I’m Quitting Facebook: And the Fantasy of Social Media

I recently deactivated my personal Facebook and I’m in the process of deleting my Twitter.

I’m tired of being a slave.

Not that this route of abstinence is necessary for everyone. I’m sure many can use such social media tools in moderation. But for now, I’m not one of them.

I’ve seen the dire effects of social media on this SmartPhone generation I teach everyday. If my ninth graders are not texting, they’re tweeting. If they’re not tweeting, they’re sharing pics on Instagram. If they’re not Instagramming, they’re liking on Facebook. If they’re not liking on Facebook, they’re Snapchatting. If they’re not snapchatting, they’re sharing their Flappy Bird score. If they’re not sharing their flappy bird score, they’re texting…

And so their virtual world turns, revolving around 3 X 2 inch screen that makes everything, especially relationships, smaller. With a hunched posture and lowered gaze, they bow before their handheld idols all day long.

My drug of choice the past year(s) has been Facebook and Twitter. The little red number that pops over the little blue world has been a confirmation of my social value. The retweet or the favorite has been a welcome endorsement of my public thoughts. None of the satisfaction lasts, and none of it has depth.

I want to try to plant my time and resources into the people that matter most.

Hopefully, twenty years from now my sons will remember a dad who joyfully Hulk Smashed them onto the living room couches during their early childhood. They won’t remember the brief time dad’s witty post on Skinny Jeans went viral.

Hopefully, forty years from now my wife will remember her husband looking into her eyes before bed every night and saying with focused intensity “I love you.” She won’t remember all the funny YouTube cat videos I showed her or the times we spent all night gazing into our Iphones.

And I could try to be balanced and nuanced and put boundaries and clear guidelines up as far as my social media use. 1. Only fifteen minutes a day 2. No use right when I get home from work ….. etc. I have in the past. But it’s easier for this dog to return to his vomit than learn new tricks.

The chimera of social media has stunted our relational growth. We’ve swung into the carnival door on the whim of our thumbs and now we measure every real world experience and relationship with the fleeting fantasy of faux social contact. I’ve heard normal ninth grade girls mention they have thousands of Instagram followers. They only personally know a fraction of their followers. They largely have no clue who is viewing or using their pictures for fancy sake.

That is scary.

But that big contrived social media platform affirms their worth.

“It’s not real,”

I told a high school FCA group yesterday about our obsession with social media “relationships.” And those words probably resonated with me more than them. There was a time (like 15 years ago) people met physically for face to face encounters and fellowship. Over tea or barbecue or wiffle ball.

But there’s also a cost involved in that: It’s harder to hide a zit or bad hair day in the flesh.

It’s harder to be inauthentic in the flesh. As a result, it’s easier to be known in the flesh.

And so the unfortunate catch is this: We’ve so controlled our public persona that no one really knows us. Sure, they know the facade we’ve carefully constructed to be seen by others. But they don’t know the hurts, dreams, fears and failures at our soul level. We don’t bare those groanings to an inanimate screen. We only bare those groanings to fellow souls we trust.

And who we trust has gotten narrower and narrower because our social life has been imprisoned within the dull glare of a smart box. And one of our deepest human longings, to be truly known and accepted, has been blurred and manipulated through the lens of a device we control…or controls us. And I know it’s not a handheld issue, but a heart issue at stake here. This is true with anything in life that lords over us.

So I will attempt to break out of the box for a while.

To be a better husband, father, and friend.

To be known, and to know.

Bryan Daniels

*I will still post on this blog irregularly as time permits.

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

18 thoughts on “I’m Quitting Facebook: And the Fantasy of Social Media”

  1. Wow. I just put out a poem about this topic today. Your post does a much better job of elaborating my concerns about social media, both for myself and others. I was telling my wife today that I’m glad we didn’t have cell phones when we were dating. It’s so sad to see couples paying more attention to their phones than each other. I haven’t had to fire Facebook yet. It’s just lost its attraction. But it did take up way too much of my time and attention for way too long. Also, you tend to forget how artificial electronic relationships really are. Well done.

      1. You’re welcome, Bryan. I’m posting this on Facebook, too. Whether someone chooses to drop it altogether or simply reexamine their behavior, it’s a subject worth consideration.

  2. This is a crazy post!!!!! (crazy in a good way)
    There was a lot of ouch and geez as I read it. You have done a great job of hitting the nail on the head!!!

    – I have had to make a conscious decision to stop going on to Facebook so much and I have deliberately not signed up to stuff like snapchat, Instagram and other social networks.
    As a kids minister I have seen another danger our kids are facing because of the age we live in. They are no longer sensitive to the things of God. They are becoming more and more desensitized by the day as the focus shifts from God to friends and themselves!!!
    Some people could label your stand as extreme but I think we all need to take a serious look at ourselves and see how this media age has really affected us……I have been affected and my focus has been divided!
    But it must change and it starts with us…..

    A timely post…….God bless……


  3. Great post! Thankfully I have avoided the social media world beyond WordPress and LinkedIn, however I recently cancelled my LinkedIn account in order to guard my heart. I pray that your decision will be without regret and be effective in strengthening your heart ties with Jesus and your family.

  4. Bryan, I agree. It’s amazing what we humans do with technology. If I understand correctly,Facebook was originally built so college students who went to school together could “keep in touch” after graduation Now we’ve turned it into the relationship itself. Never doubt man’s ability to abuse a gift. I’m guilty of abusing the gift. 20 years ago, 10 years ago, would you have ever dreamed of calling up everyone you know to tell them what you’re having for dinner? I’ve made some good friends on Facebook, people I haven’t yet met in person, but then other people I have met have turned against me. Again, I’m guilty of that, too. So, what is it about “the screen” that makes us so…batty?

    And I believe a lot of people are seeing it this way as well. I read a report recently that said Facebook is likely on its way out and could be gone by 2018. Maybe everyone is getting tired of the faux relationships.

    Another great write up, Bryan. Keep up the good work.

  5. I’ve just recently deleted all my Facebook account & info, decided I didn’t want that atmosphere in my life. I thought it would be difficult to let go, but as I began to spend my time with Yeshua, it faded from memory so quick – and it’s not missed one bit.

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