Monday, July 9, 2012

5 Reasons I Should Stay Off Facebook

1. TMI

So, I remember the weirdest things but one brief conversation I had over 10 years ago stands out to me. It was high school and like all high school girls I had friends, enemies, and frienemies. One of my then-frienemies (we've grown up since then!) was friends with one of my enemies. Standing by the lockers one day, frienemy walks up and says in reference to enemy something like, "She shares too much information. Sometimes it's almost like, 'Hey, guys. I just farted.'" Of course, at the time I ate this up and laughed at her expense but over the years it's been a little reminder that more often than not I need to shut up. Just shut up. I've often been tempted (and have too often given in to the temptation) to over share. I think the Internet feels far safer than it really is. I need to remember that.

2. Friends...or Stalkers?

Speaking of "friends", I have 321 of them. I know that number is much higher for many of you, but I've been careful to only accept requests from people that I know and would like to interact with. Out of all of those friends, I have only accepted two requests from people whom I do not know in any way. I've only ever unfriended three people. I have unsubscribed from a lot of people's status updates, however, for various reasons. My news feed is pretty much a constant cycle of about 10 people's status updates and 3 very active pages that I've "liked." Most of my "friends" rarely/never post anything and never comment on anything that I post. Then I or my mother or other family member will see them in person and they'll say, "Oh, yeah, I saw that on Traci's Facebook page." Do you know what we'd call it if in "real life" someone was walking around amidst us not saying anything or making themselves known in any way but looking at all of our personal information? We'd call that weird. And it feels weird when people do it in my online life, too. But when you put yourself--details of your personal life including thousands of photos--on Facebook you're pretty much inviting people to stalk you. 

3. Channel Surfing

I think I've always had a wide array of friends and acquaintances...people from all walks of life. My Facebook friends are no different. It's kind of strange though. It's seriously like half of my friends are gay liberal evolutionists and the other half are hardcore super-conservative Bible-thumpers. Some days checking Facebook is like constantly flipping between Fox News and CNN stopping to stare at The 700 Club and Howard Stern in between. I walk away with my head spinning! 

4. I'm Pretty Sure I'm Right and You're Wrong.

Sure, everyone's entitled to their own opinion but I'm of the opinion that you're opinion is wrong. I am pretty passionate about every little thing that I believe in and somewhere along the way I've gotten kind of radical. I'm a Christian; my family and I have been uprooted from everything we've ever known to go into a cruel, needy world by beliefs most people think are nutso. I guess technically we have a large family even though four children doesn't seem like that many to me. I don't believe in birth control and I get "those" comments every time we go out. (You know, "Wow, you have your hands full," and so on.) I breastfeed my children and think that breastmilk is the absolute best possible thing you can feed your baby and cannot fathom why so many educated women give their babies formula. I homeschool my children and while I don't believe it's feasible to do away with the public school system, I do think educating your own children should be done far more often than not. 

Like I said, I'm pretty passionate about all of these things but all of these things make me feel very different than a lot of you. Sometimes I get tired of watering down my beliefs to stay P.C. At the same time, I don't want to butt heads with everyone I encounter. I don't say everything I think but my thoughts will not let me rest. I feel like maybe if I didn't bombard myself with details from everyone else's life on Facebook, I wouldn't get sensory overload and spend so much time thinking about unnecessary things.

5. "She must have too much time on her hands." 

Someone said these words of me. Someone who doesn't really know me and was talking about me behind my back. He was talking about me in the first place because he disagreed with something I said on this blog, something controversial but true. He was trying to imply that I blogged and was on Facebook so much because I had nothing else to do. His comment stung. At first I thought, "He has no idea how much I do! Who is he to judge me? He is retired and even when he worked he had an easy job. I bet he never even helped care for his children." I was immediately defensive and I could have left it at that but I believe that most of the time when criticism hurts there must be a hint of truth to it. Yes, I do a lot at home for no pay and with little recognition. I work hard every day and throughout the night. But the truth is, I do get distracted by things like Facebook over and over. I check in multiple times during the day. I upload hundreds of pictures. Sometimes while I'm doing this, my children go without. "Wait a minute," I say ten times. "Hold on." It's frustrating to be called away from something I want to do! But I shouldn't be that way. They are far more important than looking at the 100 beach pictures you just posted (that will just make me jealous anyway) or even reading what verse inspired you today (I should be away getting inspired myself!). I have a hard time maintaining priorities and am even worse about moderation.

So what am I to do? I think my life would be a little simpler and I'd feel less frazzled if I didn't have this social media distraction. Sure, I'd lose that convenience factor of instant networking but I might actually be forced to have a real social life. I could text or call a friend when there was something I needed to share or--wonder of wonders--I could speak to them face to face! 

Can anyone relate? What keeps you logging in? 


  1. Traci,
    I suppose it's time for me to leave a comment as I feel like I'm one of those who follows you around and never post a comment. Lol. I just thought I should share some of my thoughts with you on this. I, for one, really enjoy both your pictures you post on Facebook and your blog. You are an interesting writer and although our viewpoints are quite different on many topics, I enjoy reading your sometimes opposite opinions and viewpoints because it makes me see things in a different perspective. And although my opinion on a topic doesn't necessarily change because you posted a differing opinion, I think it does make me more aware and open-minded, if you will, for the reasons people don't believe the way I do. I'm most certainly the type of person who thinks my way is the right way. As I have grown older my opinion has shifted more to "I think my way is the right way FOR ME". And things like your blog makes me recognize that. I really love reading your little stories and adventures and watching your children grow up through pictures. We went to school together for 13 years and I like keeping up with what's going on with everyone. Those 13 years we spent together were a major part of us growing up and many of us are going all kinds of different ways in life and for me, personally, I think it is so neat how we were all educated by the same people in the same town in the most influential times in our lives and how we have all gone in so many different ways with our lives. It's very cool to me. Also, there's not a thing wrong with doing something for yourself at times throughout the day...even if it is escaping into something completely mindless and useless. If logging into Facebook gives me some sort of time-out from the housework/raising children, then so be it. I will not feel guilty about it. I do so much for them and if I want to do something I enjoy, no matter how stupid it is...then I will do it, and go on about taking care of the kids, and quite possibly even better after my "time-out". Keep blogging and posting and I will try to comment more. :)

