot of time on Facebook talking to people and catching up with people who they don’t want to talk to or catch up with.” What we are essentially wasting our time on is this: posting about how we’re feeling or what we’re doing, and then using a service to read how other people are feeling and doing. Ten years ago, we didn’t even care about this. Of course, we may have called an actual friend to catch up, but Facebook is like catching up with thousands of people you don’t know to hear about things you have no interest in. Why are we so addicted to throwing our time down the drain? And if we’re throwing our time down the drain, we’re throwing our lives down the drain, too. Facebook has become a place where procrastinators can go to hear about how other people are procrastinating, too. If we started using Facebook a lot less and living our real lives a lot more, we could accomplish much greater things than receiving a like on our status.
Myspace came and went. Facebook will too. The question is: What will you do when the next big social network comes along? Will you spend your whole life on that, too, or will you use it responsibly and live your real, physical life with your real, physical friends?
Recently, I went camping in Big Sur with my roommate. We wanted to go someplace after the semester ended to relax, recharge, and get away from technology—I needed to be in nature with a fire, some foxes (we saw some!), and real fellowship. Once we got there, we realized that we didn’t have a camera. We wanted to document this trip, but we decided that we didn’t want to put it on Facebook. We wanted this memory to be shared only between us—the two people who were actually there. This is what pictures used to do: capture memories that were shared between a few people. Now, with Facebook, we have taken those memories meant to be shared with a few, and broadcasted them so that the world can look in on our lives…..I know: WHAT?
So we bought a disposable camera. We had twenty-seven chances to capture the moments we wanted to. I can’t tell you how fun it was to not be able to look at the pictures you have taken until they were developed. The feeling of anticipation was an amazing thing. When we finally got them developed, we showed the photos to our family and some friends (the old version of “sharing your photo albums”). It was a camping trip we will not soon forget.
What I’m trying to get at here is to think hard about what we spend our time doing. Christian or not, we could all agree that our time could be better spent than wandering on Facebook for hours. Take hold of your life and use it the best you can. We’ve only got this one chance, and I count it a tragedy to waste the time we have on an internet service that gets us nowhere great, nowhere even good, but somewhere in no man’s land, wandering about aimlessly, utterly lost.