Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sorry, me no Facebook

Not long ago, I had a friend from my early college years contact me out of the blue. As we interacted a bit, he invited me to check out his Facebook page to learn more about what was going on his life.

I took the bait and went to the site, only to discover I had to create an account to see his profile.

Again, I took the bait, entered the bare minimum info to create a profile, but never even checked out my own page. Looked at my buddies page and was done.

It wasn't too long before I started receiving friend invitations from people I don't think I even know. I let them sit.

So today I was shocked when the last person I imagined would ever be on Facebook, told me that he had fallen into "the rabbit hole."

That led to a funny conversation with some of our Student Ministries Staff (the young, hip guys). "Do I have to Facebook? Am I ok if I don't Facebook? I have a Facebook page, but don't want one. How do I get rid of my Facebook page?" They all got a good kick out my angst and pretty soon I started getting invitations from them and others in their network. Very funny!

Facebook and how it works is crazy. Very viral.

I have decided, yet again, that I simply do not have time for Facebook. Everyone of us draws our own line on our use and engagement with technology. I like my iphone. A lot. It is a management tool. I like to blog . . . for now. I think it's a shepherding/communication tool.

I can't do Facebook. . . I've got more going on the real world than I can handle . . . a God I want to network with, a wife with her own set of callings, 4 children, friends to see, too much email, so many books I want to read, a staff to manage, elders to connect with, congregants to shepherd and care for, blogs to post to, blogs to read, a soccer team to coach, bikes to ride and a whole lot more.

I need more real life face to face contact with people I care about and with the people who care about me.

And yet it is so seductive. I feel like I should be on Facebook. What am I missing out on if I'm not on Facebook?

I am pretty into technology, but I want to control it, not let it control me. I want to use it, not be used up by it. I want to push the power button to "off" more than I do. I want to have better and more clear technology boundaries than I do. I want to choose my rabbit holes and jump rather than be sucked down into them.

I want to sow in different places.

This is my line for now. What's yours? What technology are you limiting in your life? What are you saying "no" to?

Anybody want to try and talk me into Facebook?


Anonymous said...

Don't look at me. I minimally joined at a friend's invitation, too, but I do not have time to get sucked into it. Although I did just start my own blog... I guess that's my way of controlling technology instead of vice-versa. BTW, I really enjoyed your sowing and reaping message last week. Very timely. Very needed.

Jacquelyn said...

Things you will miss out on by not doing facebook
1.) dumb quizzes
2.) silly applications like "poke", "superhero" and millions of others
3.) feeling the need to let all your "friends" know what you are doing every moment of the day
4.) re-connecting with old friends you might not have thought about in years and after a couple of emails you might not contact again.

I do have a facebook page but I use it like an address book knowing that there are hundreds of old friends I might want to email or talk to at some point in my life. I like keeping them all in one place :) I think you made the right choice.

Jeannett Gibson said...

Ugh! I hate facebook! It makes me feel so old! I have no idea how it works or what it means! I feel like a 98 year trying to figure out "these new fangled cell phone things". I had the same thing happen to me...had a friend want me to look at her profile, had to create my own, and now I don't even know how on earth to use it! We're getting old Tim, let's face it. Sigh...

Brian Wong said...

Pastor Tim, I think it's fine that neither you, nor the previous posters have time for, or enjoy Facebook. You're not really a part of the "Facebook generation" anyways.

Don't get me wrong. Even though I'm part of that "generation," now that I'm working, I barely have time for it. I probably check it twice a month, if that often. I think most of my post-college friends feel the same way. As you noted with your long litany of things to do, priorities change. Time has to be budgeted, and often times, Facebook falls to the bottom of the heap.

What about LinkedIn? Now that's an entirely different story...

Erik said...

I'm with you, Tim. I don't have time to get involved in anything else...especially something that requires I sit in front of a computer longer than I already do. I've never even been to Facebook, or MySpace, or any of the other viral/online/friend/community sites.
It makes me sad when I hear people talk about how they rush to get the kids to bed so they can spend time online checking out their friends' Facebook pages, updating their own profiles and writing their blogs. One of the pastors at 1st Baptist did a sermon recently at Celebration talking about how this generation is one of the most lonely and separated in history. It's mainly because they think they're part a group, in a community and with friends...when in reality, they're sitting by themselves in a dark room with a computer.
Ok...I'm off my soapbox now...

Anna said...

I <3 Facebook!!! haha! I'm a new
"convert" but it's fun. You aren't missing that much though. If I had to choose...I'd pick the blog over facebook. I've "talked" to some old friends through facebook but much of it's superficial..."how are you?" and that's about it. Sooooo...

We promise we won't think of you as an out of date fogie! :-) I mean, you have an iphone for crying outloud...and even better, you probably know how to use it! That is very hip and up to date!!!

Susan Bowen said...

Hi Tim,
I admit it - I'm in my 40's and love Facebook. HOWEVER - I have chosen not to blog, or watch TV or play games online. I think it's all about choices, right? Like you say, we all choose our rabbit holes and jump.

Facebook has allowed me to maintain contact with distant friends (many in SLO, for example) even though it isn't deep, deep talk. From time to time I have phoned someone on my contacts list to ask them about their status line. Why are they tired, or overwhelmed, or painting their living rooms even though I liked the old color.

It's about self-control, too.... when it's time to be done, it's up to me to be disciplined enough to get back to the real world.

I agree that technology can be viral... our new car has a phone number.... why? I guess we just have to remember to use our toys as tools, not as time-suckers.

You have an iPhone? Cool! Steve wants one...

andy gibson said...

I'm not going to talk you into it. I drew the line as well, on facebook and myspace. I don't have profiles, nor do I anticipate them in the near future.

Now reading blogs, I'm addicted too. That's my line.

joy said...

it's just another thing to do--i say don't do it! i just opened a facebook page. we have a high school student living with us and i am discipling a college girl, so i joined to see what facebook is all about. it's just another distraction and definitely not a necessity.

Robbin said...

That's good for you, Tim. I started MySpace for the reason of keeping up with my own kids who were now out of the area, but I started adding past students and past classmates. I went to Facebook because MySpace was just too "messy" and Facebook was more user friendly for me. I'm finding so many of our past students when I first started working with the youth in 1990. Now THEY are the ones getting married and having kids and making ME feel old. But it's fun finding out how they are doing and when they come into town, I know it and can sometimes spend time with them. Have only done that a couple of times because I've been going out of town. But, yes, it is time consuming -- or just plain consuming. I decided I need to shut it down some, or at least just go on before work and after, and that I need to be in the Bible more than I am online. That is hard when you were never trained or never made it a regular part of your schedule, so pray for me as I train myself and work on spending more time with Him.

Rene' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My girls said I was "too old" to do Facebook. Funny. Friends invited me. I did what you did. And, there it sits. I"m happy to blog almost daily, email quite a bit, and do more face to face - I agree - I can't and won't do it all! Let my girls do their thing. Maybe they'll invite me someday--and I may reconsider - first, though, they need to read their mom's cool blog!

suedonaldson said...

See, I can't even comment correctly! That last comment was mine - i didn't know I was checking off "anonymous!"

Bernards said...


Thanks for posting your thoughts about face book. Once I read your post, my previously mixed up thoughts and internal instincts about FB were so clearly stated by you.

Would you mind if I linked this post on my blog...and even my, errr...FaceBook page?

Thank you for helping me clarify my feelings and reminding me of my priorities!!

Bernards said...

P.S. I was looking to send Summer R. a note from her blog, but the link posted on your blog does not work. Any suggestions?