January 4, 2013
Hear from Kory Plockmeyer who gives his personal reflection on why he deleted his facebook account.
This is a good challenge, Kory. I think you're dead-on in terms of self-aggrandizement. If I look back at my Facebook timeline, it's often embarrassing how many of my posts lean this way (even if they're humblebrags disguised as something else).
I've been reading Thomas A Kempis' The Imitation of Christ, and so many of his reflections are reminders against this, including one entitled 'On Avoiding Vain Hope and Conceit.' Granted, this is coming from a 15th-century monk who couldn't conceive of Facebook, but one wonders how to translate such wise counsel to our tech era. Perhaps a commitment to Facebook posts that are not "proud of your good deeds," in Thomas' words, "for God does not judge as men; and what delights men often displeases God."
What would that sort of Facebook discourse look like?
Nothing personal or anything, but leaving facebook to change the way you interact with people, is like plugging your ears because you only want to read sign language. If you want to CHANGE the way you use Facebook, by all means do so. Stop playing games, they are wasteful and unnecessary. You don't HAVE to post anything. It can be, however, a useful means of listening to what people are thinking and saying. If you then want to initiate offline contact, do so with the increased context gained from the your "online ears." Facebook at it's heart is an interactive news aggregator. You can make it a complete waste of time by adding other distractions and nonsense to it. But you don't have to, and you don't have to close off a valuable means of communication to your friends who don't chose to follow you in your Facebook cutoff. Maybe you talk to all of your friends everyday and find out all of the things they follow and love and hate and feel passionate about. And if you have the kind of life where you can do that, I congratulate you. Most people I know, including myself, can't do that or don't always feel comfortable doing that. Facebook is an important conduit to a world we can't always make time for. Does it have it's problems, yes, but they don't have to be deal breakers.
I recognize your point, David, and believe me - I thought about it. This is what I'm getting after at the beginning - Facebook isn't inherently evil. It's a tool which can be used for good or ill.
My problem was that I found myself treating and viewing Facebook as though it were indispensable in my life. I think that when we view something as so essential and fundamental to our lives, we are dangerously close to idolatry. By no means do I mean that all Facebook users are using it in an idolatrous fashion. I, however, couldn't shake the feeling that I was.
The more that I have reflected on Facebook, the more I have been drawn to the language of addiction. I am hesitant to go here - I have not done any research on the brain chemistry of Facebook usage (though I suspect that it is out there) - and I know that addiction can be a separate issue. I do, however, suspect that there is a fair amount of crossover here. Some people are able to change, say, their behavior with regards to alcohol with a fair bit of ease. Others, however, reach a point where they realize that their usage must be all-or-nothing. I find myself wondering if technological tools like Facebook may be similar - some people can commit themselves to using Facebook more effectively, efficiently, and with less selfish motives. For me, I found myself in that cycle of need-to-change - promise-to-change - fail-to-change - start-over. I suspect that when we find ourselves in those kind of cycles it may be a good idea to take radical steps to change.
Again, this is what I decided was best for me. I'm not advocating a mass exodus from Facebook. But, I do advocate critical self-reflection on the role of Facebook in one's life.
I can see where a Christian would take a different route than yours, Kory, but I can't see where one would think you were "nuts." I've been disappointed at how Christians use Facebook and have "unfriended" some of my Christian friends in order to avoid their silly posts.
Kory, thank you for your thoughts on this. While I can't say that I face your problems with regards to Facebook, I can understand what you are saying. So If it's a matter of breaking habits and recommitting to something, I understand and support you in your decision (not that you really needed it). We should all examine our habits with a critical eye. Anything in our lives that becomes the most important thing other than God, is an idol and as such must be cast down from our lives. If that's Facebook than so be it.
I respect and admire your decision brother.
I can't speak to the time management issues, since I think this is a personal question. For me FB takes up no more time than I spent gossiping with coworkers when I worked in an office, and gives me a much-needed mental break so I can work better when I log out again. But I recognize that everyone's situation is different, and for some people it can become a first-class time-sink.
However, I have to disagree --emphatically-- with your suggestion that offline relationships are somehow less genuine, less enfleshed, than their offline equivalent. I'm a graduate student living far away from my parents, and since I often write about what I am doing or share pictures on FB my family back home can now experience some of my life along with me. So long as the things I am sharing are genuine, FB gives them a chance to see my life rather than just hearing the highlights on a phone call every week or two. I also have friends who I have "known" for longer than I've lived at my current address: people I know from FB's predecessors but who I chat with regularly and hear about what they're going through and talk with them and simply hang out. After the Connecticut shootings or my own recent concussions, these people have heard me out and been as much senses of encouragement as anyone I knew "in the flesh."
