Why I am deleting Facebook this month (and what it means for you!)

Edit 8/20 4:35 – of my own accord, I changed a little of the language, as I thought it could read as harsher than I intended for it to read.

 

I have decided – it is official (please pretend there is whooping, hollering, and musical fanfare behind this post) – I am leaving facebook at the end of this month! Yay!

Here’s a little bit of why.

The best I can reckon it, there are about 4 types of people in my life.

Type #1 – I’m related to them. Whether I like it or not, we are closely enough related that we see each other, whether we want to or not – ha! But seriously, on all sides of my family I have wonderful family members, and even though sometimes there is tension, I’ve been blessed to have wonderful blood relatives and wonderful in-laws.

These are the people that, if I was eaten by a shark, would be devastated and would have to decide what to do with my stuff.

Type #2 – my actual friends. I have a pretty strict definition of “friend.” A friend is someone who wants to invest in my life, be a part of it, interact with it, or receive any of those 3 actions from it. They want to be around me. If it were not for connecting circumstances – i.e., if we did not work together, were not related, did not used to work together, did not used to go to church together, they would still want to connect with me. And that is a friend. The connection may happen more often for closer friends, and less often for not-as-close-friends, but there is a connection there that is selfless – the interest and investment of another individual, without the motivation of self-gain. It goes both ways, too!

I cannot tell you how uplifting it is to have someone reach out to me, unwarranted – “just because.” Few things in life are more special than when someone “checks up on me.”

And few things are more sad to me than when someone stops doing so. That is one reason that it is difficult going from one church to another. Because many move from “friend” to the next level down – “acquaintance.” That is part of life. I thank God that many of our relationships from Florida, Ohio, and Tennessee stood the test of time! But I always have regretted that many have not.

There are the people that, if I was eaten by a shark, would cry, and would attend my funeral or send flowers to my family.

Type #3 – Acquaintances. These may be friendly, but they are not friends. (Edit: These are not bad people! I have wonderful and great acquaintances!) These are most of my facebook friends. These people and I make no effort to be a part of each other’s life. They are the folks that I’ve not made an effort to connect to, either. Sometimes the acquaintance is mutual, and we share something in common – but the key point is that there is no real investment into each other’s life.

Sometimes, friends make an investment into my life, and hopefully I see this and acknowledge it and am grateful, and return in kind. But when I miss it, I’m guilty of treating them wrongly and they deserve better.

Sometimes, I, on the other hand, attempt to communicate to these people, and there is no return.

That is what facebook is, isn’t it? A platform for us to present ourselves to other people, and all the time hoping they’ll notice and take the small action of clicking a “like” button? What a small reward for what a friend is supposed to be.

In some cases, these can be the people that have no reason to invest into my life, unless they are wanting something in return. They want to be heard, not to listen. Or they want the satisfaction of their own desires, and treat me as a step to attain personal satisfaction in some way. The calls are only when convenient, or needed.

In some cases, these can be the people that are only cordial when you agree with them. I’ve not had many of these people over the years, but I’ve had some.

You choose to be friends on your terms and someone else’s – it is two way! Acquaintances are relationships only on your terms and timing, however.

These are the people that, if I was eaten by a shark, would not find out, or would briefly hang their head, sigh, and then go about their day.

 

Type #4 – Strangers. These are, obviously, people I don’t know.

If I was eaten by a shark, they’d not find out, or perhaps would read about it in the news.

I’m fairly convinced that no one stays in a static position on my list, or on yours. We are either developing a relationship with each other (even if slowly), or we are letting it dissolve.

I recently deleted 100 friends from my facebook. I expect that not one has noticed yet, or will notice (how I would love to be mistaken on that!). They were acquaintances. And I got the feeling that I was desperately waving photos and snarky status reports in hopes to impress these people. And I just have no desire to do that anymore! If we did in real life what we did on facebook, we would all be desperate, miserable people.

So, I am going to say goodbye to the remaining 493 facebook friends. And I’m smiling. Do you know why?

The ones who are still related to me will still be related to me. They have no choice! muahaha….

The ones who are truly my friends won’t stop being my friends. They’ll just have to, along with me, choose to continue developing our mutual relationship in a different forum. Phone calls, cards, seeing each other. My guess is, a third or so of my facebook friends are these folks.

The ones who are my acquaintances won’t notice, probably won’t read this blog, and won’t have their life positively or negatively affected by this decision. And that’s ok 🙂 They aren’t bad people! We just aren’t in each other’s life right now, for good, bad, or ugly!

The ones who are strangers will still be strangers.

Will you miss my unbelievably witty statuses I post from time to time? Then we’ll have to speak!

Will you miss my photos? Then you’ll have to actually lay your eyes upon those things which have previously been in my photos!

Will you not miss anything at all? That’s ok too! We can only pour our lives into so many at a time, and I understand that.

I, for one, would rather spend more time developing less, but more important relationships, than to spend less time on each individual, and many non-signifcant relationships. And so, I’m “outta here” at the end of this month.

Friends will still be friends. I don’t see how facebook can separate a friendship anymore than it could build one in the first place.

So if we don’t keep up much, but you’d like to stay in touch, would you let me know?

And if there are any of you I have ever treated like an acquaintance and have thus offended, let me know that too! Relationships are some of the most important things we have in this world. I’ve been convicted that I should put more time and energy into living, breathing human beings that the Lord has put in my path.

