Back in December I wrote a blog about Facebook. Pretty much, I realized that while the website offered a lot of benefits, it also had quite a few drawbacks. I weighed the pros and cons and decided it was time to quit Facebook, at least for a while.
For a month I stayed off of Facebook. Then I decided since I had sufficiently weaned myself off of the social network, I could start using it again, sparingly. And I did a pretty good job of that for a while.
But then little by little I started to use Facebook more and more. Before I knew it, I was back to spending too much time on Facebook.
I'm not sure the exact date I joined Facebook, but judging by my first profile picture, it was on or around March 8th 2007. I was 13.
As a point of reference for all you Facebook users, I joined about four major Facebook redesigns ago. That was back before old people could join, and to join, you had to either have a school email address or be confirmed by a high school classmate.
Over the last 53 months that I've been on Facebook. I've posted what I'm sure are thousands of comments, sent hundreds - maybe thousands - of messages, engaged in hours of chat conversations, looked at countless pictures, and connected with all sorts of people in various ways.
I can look back at these 53 months and see very little that I gained from it. Sure, I was able to use Facebook occasionally for a great ministry opportunity or as a helpful communication tool, but on the whole, most of those comments I posted or messages I sent won't have any lasting difference.
If, however, I had taken all that time I spent on Facebook and devoted it towards working on real-life relationships, volunteering with some ministry, writing more, or praying, I would have done something substantial over these last four plus years.
Facebook is a great tool, but it's probably an even greater distraction and time-waster. Inevitably when I post something like this, many people will offer anecdotal evidence about their lost classmate from high school that they reconnected with on Facebook. I get that. I too have used Facebook to foster some new friendships.
But the fact remains that we spend way too much time on Facebook. To put it in perspective, Facebook users spend 700 billion minutes on Facebook every single month. Now I know that just sounds like a big number, but to put it in a frame of reference for you, 700 billion minutes ago was the year 1,329,800 B.C.! That's a lot of time.
Think of all the social woes that could be alleviated if Facebook users had volunteered that time. Think of all the face-to-face relationships that could be established and cultivated using those 700 billion minutes every month.
Just imagine what a better place this world would be, if people had invested all of that time in real-life relationships and problems, instead of frittering away the time equivalent of more than 1.3 million years every single month.
Over the years I thought about quitting Facebook, but always I rationalized the existence of my presence on social networking. "It's a ministry opportunity; it's the only way to keep up with old friends; it's the easiest way to get in touch with people," were some of the excuses I used.
I don't know exactly what it was over these past few weeks, but the vague notions I've had recently about ending my Facebook profile finally coalesced into a decision to quit Facebook.
Without a Facebook I probably won't know be able to see what my 752 "friends" did with their weekends, and I won't be able to "like" any of their witty quotes.
But I will have more time to spend in the real life, more time to do things that will make a difference. And that's a trade I'm ready to make.
So last night I deleted my Facebook. Maybe you should too.