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.

Hit Me Up On Facebook Yo!

The Chief is taking over Facebook!

Ok…we’re not really a tiny blurp on Zuckerberg’s radar…but you can help with that.

Facebook pioneer
I’m addicted to Facebook…take all the private info you want Mr. Zuckerberg…

If you’re into connecting through social media let me direct your attention to the sidebar. “Chief of The Least” just started an official Facebook page. It’s situated between the “Subscribe” menu and “Twitter” feed to your right. If you have a Facebook, I’d be honored if you “like” the page.

I still have some doubts that the WordPress.com helper monkeys transferred all my followers from the previous blog. Posts on .org are getting less than half the traffic they did in the previous blog.

Regardless, I appreciate the faithful readers who made the treacherous Oregon trail-esque journey with me over here. I write because I love to write. Connecting it with an audience is a bonus I don’t deserve.

Peace and grace,

and don’t forget…

Word is: Facebook is holding his soul hostage.
Word is: Facebook is holding his soul hostage.

Bryan Daniels

 

I’m a Winklevoss Twin; God is Faithful

I empathize with the Winklevoss Twins.

No, I’m not born into ridiculous wealth and I have not received ridiculously more wealth riding on the heels of Mark Zuckerberg.

But the sentiments of one of the jaded Winklevoss twins from “The Social Network” resonates with me. Bewildered at the overnight growth of “TheFacebook” (650 people registered the first day) he says, “If I was a drug dealer I couldn’t give free drugs away to six hundred and fifty people in one day!”

I feel him.

When surveying the litany of part-time jobs I held throughout college the one I was probably most ill fitted for was appliance salesman. I couldn’t give free washers and dryers away if I tried. I’m not a closer by any sense of the word and I don’t have that wheelin’ and dealin’ killer instinct. Some people could sell ice to an Eskimo, I’d find it difficult to give away free snuggies to one. On the job, I was there to politely answer any pertinent questions and I tried to stay relatively knowledgable about the product, but employee of the month I was not. In the end, I figured if they really wanted to make a major purchase, they’d do it.

This natural disposition doesn’t necessarily serve me well in the spiritual realm. Mentally I go through a thousand ways a ministry opportunity could fail before I step into it. Too many times, I make baseless assumptions about people’s spiritual state: they’re not ready for the gospel, it’s not God’s timing, it’s not an appropriate situation. I’m not saying I never share the gospel, I am saying my preconceptions get in the way of sharing much more than they should.

This shouldn’t be.

Especially as one called to give free grace away to those who are dead in their sins (Eph 2:3-5). Sharing the gospel is not like talking a dog off a meat truck, it’s more like resuscitating a drown victim with life-giving air.

This is one of the many areas my life doesn’t seem to match up to the biblical reality. And this is where I am thankful that the underlying (and overlying!) thread in biblical reality is not me, but God and His glorious grace through Jesus Christ (Eph 1:6).

I’m reminded of the verse my spiritual mentor shared with me in my early Christian walk. They were the words that had kept him going when the fires of life’s diversity were raging or the fruit of ministry seemed wanting.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it. (1 Thess 5:23-24)

Though I am certain there are many areas in my life the Holy Spirit will continue to convict, encourage, and change, I can thank God for this: His mission, His purpose, His calling is not predicated on my impotent ability to muster up faithfulness or boldness, but rather His infinite ability to call and equip whom He pleases while working all things according to how He pleases (Eph 1:11).

My “natural disposition” must bow down to the infinite purposes of a Sovereign King.

Doubt be damned.

And it will be.

And it is.

He is faithful.

He will do it.

Bryan Daniels

Get off Facebook! BE A MAN!

Paul Washer is one of my favorite voices in the recent Reformed movement. He’s passionate, radical, sometimes abrasive and frequently offends his audience…probably just as a forerunner to the Bridegroom should do (just look at that rough and tumble wild man John the Baptist!) A healthy 1/3 of the sermons on my IPod are from Paul Washer with Piper, Chandler and Driscoll compiling the rest.

I know it seems hypocritical and a bit ironic to post a video rant about Facebook on a blog, especially when it is likely this will be shared via Facebook. There is more here than just an epic rant I assure you. Biblical manhood is Washer’s main focus, and I believe FB and the social media craze in general has an unhealthy grip on both young men and women. A majority of women age 18-35 check their facebook account’s in the morning before they even pee. That’s some news, folks. I share a generation that values a self-indulgent stalker tool over the basic essential bodily functions and needs.

I probably already have YOU!

Though there is much to lament about our societal fixation with the trivial (Trolololo Man, I regret to indict you), I know the Holy Spirit has the power to break through the self-inflicted distractions of our lives. I hope Washer’s message doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Godly men will not be found until grown boys repent of their wayward consumption of entertainment and social media.

And I’ll admit, I should be the first one in that line.

Bryan Daniels