The Facebook Dilemma

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How you use time is how you live your life.

Can’t live with and hard to live without it (Facebook, that is).

A few events helped shaped my new outlook on how to control social media, Facebook especially, rather than having it control me.

1. I found three of my students after class on their phones texting one another using social media.
2. I spent time in England and Wales, one week on an isolated Welsh farmhouse, without the Internet. I did not miss it but I admit when I got near a library I had an almost uncontrollable urge to check my emails and Facebook page.
3. I did a time study of my own. One week I clocked how much time I spent online, including Facebook. The time was beyond my most liberal projections. I figured I could do more with my life than spend it online.

Now I realize social media including Facebook have some redeeming qualities. Social movements especially owe some of their momentum to social media for keeping people in touch. Families and friend stay in touch with either social media, cell phones, or such programs as Skype. None of these are bad in and of themselves.

What does strike me as troublesome is the impact all these media have on the human brain. I have seen studies which show how younger minds are impacted–loss of ability to think more deeply and over longer periods of time. Multi-tasking can do that to your brain. I also wonder whether deeper relationships are really possible over Facebook. Acquaintances work on social media, but I seriously doubt if I would reveal a great deal of my deeper life issues over public media. I think I would prefer a more personal touch, like being in the same room.

I have made a decision to limit myself to one hour a week (one sitting) to use social media. I figure if I have something important to talk about I will call or see someone, not tweak them or send a cyberspace message to whomever is out there reading my messages. I will use email for friends and relatives who live too far away to see in person. A small step for me, but I feel better already.

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Filed under Ethics, Philosophy, Self care, Spirituality, Time

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