Why I Won't Be Deleting My Facebook Account | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, March 08, 2010

Why I Won't Be Deleting My Facebook Account

The other night I had a dream.  While I don't remember a lot of the details (I rarely do), I do remember that there were an awful lot of people featured in this particular dream.  People from various eras of my life, people who I don't necessarily keep in touch with, people who I haven't seen in years.  And yet, each of them had a starring role in my subconscious the other night.

There was one of my best friends from high school.  Even though we both attended the same University, I rarely saw her there as our majors were so completely different.  I don't think I've seen her since 1995.  There was one of my MTC teachers.  I see him occasionally at mission reunions, but I haven't been to one for over 3 years, so it's still been a while.   Speaking of missions, there was a Romanian boy whose family I taught, too.  And several others, one from my Arizona years, a fellow vocalist from college and one from the first ward Joel and I were in as newlyweds.

It used to be that when a person I hadn't thought of in years showed up in my dreams, I would wake up and rack my brain to try and figure out why.  These days, it happens a lot more often, and I only have to look at my computer screen to know why.

I blame Facebook.

I'm not even one of those who spends super amounts of time on the website, either.  I usually update my status at some point during the day and read a few pages of news feed, comment on a status or two, and then I'm done with it until the next day.  And yet, nearly every day I see all of these people who were characters in the story of my dream, and once upon a time were characters in the story of my actual life.

I go back and forth with my feelings about Facebook.  Sometimes I feel like unfriending all of these people who I probably would have been fine never thinking about again.  Sometimes I feel like never opening up the website again, especially after a hurtful argument took place in my status last week between people who have never even met each other in their lives (long story).  Sometimes I start feeling like I have no privacy in my life (my own fault, I know) and sometimes I really think it's all stupid.

And of course, there's all the articles you see online touting the evils of Facebook.  I do agree with many of their points, and then I'm not sure what to do with my account.  Ramp up privacy settings?  Delete?  Ignore?

But then, I will receive a friend request from somebody I really did want to find.  Or I will post a dilemma in my status and get really good advice.  Or someone will post a link that is very informative and teaches me something.  I've found people to whom I taught the Gospel on my mission.  And when they send you messages like,
"Well i was just visiting this site and honest is good to find some of your old friends . i am cucu george's brother from Romania..you and you family loke just great and healthy .that is good ...i've bin on the mission if you dont know . i served almost 4 years ago in munich Germany , and that was the best time in my life . i Wanted so hard to thank you for coming to my family with the messege of the Restauration wich has change'd our life . Thank you sister Preston."
I mean, the joy a message like that brings completely trumps having weird dreams about people I really don't think about all that often.

Don't you agree?

30 comments :

  1. I agree 1010%!!! I have a sick love/hate relationship with Facebook, too, and could never quite put it into words. You have done so, masterfully! Thank you!

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  2. Exactly. President Powell spoke about technological time wasting at Stake Conference yesterday. And while I agree, and can do better, those that think it is all bad just don't know the joy of connecting with someone you never would have otherwise. It's about balance and priorities. In fact, I'm done for the morning now I guess.

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  3. I hear so much negativity about facebook and I have a cousin who deleted her account twice and is now off b/c she spent too much time on it. I did have this initial fb obsession where I was on it way too much & I accepted friend requests from people who never gave me the time of day in the real world. Now I just categorize lists under friends so I can find my family & actual friends ASAP. I've been amazed, though, to discover friendships with acquaintances I barely knew that have grown through fb and amazed that some unexpected people regularly follow my comments and contribute. FB and blogging have also definitely helped me get to know my husband's family and stay in touch with my sisters, which has been invaluable!

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  4. I have similar feelings about facebook. Truthfully, I've been deleting people lately, who either have just "friended" me and never done anything past that or who cause contention. I am also fine if people take me off their lists for their reasons too. I fully realize I am a basketcase and not the nicest person sometimes.

    However, I have had similar experiences as you've described as well. In fact, you and Joel were some of the people I most wanted to find, because you were some of my favorite people ever. (YAY facebook!!). I also found out the only lady I taught and baptized as a missionary is now active and has been to the temple, via facebook. And then a new member family I taught is finally coming back to church because we've restablished contact via facebook.

    So yes, it has it's goods and bads, but i really think it's what you make it.

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  5. Loved that e-mail, Lara. And you're right: That does make the other stuff more bearable.

    But I'm also at the point where I feel like people know too much about me. And I can't get over the narcissistic 'feel' to Facebook. Along with Twitter, it seems to suggest that "how I feel or what I'm doing at this very moment, no matter how mundane or insignificant, is worthy of your time and attention."

    Ick.

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  6. I used to really hate it. But I've been on it a lot more, and it helps me connect to those people who aren't blogging.

    I've rather enjoyed it.

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  7. Moderation in all things...

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  8. That was a very thoughtful post. I've never been into Facebook a lot, and only spend a few minutes a week on it. I'm always about ready to forget it forever, but then, I have had a few of those moments you mention.

