Goodbye to Facebook

I’ve done this a few times over the past several years. Took a break from Facebook for a period of time, but each time I found myself eventually working my way back. I have to admit, the platform is a wonderful way to stay in touch with friends from a distance. I have friends scattered around the USA and some around the world. It’s impossible to maintain that relationship face to face, and social media provides a way to maintain that personal touch of sorts, although the personal touch via keyboard is not the same as face to face.

But the time has come to say goodbye for good. I will still maintain a Facebook account because I need to post updates, articles, events, and such to the ministry page of Radical Truth. But my personal page will be silent going forward. I have thought this through extensively, weighing both benefits and costs, positive and negative effects, and in the end a number of factors, taken together, have led me to this decision.

  1. I cannot, in good conscience, support financially the liberal agenda pushed by Facebook. The majority of income going into the pockets of Mark what’s-his-name and Facebook corporate is derived from feeding targeted advertising into your newsfeed. We’re talking billions of dollars annually. And those dollars go to support abortion on demand, the advancement of a militant homosexual agenda in society, antagonism and mockery of conservative values, censorship of ideas Facebook finds objectionable with Facebook using groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center as experts for determining what content is objectionable. Facebook is using the money they make from me to fight against the very ideas I stand for, while using their money and tremendous influence to advance ideas and policies that stand against the very principles I hold dearly. They will no longer get another dime from feeding ad content to my newsfeed, because I won’t be a part of it.
  2. Virtual friendships via social media have a different character than real, actual, face to face friendships. While I have come to love and appreciate so many friends on my Facebook account, I find that kind of interaction unfulfilling and unsatisfactory. I love many of you who have interacted with me over these many years. But in all honesty, social media has changed the way we interact as humans, and in some respects for the worse. For example, I find some folks willing to type via keyboard comments to posts that they would never be willing to say face-to-face. Folks have become rude, nasty, disgusting.
  3. I love a good conversation. I don’t mind at all my ideas being challenged. In fact when others challenge my thoughts and ideas, two outcomes are possible. I either change my views because of a position I hadn’t considered previously, or I become even more convinced I’m correct because I dig deeper to support my particular claim. Either way, a healthy conversation results in a healthy outcome. But for the most part, there is no such concept any longer of a healthy conversation on social media. Far more often than not, if someone posts an article or thought and another friend objects, the resulting trail of comments end up being a virtual shouting match among one another. Personal attacks seem to be the norm. Name calling is now an acceptable response to disagreement with someone else. Society, via social media, has lost the ability to have a casual, rational, unemotional back-and-forth discussion of ideas and potentially controversial topics. We’ve reverted, as it were, back to the cave man mentality of cartoons I used to watch as a child, were one cave man would say something and the other would clobber him in the head with a club, and back and forth the clobbering would go. I’m tired of being clobbered over the head and belittled simply because someone disagrees with my ideas.
  4. Plastic people. This is a phenomenon not limited just to social media but society in general, especially among Christians. We’ve lost the ability to be open about how we’re feeling, what we’re going through. We’ve lost the ability to sympathize with others who are hurting, to hurt like they hurt, to feel lonely when they’re feeling lonely. I’ve been unfriended on Facebook by several former friends, simply for sharing my hurt, my loneliness, my frustration, my trials. I was even unfriended by a long time friend who is a staff pastor of my former church. He didn’t like my negative posts, and when I needed encouragement I guess it was just too much for him. Friends, true friends, celebrate the victories with you. They also mourn the defeats and down times. I’ve noticed a trend over the past year. When I post something positive on Facebook, I have dozens of responses, likes, and notes of praise and thanks. But when I post a difficulty I’m going through, the responses are far less. Are we only appreciative of the positive stuff? True friends are there during the ups and the downs.The common response from one Christian to another who may be experiencing difficulties is “I’ll pray for you.” But do you really? If so, wonderful. But more often than not, the friend sharing trials needs more than prayer. They need a hug. They need someone to talk to, in real time, in person or over the phone. They may need financial help to get through a rough period. They may need to borrow a car or get a ride somewhere. “I’ll pray for you” doesn’t relieve the very real physical, emotional, or psychological need. Pray yes, then take action. But far too often, the “I’ll pray for you” is tossed out without further thought, concern, or interest from the one doing the tossing. Plastic response. I’m reminded of the words of the song by Casting Crowns: “Stained Glass Masquerade.”

    Is there anyone that fails
    Is there anyone that falls
    Am I the only one in church today feelin’ so small
    Cause when I take a look around
    Everybody seems so strong
    I know they’ll soon discover
    That I don’t belong

    So I tuck it all away, like everything’s okay
    If I make them all believe it, maybe I’ll believe it too
    So with a painted grin, I play the part again
    So everyone will see me the way that I see them

    Are we happy plastic people
    Under shiny plastic steeples
    With walls around our weakness
    And smiles to hide our pain
    But if the invitation’s open
    To every heart that has been broken
    Maybe then we close the curtain
    On our stained glass masquerade

    Is there anyone who’s been there
    Are there any hands to raise
    Am I the only one who’s traded
    In the altar for a stage
    The performance is convincing
    And we know every line by heart
    Only when no one is watching
    Can we really fall apart

    But would it set me free
    If I dared to let you see
    The truth behind the person
    That you imagine me to be
    Would your arms be open
    Or would you walk away
    Would the love of Jesus
    Be enough to make you stay

  5. Time management. It’s fun connecting with others, catching up on the news around the country and around the world. I found Facebook to be a great way to find news stories I may have missed as others share. But there is a danger in getting caught up in the catching up. I’ve found myself often opening Facebook for a brief glance at what’s happening elsewhere, only to find myself an hour later still doing the same thing. An hour lost here, 30 minutes there, it all adds up. I have many more urgent tasks to attend to. Facebook is far too much of a temptation, and a time-sucker. I can’t do it. Time is short, my free time is precious, and my productive hours are spent much more effectively doing what I should be doing.

So there you have it. It’s been fun. It’s been emotional at times. But I can’t. I’ll still be around, I still have messenger to send me private messages. I’ll still post for ministry, and be involved in a limited way with a few special interests groups on Facebook, like apologetics forums and a photography forum (my spare time hobby). But I can’t do the newsfeed thing any longer.

With much love and respect to you with whom I’ve come to know through the years. I’m just done.

 

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Comments

3 responses to “Goodbye to Facebook”

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  1. linda sandoval says:

    Thank you, Joe. I’m sorry you’re leaving. I have enjoyed being your friend and will miss you. So much happening all at once – MARANATHA!

  2. Kevin says:

    I can understand completely. Appreciate you sharing your heart on this subject. May your work be blessed and thank you for all you do to share about what is going on in the world.

  3. La Nell Haynie says:

    Joe, I feel exactly as you do about FB! It was like you took the words right out of my mouth. I, too, have taken breaks from FB – and I, too, eventually return. Of late, I have told my husband several times that I need to quit FB for good. Thank you for sharing in such detail your thoughts about leaving FB. They are my thoughts and will be my reasoning when I make the break. I have utmost respect for you and your wife – and all you do! I will be in touch should need be and will continue to enjoy your RT newsletter.