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The Facebook Farewell

Today, I unfriended everyone on Facebook and unsubscribed from every group to which I belonged.

My decision was not based on a terrible incident, or fear of government spying – definitely not the latter, as my father had worked for the NSA in the 1970’s on a project called Echelon. Nor did I do it to make a statement. It is a very personal decision.

I did it because of the noise.

I felt like something had been lost. My thought process had moved from “I cannot wait to share this with so and so” to “I can’t wait to share this with Facebook.” It was shotgun-communication. It was impersonal. It is disturbing when you reflect on it.

I tried unsubscribing from some people, and blocking all game requests, and only using Facebook on the weekends. But every time I logged in, even to do some maintenance on one of Eternal Revolution’s pages, there was this barrage of opinions, thoughts, tidbits, graphics and information that was not directed to me personally, but yet pushed through the boundary into my sphere.

We’ve lost touch with the inner life, driven to distraction. When the ceaseless flow of information stops, when I got caught up on my timeline, I felt a need to consume more. And how much of it was relevant to what God and I were working on today in my life? Very little.

I felt as though I lost something in interpersonal skills. Instead of constructing a message through email to send to an individual person, crafted however briefly, I was broadcasting a message to hundreds of people at once. And not everything was relevant or necessary for them to know. Thus I was imposing on others with most of my messages just as they were on me. My networking skills grew lax, as I could always rely on Facebook to serve up the information or keep tabs on others. I want my communication and use of the gift of language to be intentional.

I know a lot of good people who are changing the world without Facebook. And all the great ones who have in the past did not use it. So obviously it is no requirement for making a difference in the world, or in yourself. It might even be the opposite.

I won’t delete my Facebook account, as I still will use the pages for Eternal Revolution and feed information there, but by unfriending everyone I cut myself off from that particular social network.

For my friends, or any one else that wants to communicate something to me, there are dozens of direct ways to contact me – phone, email, postal service – you know how to find me. And I can reach out to you, intentionally and directly, as well.

Paul Nowak is a husband and father of 6, who also happens to be a writer and author. He has written The Way of the Christian Samurai among other books.