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  9. I love facebook, but I tend to be wary of people who are so private... honestly, I don't really have much to hide...
    What a nice thing though, nothing that fantastic happens to me. :)

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  10. I totally agree. I am on FB to connect with friends. I try to keep it light. I don't accept friend requests from everyone, and I have blocked hearing every little thing from most people. You can tailor it to your own level of commitment.

    Can I look for you on FB?

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  11. Hey, Lara, I so relate to your feelings about facebook--they apply to blogging, as well. I also just got some goodreads updates for books you reviewed and I'm thinking I'm a good girl, too. Sadly, so are the people I am having trouble with and since they aren't wanting to deal with their feelings and fall apart at being made to feel they are anything but perfect, I'm not getting very far. Sigh. Wish I could take you to lunch. : )

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  12. I very much agree. At stake conference we were pretty much told to scale back on our online time and that facebook, texting, blogging can cause to be so busy as to not feel the spirit in our lives when we need to and that we don't worry about our real life relationships. I only agree to an extent. I know that we can definitely become addicted and that is not good, but there have been so many times that I have found a friend that has meant a lot to me or been able to share encouraging words with someone that I wouldn't have known they were struggling if it weren't for facebook or blogs. I just don't call up everyone that has been in my life to talk to them in person. There have been days when I have been real down and there was a great message from a close friend that I really needed so yes I agree, but of course all things in moderation. Great post.

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  13. I'm with you... I've just upped my security setting to as secure as you can go, and I use status updates to link to my blog posts. And that's it. I like it because it has helped me contact people that I may not have an email address for... convenience in that respect. But I also HATE the triviality of constant status updates and all the other meaningless stuff that clutters newsfeeds and what not. The quizzes, the games... time wasters is what I call em!

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  14. I have finally come to terms with Facebook. It is my husband's job to upload pictures and other things onto his FB page and it is my job to just have an account so people can get a hold of me in necessary. Otherwise, I totally ignore it for months on end. I love relationships that don't require any work.

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  15. I love it. While I agree that there are people I could do without. Every now and then they surprise me and I just like knowing I can reach out whenever without wondering "what ever happened to such-and-such".

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  16. Was it me? Did I make it into your dream? Facebook is definitely not my favorite way to stay in touch. I'll take a blog any day!

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  17. WOW that message would totally trump it for me! There is good and bad about these social networking sites, and even blogs (not yours ;) ). Maybe take the good with the bad, but it seems yours is a lot of good!

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  18. Facebook has been a way for me to connect to my friends from Spain ... so to me it is PRICELESS! To go through and see photos and updates of dear friends that I might not ever see again in this life is a fantastic gift. I just like to keep it in check and not let all the other drama I see happening get to me. And once I figured out how to turn off all the farmville, mafia, etc. notifications, I was even happier with it all!

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  19. I'm with you. There are people, two cousins in particular, that I haven't seen in over 20 years because of a riff between their parents and the rest of the family that caused us to never speak again. Thank goodness for Facebook, where we found each other again and have been back in contact! What a blessing.

    But the dumb stuff about facebook abounds for me too. Ugh.

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  20. I do agree with you. What a beautiful, beautiful message.

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  21. Just like all media - Facebook is what YOU make of it. I love it! I have kids living far away that I miss tremendously. Facebook gives me that little fix I need everyday - to see their cute faces! And they leave me little notes all the time:) Like everything, it can be misused or a blessing. I love to more easily communicate with important friends and family that would be difficult and far between otherwise.

    Kristin

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  22. Most definitely agree.

    But I must say, dreams with random stars from your past could be highly entertaining.

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  23. Because you don't know me...you may not really care what I think, but I will add to the others....I agree, it is a great tool if you use it as a tool and not a gossip session. I only did it because of my grown children who use it daily! And I have connected with some "old" high school people that actually found me...that I was really never close to in school, I like to go on to see pics of those "old" high school people...it always makes me feel better about myself LOLOLOLOL. For real...I am appalled by some of the things people write just to say something so unimportant! But good or bad, it has connected peoples lives. BTW I love your blog, which I think is so much more inspirational and brings people closer together. I have met some wonderful people through blogging all over the world...and YOU...YOU are the first LDS blog I have come across!!!! I AM SO HAPPY! AWESOME WONDERFUL Christian people in the world but never a blog like yours and I don't remember how I came across you! MILES OF SMILES!

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  24. Facebook rocks. (With a very healthy dose of the the "Hide" button.)

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  25. This is why I'm such a fan of hiding people.

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  26. It is SO worth having. For those connections!

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  27. That last bit is completely awesome. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to touch someone's life.

    As for facebook, I too have had my misgivings, but I've caught up with so many people that I've lost contact with that I can't seem to give it up. I'm really careful with whom I befriend though.

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  28. As with anything that has the potential for good, there will be a way for abuse.

    Me and some family were just having this conversation and I found out that two seperate wards have had to do a combined priesthood/rs meeting on the appropriate use of FB.

    Interesting

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  29. I know what you mean. It's a love hate thing. Like brownies and cell phones. If it wasn't for FB, Chris's old mission president wouldn't have found him. Chris doesn't have a FB acct, but they found him through mine. He went to UT last weekend for the reunion and it was a great experience for him. So yeah, FB isn't all bad. But I feel the way you do a lot.

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