That’s how long Josh Harris was plugged into Facebook. This morning, Josh shares why he has decided to leave Facebook after having joined it about a week ago. His reasons are as follows:
1. I just don’t have enough self-control not to check my page constantly. In one week I saw what many of you warned me about: it’s addictive. I found myself tempted to update my “status” every five minutes. “Joshua Harris is walking across his office. Joshua Harris sitting in his office chair. Joshua Harris is wasting valuable time describing what he is doing.”
2. This year I’m starting work on a new book and when I’m writing I am looking for any excuse not to write. When I’m supposed to be writing I am so easily sidetracked. I want to clear my inbox, weed the garden, answer emails that I’ve already answered, trim my nails…you name it, I am looking for distraction. If I had the temptation to check my Facebook during a writing project, I’d be a goner. The book would never get written.
3. The other reason I feel right about making my time with Facebook just a visit is a little harder to explain. How do I put this? I found that it encouraged me to think about me even more than I already do–which is admittedly already quite a bit. Does that make any sense? Without any help from the internet I’m inclined to give way too much time to evaluating myself, thinking about myself and wondering what other people think of me. If that egocentrism is a little flame, than Facebook for me is a gasoline IV feeding the fire. I need to grow in self-forgetfulness. I need to worry more about what God is thinking of me. I need to be preoccupied with what he’s written in his word, not what somebody just wrote on my “wall.”
4. I need to read more. There are so many good books I want to read and so little time. If I added up the few minutes here and there that I spent checking Facebook this past week it wouldn’t be an insignificant amount of time. I’d rather give that time to reading.
I don’t know about you, but I can really relate to what Josh has mentioned here about the potential (and real) effects Facebook can have on a person. I remember the first week I joined Facebook, I created photo albums, developed my “profile,” and made numerous friend requests. But the Facebook program is but one of many potentially addictive things in our Internet-hyped age. Inboxes, blogs, online forums, and other forms of social networking like MySpace and Twitter have also contributed to the case where people have the computer glow on their faces.
I am not a pastor. However, I am a husband, soon-to-be father, full-time seminary student (15 hours this semester), part-time employee (working 3rd shift at UPS), and developing The Protos Fellowship (an evangelistic effort to reach 3rd shifters with the gospel). I also happen to enjoy photography, backpacking, and exercising on the side. One of the constant challenges is finding ways to balance all these aspects of life, keeping priorities in their appropriate place, and examining my heart and life so as to not avoid burnout.
With all that said, I try to be conscious and sensitive to my time management, productivity, and spiritual disciplines. I am really interested in hearing from others how they balance time on the Internet–particularly with those of you who blog, read blogs, and/or have Facebook or MySpace accounts–with other, more important, aspects of life (personal devotion, family, ministry, church, work, etc.).
In other words, how can Christians be “in but not of the Internet world?” If you’ve got a moment, I’d like to hear your thoughts.