To know me is to know I love the interwebs. I was online back in the day when there weren’t too many people on the internet superhighway. You could drive all day in cyberspace and never see another person. Your first thought when getting an email address (which you paid for) was “Who can I email?”. You actually asked people “Do you have an email address?”
It’s not like that any more. In 2010, the day you’re born, you’re issued an I.P. address and a Gmail account. And every face on earth is on facebook, some of them twice.
For the most part, this is great. The internet is one of those unusual things that has a graduated effectiveness. The more people use it, the more effective it proves itself. Honestly, it was pretty boring back in the day…you could go ‘visit a web page’, which was a one page brochure, but that was it. You would never have had a wikipedia or an eBay, because that took lots of people for it to work.
Confession, an internet guru showed my eBay in his apartment in 1998. I flat out told him it would never work because there weren’t enough people online to make it work and if there were, they would never trust one another.
Now, it’s far more than bad web sites. It’s all about interactivity and chatting with friends and strings of conversations that run 40 comments long about a photo of a guy and his dog wearing a sweater.
Maybe graduated effectiveness is not the right term. Maybe I mean digital chaff.
Chaff is a term I’m borrowing from fighter planes. When you’re in a fighter plane and trying to avoid a heat seeking missile, you punch the button marked “CHAFF” and zillions of tiny pieces of tin foil are expelled from the plane. The missile gets confused and often zings off in a strange direction missing the mark completely. Sometimes, I’ll hop on line to get something done, get confused by the chaff and end up losing twenty minutes reading about something I had no questions about a half hour ago.
In an effort to avoid digital chaff – the little fragments of nothing that distract me, bring little value to my life, and actually decrease my focus – I have considered disabling my Facebook account. I’ve never thought of disabling it for privacy reasons (I’m smart enough not to post things on there that I would want to be kept secret), but I’ve considered unplugging from it because the return on investment of time is just not what I need right now. Part of this is reflective a desire to continue Bible reading at my current rate indefinitely. When I compare the feeling I have when I’m finished with that reading versus spending the same amount of time clicking “LIKE” on Facebook…the decision gets pretty easy.
To be fair, it’s been nice to ‘be found’ by acquaintances and old friends, but am I really that hard to find? There’s enough of me elsewhere on the internet that anyone who was really looking for me intentionally could have found me. Of course, Facebook isn’t for the intentional. It’s for the random connect. It’s not sitting down over coffee, it’s waiving across three aisles of Walmart, with that “I think I know you….” look on your face. The fact that it’s become the default people finder is the only thing that keeps me on.
I’ve landed on this solution.
Sunday through Thursday, Facebook, you are dead to me. I’ll check in on Fridays to collect any messages and tell you the picture of your dog in a sweater made me LOL (which is just not true. I rarely LOL). I’m not unplugging entirely, but I’m going to treat it like a tool, not a leash.
Fridays are for Facebook. If you need me before then, email me or call me. I’d love to connect, especially if it means something.
Disclaimer #234251 If you’re an ardent facebooker, don’t read anything in to this. I’m not encouraging you to join me. I’m just explaining how to find me if you need to. And I’m not applying this to twitter because twitter is just an extension of talking to myself, which I’d do anyway.
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