    1. Thanks for commenting, ha ha! I see you post things on Facebook so I definitely wasn't calling you a stalker. ; ) I definitely like hearing different perspectives on things, too. I don't want to live in a self-made bubble but FB just seems to get to me because it's all so concentrated. I'm seeing little snippets of people's lives instead of knowing the whole story and the whole person so I focus on the bits that irritate me instead of remembering that there's a human being on the other end. I'm not so sure I agree with the idea that there can be a "right for me." The older I get the more I seem to believe in certain absolutes.

      I understand what you're saying about doing something for yourself throughout the day but I've had some thoughts on that lately, too. I'm actually thinking about doing a post on it to see if anyone else experiences the same things I do when I attempt a "time-out" for myself. Would you mind if I quoted you in it?

    2. Of course I don't mind. I agree about certain absolutes....but there are many things that are right for me that aren't right for everyone. And there's things that you do with your kids that I think are absolutely perfect for you, but are not at all perfect for me. Everyone's lives are different and everyone is in different places in their lives with different roles. I don't necessarily agree that everyone here on earth has been given the same purpose on the planet. I think God gives everyone a different purpose...Mine for instance is definitely NOT homeschooling my kids. My purpose is to give a public to MANY children in a school year. Last year, my purpose was to educate 130 students. I know with everything inside of my heart that I was called to do that. I do not disagree at all with homeschooling children. If that's your purpose, which it is so obvious it is because of how well you do with it and how well it fits your individual situation, then that's absolutely wonderful and absolutely perfect for you. I know without a shadow of a doubt that the Lord has not (so far) called me to do that in any way. Oh yeah, there are certain absolutes that you will never change my mind on what I think everyone should do about certain's the minor details that I know different people are called for different purposes in life...or else we would all be exactly the same like little robots on this earth.

    3. *My purpose is to give a public education....*

    4. Maybe you should start a blog, Jerrica! I'd love hearing more of stories like yours.

  2. Love this, Traci! So true of me, as well. I have this love hate relationship with facebook. I will be hating every second of scrolling through all the status' and funny pictures to find a status of a dear friend or a post from all the blogs I like to read written by other Christian moms. While they've helped me in some areas of my life it's the sea of "other mess" I have to scroll through to find that encouragement. Sometimes I even feel my head spinning like you talked about or even get motion sickness from srolling on my iphone. Why DO I waste such valuable time? I've often wondered how others can seem to do it all while I struggle to. Thanks for helping to affirm that I'm not alone in managing my time well. I found myself day dreaming the other day about what it was like before we had cell phones to "help us" manage life and social media in our faces every day, every where we go. You could go to town to do errands and NO ONE called you, no one texted you, you could actually get away and forget about the phone calls at home. There's no getting away anymore. And I think we all pay a heavy price for thay and so do others around us. How bad does it feel to be the other person in the room while someone plays with their phone or sits on the computer instead of actually talking to you? They chose to be absent, they chose to check out and not even really be there with you. It makes you feel less than important. I don't want to be that person that has their hand permenantly attached to their phone or the lap top attached to their, well, lap! It's not good for me or for my family. I think it's really time for a break! It's time to simplify!

    1. I hear ya! There are those little gems of blessing posted on FB that I wonder how I would possibly find otherwise.

      I often think about what it would be like without a cell phone. I drag it along everywhere. I feel like I have to have it with me all the time because if I don't respond to a text right away the other person is offended (trust me they are). I can't focus on what I'm doing or the people I'm with because I'm spread so thin trying to communicate with everyone. You hit the nail on the head about people choosing to be absent. That's something that saddens me almost on a daily basis. I don't want to be that person anymore.

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  3. I say you stick to your guns on your belief and be who you are. Everything you wrote on your blog about on FB is legitimate and true. One just have to remember that FB is a social place and you will get all walks of life, opinions and suggestions (sometimes even judgement). What makes every more reason why you should stay on FB? People learn from you on what you have to say and share. You are very intellectual, smart and full of ideas/suggestions. What you say makes sense and you help those who don't necessarily understand breastfeeding, homeschooling, being a SAHM, & etc., understand things better.
    The Key thing is? You're aware of all this and you know there's a fine line with what FB is all about and that's what matters most. You know FB isn't your whole life. It's just an addition to the things you have fun doing. It doesn't run your life. Like everyone here, we're all aware of what FB is about and we don't let FB run our lives too. I like FB b/c it keeps me connected to all the people I do know and while I don't always agree w/their opinions and or like some status (due to TMI), it reminds me to remember to be myself and to respect everyone. It also reminds me that God created us to be unique individuals. FB remimds me that I am blessed. Blessed because I am alive & well (while others on FB passed suddenly or are getting sick) , I may not have the best of everything (like some people do), my life good (some people's lives are sad or broken), I have a wonderful family (some people don't)children and husband. Most importantly I have God and my faith. (amen!)
    You're aware and that's the important thing when you're on FB. Remember it's always good to agree to disagree. Good that you stick to your guns and your beliefs! You're the right kind of Facebooker and we need more of you out there!

    1. Thanks for writing this. Very wise words. You always seem so level headed! I'm definitely going to attempt to take on your way of looking at things here. = )