I just deleted the Facebook app off of my phone.

Facebook IconI’m just disgusted with it.

Now, I’m not a Facebook hater in the least. I have had an account on the popular social media site since 2008 and I will continue to use it. It is an extremely useful and wide-reaching tool. I use it in a variety of ways:

  • share pictures of my family with my friends and family
  • share thoughts to challenge people
  • connect with people that don’t live close to me
  • maintain an audience with the digital native generation who communicate primarily through digital means
  • share highlights about ministry events and upcoming opportunities through specific Facebook group pages
  • messaging service (an easy way for certain people to connect with me easily, as opposed to other means)

Facebook has a lot of good uses. There is nothing inherently wrong with this service. It is merely a tool.

That said, for me, I have a couple of reasons why this app needn’t be on my phone:

1. I waste an enormous amount of time by endlessly scrolling through my News Feed.

It’s mindless. It’s unproductive. When I don’t have anything else to do, I grab my phone, hit the home button, select the Facebook icon, and then start thumbing… and thumbing… and thumbing… over and over and over. It’s never-ending. I don’t know if it’s addicting or what, but because it’s a limitless feed (meaning it will go on almost forever), I would just keep going and going, taking in gobs and gobs of information (most of it garbage: ads, what people had to eat, and what they are “feeling”).

Whenever I read the actual news on my phone (which I do daily), I find myself let down when I hit the end of the AP and USA Today list of articles. It’s almost like I want these professional news organizations with great stuff to print (mostly) to produce tons and tons of stuff that I can mindlessly scroll through. Why? Because Facebook’s News Feed has implicitly trained my mind to keep going and going and going…

2. I feel like my life is boring when compared with others.

I feel like my life is boring because I don’t have anything witty to say or others are having more fun than me today or they on some awesome vacation or currently having a great experience or… I find myself actually better off than some people. It’s like a daily (even hourly) “comparison festival” on a multitude of levels. How is Jeremy Mavis doing at this very moment… compared with 1,000 other people? It’s a recipe for constant dissatisfaction.

I wonder if we humans weren’t designed to know this much about this many people many times over every day!

It’s an entirely judgmental affair while thumbing through Facebook–a never-ending comparing and contrasting party. It’s quantifiably measuring social status in real time!

3. I get frustrated with things that are posted.

I see stuff posted that bothers, frustrates, or leaves me emotionally or intellectually paralyzed. What do I do with the knowledge of what I just read or witnessed? Do I respond? Do I refrain? In this new digital conversant environment, how does one engage with things appropriately? Or are we allowed to rant and rave indiscriminately? We are all currently writing these rules as we go on this. This has never been done in the history of humanity. It’s like group think with no real rules.

I have a phrase that I’m starting to use more frequently when I’m talking about our community in Hayward, especially among community leaders. This phrase might help with the larger digital community like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other online forum environments.

I refer to leaders of our community in Hayward as wise stewards of culture.

Communities have long deferred to benevolent elders among their ranks to help guide and steward the community. Folks like: teachers, coaches, business owners, police officers, pastors, doctors, and governmental heads (i.e. mayor, judges, health and human services, etc.). These wise stewards of our community in Hayward, WI serve to keep the peace, guide appropriate forms of human activity and contact, fix problems, and provide vision and hope for the future, among many other things. The environment of an actual physical environment brings along these cultural stewards, even though their influence is in decline.

As the conversant environment moves online to digital platforms like Facebook, the community seems pretty flat. The benevolent elders and wise stewards are often those who get the greatest amount of “likes” and “shares” rather than those with actual substance to say (which, often, takes more than 140 characters or longer than anyone is often willing to read online). This lack of wise stewards of culture allows for a sort of wild west sort of environment online.

Perhaps I’m being reactionary about deleting the Facebook app off my phone. Perhaps instead of abandoning the digital environment, I should engage with it. Perhaps.

I’m not quitting Facebook as many reactionaries do. I still have an active account that I use. I still post things like status updates, pictures, and share posts like this one. I also use Facebook pages for a couple of organizations I help manage and want to share things on.

To be honest, I just don’t think that engaging with the flat, wild west environment like Facebook is that helpful. I often wonder if God didn’t place me in a physical community (i.e. Hayward) to assist in the wise stewardship of its continued space rather than worry about what the rest of the world (i.e. Facebook community, which is all over the globe) is doing. Perhaps I’m narrowing down my sphere of influence to one particular community, which has its own host of problems needed to be addressed and engaged. When the conversation happens online for our community, I’ll engage it there. When the conversation is necessary on state and national issues, I’ll engage it when appropriate. For the most part, though, I think I’ll stick with and be obedient to what God wants me (as one of His many representatives) to do in Hayward, WI.

So it’s deleted. For the foreseeable future, Facebook’s app will no longer be on my phone. I’ll use the service on my computer to do what I need to do. It just won’t be with me everywhere. I just cannot handle this incredibly powerful tool everywhere I go. It’s too much for me.

And I will get some semblance of sanity back 🙂