Facebook: Keeping the Tool in the Tool Box

After confessing to my affair with facebook , sharing what I learned from a month-long facebook fast, and telling you all the other places I’d rather spend time online, many of you have asked,


Did I delete my facebook page?

No. All that time away from facebook helped me see that facebook was a time waster for me. But all the time spent learning to develop my blog made it clear what a great tool facebook is. I did not feel I could afford give up facebook. I realized it was a tool I should learn to use properly, rather than something that controls me.

So, how did I find balance in my facebook usage?

Here’s my secret to keeping facebook in its place.
Are you ready?
It’s really, really simple, but it works:
I only go on facebook ever other day. And no weekends. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
That’s it.

Setting these simple boundaries of ‘facebook days’ and ‘non-facebook’ days is the easiest way I have found from getting sucked into hours wasted online. I don’t have to set a timer, have an accountability partner, or even deal with withdrawal symptoms. Limiting my usage of the site automatically helped me keep the perspective of ‘it’s a tool’ – when do get on, it’s with a purpose. I check my profile, respond to friends and notifications, and then scroll through the homepage IF I have time.

Do I miss stuff?

Yes.

Has it killed me?

No.

As entertaining and fun and cool as facebook is, I’ve never read anything on facebook that I couldn’t have lived without or found somewhere else. 

 The difficulty is that so many people use facebook as their primary communication and relationship tool, and if you don’t keep up with them on facebook, you can’t keep up at all. I’ve decided that’s a price I’m willing to pay. I don’t want to get sucked into the majority of my relationships only existing in the electronic realm. I don’t want hours on facebook stealing precious moments talking and praying with a friend on the phone, or busily tidying my house so I can host a friend for dinner. I never want electronic relationships to steal time from face-to-face fellowship with my husband, my children, or the wonderful friends God has given me.

What DO I use facebook for?

It’s helpful for me to have a goal in mind whenever I sit down at the computer, especially when I sign in to facebook. My goal on facebook – the primary reason I’m there – is to deepen relationships. Here’s how I do that:

  • I’m on facebook to guide people to my blog, where I invest more of me and the communication and sharing is deeper and fuller.
  • I use facebook  to connect with old and new friends. Once we find each other, I get their blog, email, or phone number so we can connect on a deeper level, eventually getting to the point of meeting face-to-face. (This is really fun!)
  • I only follow a few close friends – ones for whom facebook is their primary online presence. I will visit their page to check out photos and links they have posted so that I can stay current with what’s important to them.   
  • I only post a personal status when I feel I have something worthy to say (with the occasional exception because I love randomness!) 

Have I ever broken my own rules?

Yes. But not often, ’cause I really like it when facebook stays where it belongs in my life (pretty far down on the list, let me tell you). I have made some exceptions:

  1. When I read something cool online and want to share it, I’ll click the ‘share on facebook’ link, but once I’ve posted it to my page, I x out of the window and move on. It’s how I keep the tool in the tool box unless I’m using it. 
  2. My All That Is Good facebook page – I try to keep that current as it is an extension of my blog and part of my system for growing my blog. But if I’m on ATIG’s page, I try to resist the temptation to switch over to my personal profile.

I love facebook. But I’m no longer addicted. And if feels great.


How about you? Do you struggle with facebook stealing time, or is it something else online? How do you keep your computer time in balance? 


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8 responses to “Facebook: Keeping the Tool in the Tool Box”

  1. Elisabeth Allen Avatar

    You said, “The difficulty is that so many people use facebook as their primary communication and relationship tool, and if you don't keep up with them on facebook, you can't keep up at all …” I actually left Facebook in Spring 2009 and the hardest thing was realising that some people won't keep in touch in other ways. I've had to let most of those relationships go. But, on the other hand, my “real” relationships with the people who will work on relationships in other ways have deepened … and that's good. Although I chose to leave Facebook, I'm so glad you've found a way to use it as a tool. It's a lot of fun and, to be honest, I miss it sometimes!

  2. Erin Avatar

    I deactivated my facebook page over a year ago. (Sadly, you can never really close it for good.) I originally created an account to keep up with friends and family who weren't very good about e-mailing, calling or writing. I soon got sucked in. To best steward my time I just had to get off. Not to mention the fact that my husband wasn't thrilled with all of the relationships I was building independently of him. With so much opportunity to be exposed to and indirectly connected to evil (through “friends”), God really showed me that deactivation was the best choice. Is it still a temptation? Yes. Have I lost touch with some dear friends who only post on facebook? Yes. Do I miss seeing pictures of my family that are only posted to facebook? Yes. Is it going to kill me? No. Now I just have to deal with being a better steward of my time when it comes to reading blogs… 🙂

    Side note: One of our pastors recently preached about how the term “friend” has been watered down by social networks such as facebook. He asked the question, “Would you be willing to lay down your life for all of your facebook “friends”?” The Bible (KJV) says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Maybe we need to, in general, more carefully consider who we call our “friends”…

  3. Daniella Avatar
    Daniella

    Love this series of posts! I appreciate all the insight and ideas about facebook, it goes along with what I've been feeling for awhile so it was great affirmation that I am moving in the direction of less FB time! I've had loose rules about FB, but I REALLY like your every-other-day rule, 3 x's a week only. Sounds good for me too, so I will be going with that. I hope to cultivate more relationships through phone calls and hand-written letters and playdates and outings!
    Blessings!
    Daniella

  4. Kristina Avatar

    Trina, Yes I do use the google reader! That is such a time saver and I like the timer thing. I think that I will try do that now. Thanks for the tips!
    Looking forward to HOPEFULLY seeing you soon!:)

  5. Trina Avatar

    Kristina, you are right – if it's not facebook it's somethin' else. I still waste time online on the days I don't facebook – but I'm continually working to better my time management and self discapline. I love blog hopping, too – a timer set for 10 or 15 min. helps me keep from getting carried away there! Also, you should try using Google Reader to keep up on your favorite blogs – it notifies you when a new post comes up, instead of you having to go visit every blog each day to see who's updated their blog…

    Jess, I see this everywhere in relationships and it saddens me. I'm trying to really focus on ever deepening my relationships – I don't want to get sucked into that shallow zone. I need the honesty, the accountability, the fellowship of true friendships…

    I'm so grateful for the depth of relationship that has happened here on my blog with you all in the past few months!

  6. Jessica Avatar

    I was just reading something somewhere about the decline in real face to face relationships and the effect it has on physical and mental health….of course I can't remember where it was that I read it.

  7. ~Jess Avatar

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Kristina Avatar

    Thanks Trina, That was good. I don't have Facebook.Just blogging. But I know that Blogging has become addicting to me. I like how you go on every other day. I think that I will try that out. I feel like I have to check everything in the blogging world everyday,all day. It DOES take away from your home/family time. Thank you so much for be so honest too!
    Love ya girl an I hope that we can get together VERY soon! I would love to get back in touch with you.:)

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