(All of this isn’t even to begin to mention the privacy concerns, the public access of one’s information, or the lack of respect facebook has for the individual consumer.)

Here’s a neat video that’s sort of related to the topic. Make sure you watch this video! It is fantastic!

http://vimeo.com/70534716

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And I end with this appropriate picture from the movie “Sharknado.”

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12 thoughts on “Why I am deleting Facebook this month (and what it means for you!)

  1. This is a very good idea, a lot of “friends” on facebook, probably wouldn’t be people I’d interact with regularly in real life.

    This is also, some great advice. Something I probably should follow more consistently.

    Have a good week. 🙂

  2. And Sharknado is just a strange movie… lol

    btw, this is Keli, as I noticed I have an account that doesn’t reflect that, lol

  3. As another note, sometimes it’s best to simply keep up a small group of real friends, often, online and off, especially for introverts, it’s harder to keep up a friendship through something like a computer, mostly, those I try to keep up with, I at least have a phone call once a month.

    Some of them, I see once a week, some people I may see, but I may not call close friends. A few, I would call them that.

    Your post is a bit of an insight into how most people probably think about it.

    • Harvey Earls says:

      As a strong introvert who most people don’t know that about me, I strongly agree. I just can’t do the “600 acquaintances” thing anymore. The idea of an un-interested acquaintance is almost offensive at times. More friends, less casual observers! And eventually I will watch Sharknado. It’s a shark-filled tornado. What’s not to like?

  4. Gretchen Williams says:

    Harvey,Sarah, and family,
    We do care about each of you! We are so proud to watch Jesus grow and use you. I at this age feels there is so few real, true friend BUT I feel we are in the family of Christ! We will always care about each of you but we could wear you out by phone.. There are many different kinds of relationships and FB and computers have changed the world and relationships. To keep up with all our families who live through out the U.S. I can’t or not willing to forgo seeing and hearing from them. One time and it reaches all! I believe in you and your families ministry for Christ. You truly have the pastor’s heart. We will continue to love and pray for you all! Please keep us on your blog and sermons if possible and so led!
    IN HIS LOVE,
    Gretchen and Butch

    • Harvey Earls says:

      Actually Mrs. Gretchen you guys have blessed us since we’ve been in Alabama by keeping up with us, sending messages and encouragement, and still being a part of our lives. It means so much to me! I will always count you guys as wonderful friends who I am blessed to know and was blessed to serve with for our 3 years in Florida. We’ll see you soon hopefully! I hope all is going well in your life and the family as well. Anytime I can pray or listen, please let me know!

  5. bmlopez2013 says:

    Bless your heart, Bob got on Facebook to try and learn more about our 3 grandchildren living in the world and not saved, well the last one is Joshua but not living like it. Now everybody in the world things we are on Facebook, Bob checks occasionally when he gets a note that one of our “Kids” posted something. That’s the only time I look at it and have never written on it. The whole world just don’t need to know anything about me and especially strangers. People say you don’t do Facebook like they are in shock. I just say No, I don’t really have time to do that stuff. Soooooo My hat is off to you Congrats. Marlene

    • Harvey Earls says:

      Yeah, it’s going to be tough. But I used to catch myself looking at it, at all times of the day. I’m thinking that a simplification of life and a distance from technology will have very few drawbacks. I believe it will also strengthen the friendships in my life, not separate them. Hoping so! Love you all!

  6. Tim says:

    Hey Harvey

    I dont have a facebook but if I did I’d fiend request you and realize that you left…..lol

    Miss you guys.

    Tim Trollinger

    • Harvey Earls says:

      Haha – you technophobe, you! Hope all is well with you. Miss you and your wonderful spirit. Please move to Alabama. I don’t steal most folks, but I’d steal you and your wife. Don’t tell Pastor Byron 🙂

  7. GLENDA LANE SMITH says:

    Hello Harvey
    I don’t do blogs, but here I am. I also do not do 400+++ friends. I Keep it small and close. I hate how FB changes our security, but I try to be astute. I enjoy seeing my family and friends once a wk or so when I check FB. You are my family, just the same, I want you to know that I love and care about you.

    I’m so happy that Sarah will still be keeping in touch. I’ll see you all next week when I stop around. In the meantime, I believe I will shorten my short list of “friends”

    I understand your position. Good for you for un-friending those people you do not know. As a pastor, your position is a little different than most. God bless you, Harvey, each day. and your beautiful family. I love you all so very much. Life circumstances have kept our families apart. It was incredibly wonderful to be with you and Sarah in NY. What a beautiful picture of Christ you show to the world. My heart longs for times when our families can be together.

    Praying that the Lord will touch your ministry and your life with His Power and Loving Care.

    • Harvey Earls says:

      It was so wonderful to get to know yall more too! Looking forward to doing it again! I guess I could choose to maintain all of my friends, and tell myself, “they need me” and “they want to read my stuff.” But I have to examine the reason I do what I do. Never once have I ever felt like the Lord was calling me to a quick, large audience. It is why I didn’t want to go into performance. I’ve always felt called to minister to people like me – growing people, families, etc. And so, I guess for me to pastor wonderful people on Sunday and fool myself into thinking I can touch the lives of hundreds of strangers outside of that is just a little silly for me. Christ poured most of his time into just a few. I think that’d be a good model for all of us. We all have enough “fake” in all of our lives, don’t we? We need some “real.” We love you and hope your summer is concluding nicely!

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