I’ve never done anything serious for Lent, but this year I’ve been feeling a real need to do something to help me contemplate the season and prepare for Easter. One of the traditions of Lent is giving up fatty food, and in a way I’d like to do that. Only, the fat that I want to give up is Facebook and Twitter. To me, these are like the fat of the internet. Very tasty, but very bad for you if not used in moderation. I’ve found that recently I spend far too much time engrossed in these networks, with my attention split in too many different directions. I’d like to spend my time and attention on other things, at least for a little while.
So, from now until Easter, I’ll be abstaining from Twitter and Facebook. I’ve removed the apps from my iPod touch, removed the bookmarks from my phone and web browsers, and cleared them from my browser history. I will challenge myself not to read or post anything to Facebook or Twitter. I won’t post photos to Facebook or Twitter via my phone. I’ve disabled all notifications from Twitter and Facebook except for direct messages (i.e. if you comment on one of my previous Facebook posts, I won’t know about it, unless of course someone tells me), and my hope is that if I do get a message, I’ll be able to respond via email, so as not to need to log in to the site. I’m grateful that my job requirement doesn’t include the use of Twitter or Facebook, as that would make things very difficult.
So if I’m giving these things up, what do I hope to do with this time? I’d like to write more, specifically in blog entries. I’d like to have more in-person, telephone, or email conversations with people. I’d like to do more thinking and more focusing. I’d like to do better quality work, and spend more quality time engaged with my friends and family.
I realize that there will be challenges. People will undoubtedly ask if I’ve read such and such a thing that was posted on Twitter or Facebook, and I won’t have, unless it came across some other channel like a blog or email message. Sometimes I may have an impulsive, instinctive inclination to pop over to one of these websites just to ‘see what’s up,’ but I hope to minimize or eliminate that. And I do realize that Facebook and Twitter are increasingly becoming a legitimate channel for events, collaboration, and communication. If nothing else, maybe this will be a great lesson in the impact of social networking in modern society, and what the consequences are when you tune yourself out. Maybe within a few days I’ll be crazy and screaming and running right back. I don’t know. It’s a challenge!
So, if you want to get a hold of me, you can find my email on the contact page. I’ll still be reading my news feeds, reading and sending email, answering my phone. I’ll still upload photos to our gallery, and I’ll probably still share funny photos and links… I’ll probably just email them to specific people instead of posting them for all to see. If you want to find out what’s going on in my life, check out this blog, or, just ask me! If you want to comment, leave a comment on this blog!
I hope that you have a meaningful Lent. Let me know if you’ve chosen to do anything in particular to prepare for Easter.