FACEing the Truth: What Effect is Facebook Having on Relationships?

The following post is from a blog I had a few years back.  However, I thought this post was worth republishing:

Let me preface this post by saying that I probably have more questions than answers. So, if you are reading this post to experience an epiphany regarding any personal dilemma you are facing with our culture’s obsession to post about our lives on Facebook, you’ve come to the wrong place.  However, if you, like me, are sometimes bothered by the fact that this new era, the Facebook Era, seems to sometimes dominate areas of our lives which it should not, then you HAVE come to the right place.

A month or so ago, I decided to take an entire week off from posting or commenting on Facebook.  Through this little “experiment,” I noticed a lot about myself.  Day 1:  I found myself THINKING about clever status updates throughout the day.  So, if something funny happened or the kids did something extremely hysterical (which, I might add, happens quite often), I immediately pictured my new updated status in my head.  Okay, don’t shake your head at me like I’m crazy…you know that some of you out there have done that also! I’m also guilty of writing down status ideas to post later on in the week.  Oh…yes…can’t let a brilliant thought that will impact my several hundred “friends” be wasted, you know!

Anyway, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would do with those updates in my head if I did NOT have Facebook. Would I call a friend I hadn’t talked to in a long time to tell her?  Would I jot down notes to tell my husband all these clever things later on in the day, THUS making our relationship tighter due to the deeper level of communication we might share? (A little aside:  I have a GREAT relationship with my hubby already…my best friend, but we’re both always looking for ways to make that relationship BETTER!)  Would I spend that thirty seconds it takes to type an update with my KIDS–therefore spending time WITH them instead of writing ABOUT them?  Oh, and let’s be honest:  we ALL know that thirty seconds turns into much much longer.  I HAVE to check my newsfeed while I’m there, comment on a few things, and maybe spy on some people to see what they are doing (and then message a girlfriend to write about how outrageous it is that those people ARE doing those things or writing certain status updates).   As if you don’t do THAT either…

And all of that was JUST the first day.  HA!

Interestingly, as the week went on (so, Day 2 and Day 3), I found myself thinking about Facebook less and less.  Oh, I STILL thought about it. Actually, I still READ Facebook; I just didn’t comment on anything.  So, fortunately, I was still informed and “in the know”–because that IS important, you know…

Day 3.  I got interested in a post that I was just reading. And then, it happened:  I just couldn’t control myself and some unknown force was pulling my fingers to my laptop’s keyboard and…and, SIGH…I posted a comment.  Bad me.

All in all, I was happy with myself for being essentially “Facebook Free”  for three (well ALMOST three) complete days.  Yet, I have to wonder:  am I REALLY free?  I mean, if I WERE free would I spend every free second I have glancing at my computer screen, checking the Facebook app on my phone, or refreshing Facebook on my tablet?  Wouldn’t I be out enjoying people more?  Oh, sure, I can defend myself by saying that I live in the bitterly cold Northeast and we don’t get out much; therefore, I NEED (REALLY N-E-E-D) Facebook for my socialization.  However, that excuse wouldn’t fly THIS winter, as we’ve had spring-like weather all season.  B-U-S-T-E-D!!! What KIND of socialization does this electronic age encourage ANYWAY?  I mean, are we REALLY known and loved by those that are our Facebook “friends”–really?  Let’s be honest: how many of those people would show up at my funeral if I died tomorrow?  Shouldn’t I instead be out getting to know my neighbors, calling my acquaintances on the phone so I can make them my friends (and NOT the Facebook kind!), or going out for coffee or tea with the girlfriends that would still be my girlfriends even if I closed my Facebook account?

As I said: I don’t have any answers; I only have questions.  Speaking of questions, I wonder if there are any interesting status updates by my friends on Facebook…I’ll only be on for thirty seconds…