I firmly believe that it is the sharing of our real lives and continued investment in each other that gives us the kind of relationships God desires for us. Online posturing can get in the way of this, but so can gossip shared around the coffee cart before Sunday school. It's not the way we share but that we share, that matters.
What a great conversation, Kory.
I left Facebook over two years ago when it felt inauthentic (for me) and demanding.
I was tired of missing the important messages (like "My grandma died") in the clutter of Farmville plays and observations on someone's Starbucks' order.
Also, the like flags are often passive aggressive. Like bumper stickers, people could flash an opinion without opening actual discourse. My friend calls this family of passive aggressive interactions "hit and runs." I was just so tired of seeing this side of people.
Privacy considerations are also no small matter. Facebook's frequent changes to privacy policies require constant monitoring, and it has even been so bold as to state that all photos posted on Facebook are Facebook's property (a policy which was revised it after user outcry).
Once I left Facebook, I realized how much my signal to noise ratio improved. I'm happy have unloaded Facebook from my daily life.
I think your approach and thoughtfulness here is admirable while I agree with your first two reasons, the third idea to me is a problematic for us in 2013. The idea that "offline" and "online" are two different things is quickly becoming an misnomer. In the same way we rarely seen a phone call as a cheap imitation of interaction, I think we're beginning to see online interactions and relationships as valuable. The idea of "digital dualism" is one we need to better articulate. In the same way I don't really don't separate my professional from my personal life, I don't distinguish offline from online. At least not to suggest it's always a case of one being better than the other. I'm not suggesting there aren't times when sitting down over coffee isn't better than communicating offline but it's a bit like comparing apples and oranges. I'd suggest looking at this post about the term in more detail.
Anyway, thanks for the discussion. Just think, without doing this online, I'd have never read or thought about this. ;)
Here it is 2015. Just wondering how things are two years later after leaving facebook?
Kory did write a follow-up piece here - http://thinkchristian.reframemedia.com/my-new-life-without-facebook - but I'll get in touch and see if he's able to provide another update in this thread.
Thanks for commenting,
Josh (TC editor)
I apologize for any mistakes but I am not a native English speaker.
I agree 100% with what you said about Facebook. I had a period in my life when I was not content, nor happy or thankful and I didn't really realized why until God showed me that using Facebook was the problem. Indeed it rises pride, competition, bad curiosity and allot of other bad stuff. Facebook is also a nest of lies...You don't really socialize more...after I closed it I realized that I was talking with the same people by simply using the phone...Facebook didn't really raised the number of my friends even if I had lots in my list. Another thing which God showed me was that the temptation without images is less powerful than the temptation with images attached...Facebook does this! The fact that you can choose how to use Facebook is not that easy as some say...blessed are those who use it properly but probably they are few also!
I also have been struggling with this. I have deactivated it several times but for some reason I felt myself lured back again. This time though is different, I have prayed and asked the Lord to strengthen me in this choice to leave Facebook. It has become a distraction that takes away my focus.Rather than praying or reading his word or doing anything productive, my time was spent on Facebook. It is not condusive to building relationships. Thank you for helping me in my decision. I agree with everything you say.
I feel the same way. I am hardly on...but when I am...I find myself looking at people and automatically forming an opinion of them based on their posts. I post things of God only...but I find myself checking to see if anyone viewed, liked, or commented. Partly cause I want to be able to minister and partly because we all crave attention. I then decided to not really answer comments or likes. Just to allow the word of God to speak to them...but I am so saddened. If someone posts anything about a trip, new haircut, new car...it has about over a hundred likes. Post anything of God...and the numbers are considerably lower. I felt that the word God placed on my heart was bearing no fruit. This week...I made a point to post encouraging words or words from the Lord each day for 7 days. If someone personally message me wanting to actually talk or needing guidance...then I would know that God is using me through facebook...but no one has. They have liked, amen, and some thanked me...but no one personally messaged me. We live in a world that is so detached. How can we taste the tears of our fellow christian brothers and sisters if there is no personal connection. So come Monday...if no one responds...I too am leaving facebook. :(
After reading this post and comments, especially coming from christians' point of view, I have decided to close my facebook account. Will be praying for others too to have the courage to do the same.
