Facebook is all about social connections. Yet, it is also a source of great loneliness for many. Nathan Hunt, co-host of the Discipleship & Ethics website, shares his experience of taking a Facebook fast. When he unplugged, Hunt says, he found himself able to move away from loneliness and toward more authentic interactions and relationships.
Three things happened for me almost right away.
- I discovered that a large part of my self-representation was functioning through this digitized, one-dimensional version of myself projected through my “profile.” I realized that even though I wasn’t a heavy user relative to many, I still stressed about how I was viewed, the kind of “witness” I was having, how frequently I stuck up for justice, mentioned Jesus, proved that I was still outdoorsy, etc, etc. Leaving Facebook, I was freed to simply be Nathan through my body — through my words and actions in physical presence with others.
- I was released from believing that Facebook politicizing and opinion-sharing is authentic (or essential) engagement with the struggles of human beings and this world. I focused instead on showing up physically at political demonstrations, in relationship with the marginalized, or a hurting friend’s side. I gravitated toward deeper research than trending articles and embraced real conversation.
- I found myself engaging more directly with friends and family (though I still have a lot of work to do on this one!). I sent more personal emails, made more phone calls, chatted on Skype, tried to initiate more coffees.
Perhaps it is time that we all take a fast from Facebook and instead seek out more authentic human interactions.