I think God has revealed this to you Kory because you are truly seeking Him and desiring to be obedient. I agree that Facebook can very often be used in a form of idolatry where some people could never imagine giving it up- yet the Lord says to be willing to give up anything for Him to find His will and not our own John 7:17. I have been asking myself for years do I really want Facebook in my life? I am now diligently praying about this decision as it is not entirely an easy one to make, since I have several distance family relationships yhar we keep updated on, as well I do business through a Facebook page that I am unsure if I can keep after deleting my profile. But your decision to keep a work profile I think is excellent and has intised me to do the same after deleting mine if I choose to do so. As a young mother of 3, I have realized I have very little time for extras. I have gone down to the bare minimum usage with Facebook but even still I get a desire to post something that has happened in my children's lives that I am so proud of and want to share with family and friends. Recently I felt convicted that this is a form of showing off and this may actually hurt others. Likewise, at times I have logged into Facebook and see other family members posts that are intended to spread love yet it hurts merit becomes difficult to want to engage or show that I read the posts when I believe it could be covered in sinful intentions- WHY EVEN ENTERTAIN THIS? We must beware of the wicked. There can be good uses for facebook, but why do I have a yucky feeling in my stomach most times when logging in, even after culling the unnecessary. I think the only way to make the right decision is to diligently seek God, so that you know Him and He knows you, and wait upon His answer. We humans are too deceived by things that are "good" and "intended for good". Satan plays on all levels and I know first hand he works on humans through Facebook. Thank you for this post!
There was a lot drama happenin in my Christian Singles Group on Facebook. I asked God what I should do. He told me to leave the group and delete my Facebook account. I don't need to explain why. I am obeying His instructions. Immediately after I deleted it, there was a sense of peace. Facebook or any other social media can be a drug. We can get addicted to the highs and lows of it. We can be addicted to the site in general. We can become addicted to the drama, if we are not careful. God was around lon before Facebook. Facebook is not a need. Real world human companionship existed long before Facebook. The two greatest commands Jesus said were to love God and to love another. This can be done with or without social media. I don't have to prove my decision to leave Facebook to anyone. God told me to leave for a list of reasons, so I left. This is what He told me personally to do.
I do agree that Facebook can be used either good or bad. To me, it is evil. When I said, "evil"...it does not mean that you should delete your Facebook account just because I did mine. Everyone is different, each to their own.
All I can say is - Facebook can open a lot of doors to your life. You have to ask yourself... do you truly understand what you are doing? Once you opened the door, there will be something that is coming out of the door. Be on your guard...
I didn't see it at first because it was so subtle. As I got into my mid-twenties, I started to see things or people that aren't quite right on Facebook. There are also a lot of things we are better off not to know. All I can say is just be on your guard and make sure it doesn't influence your life....especially your spiritual life.
I deleted my Facebook account because I knew it was for the best. And no matter what people say... if they wanted you to go back to Facebook, will you do it? Why would you do it when you knew you will be miserable? DON'T DO IT. I've been there, done that. and I have learned that being miserable is not what God wanted for me. God is joy. God is peace. God is love. That is who He is. I felt peace after I deleted my Facebook account.
That's all I can say. But each to their own. :-)
Quitting Facebook was the best thing I ever did for my relationship with God. Now instead of wasting time hours on end scrolling news feeds, I can actually spend time with Him reading what is most important to me, my Bible! I feel alive after I read His Word, and no more internet headaches.
I have deleted one fb account and a month or so later started one for family and friends...so far it's a failure. I agree FB is where your faith gets attacked and undermined and one gets drawn AWAY from the Lord. It takes your peace and shreds it. Lies are posted and people believe them. I am deleting my account today.
I just opened a Facebook account a week ago. It didn't sit well with me. I thought I would just use it for family and friends but then you realize after reading some of the post alot of them are not on the spiritual journey you are on. I dont care to know alot of their business. Facebook will be deleted today!
We are each individually will be standing before God to give an account.
I personally deleted my FACEBOOK Account after using it for various reasons. For me, I sensed God wanted me to leave Facebook for reasons only I and God need to know about.
This is not a decision for every Christ Follower. My walk with Jesus is the path He is guiding me through. Others' paths arw differently designed by God personally and with His purpose in mind.
May Jesus guide your journey.
Good article. Social media is about the self. As Christians we should be selfless.
I made the decision to delete my social media accounts recently because of the bad content and what these platforms represent.
Life is better without it.
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