The amount of time we spend "connected" creeps up on us, doesn't it? I think it was back late in 2008 that I joined Facebook. If I remember it accurately, I think my sister joined first and then she told me that I should too, because tons of people we knew were on there. I checked it out and she was right- it was a great place to be connected. I signed up and logged on maybe every few days, just to see what people were up to. And then the whole Facebook game fad started. For awhile, a group of us (mostly cousins), played Risk online. I logged on every day or so to take my "turn" and that was about it.
Then there was Farmville. Oh, Farmville! My farm rocked. My flowers were in such pretty, colorful and straight rows. I harvested my crops and planted new ones. Literally, I'm laughing and shaking my head as I think about it because it was fun and don't YOU pretend to not know what I'm talking about. Lots of other grown ups were planting and harvesting, lining up trees and buying tractors. Oh buddy, my farm had neighbors.
I'm not sure when I stopped "farming" or whatever, but I did. My farm is out there in Facebook land somewhere, probably with starving cows and wilted corn. All jokes aside though..... over the last few years Facebook has morphed into this GIGANTIC way to stay connected. For various reasons, I've spent a lot less time online lately and this afternoon, I almost decided to completely take a break from it all together.
Many people would say that they aren't a phone person and that they'd rather message or email. I get it. Picking up the phone is hard, it's vulnerable. Sometimes my heart pounds a little "What if my kids fuss or what if I catch her at a bad time?" If you're a Mom, you know how it goes. Everything can be going smoothly but, the second you get on the phone, disaster strikes. On the flip side, when you talk to someone (on the phone or in person), you get a glimpse of their reality and conversations that happen with real words and real voices, have a way of portraying what's really going on in a person's life. Personally, I so miss the days of my phone ringing a greater number of times, than the amount of Facebook messages that I receive.
I think back to a time where a friend of mine, that I've always communicated with online or in person, actually called me for something. She used the phone because her message was urgent and she wasn't sure if I'd receive it online quick enough. When the phone rang and it was her, I was amazed. She never used the phone, but this time she did and it was refreshing.
Even the thought of stepping away from Facebook altogether felt a tad bit exciting. I want to be present for my family and present isn't half listening with my iPhone in my hand. And how much time do we spend being "connected" when we could be doing other things? There are so many books that I'd love to read....I'm so behind on updating my kids baby books....I'd love to send more hand written notes....My list could go on and on. Can you relate?
The reality is that Facebook is BIG and if I quit it all together, I might as well go crawl under a gigantic rock. I'd be so out of the loop. Heck, I'd be missing out on event invitations, baby announcements and groups that are a blessing to be part of.
As I've thought about this, I've decided that it all comes down to having balance. If I log onto Facebook one or two times a day, that should be enough. I don't want to be the Mom that's constantly connected and I don't want my friends to think that they can get a hold of me on there, all throughout the day.
There are so many forms of social media that are SO fun and with balance, they can be GOOD. I love Instagram and I think it's great, if it's not sucking away too much of my time. Same goes for Pinterest....I've heard a few women say that Pinterest makes them feel inferior, like they aren't "enough" but personally, I disagree with that. I think it's a great place to gather and organize ideas. I've pinned 1000+ projects, recipes and style ideas....of course I haven't done them all or and it's highly doubtful that I ever will, but honestly, I don't feel bad about that. And lastly, there's Twitter. It's weird and it's fun and again....with balance, it's a great way to be connected.
I know this post has been long and that I've been rambling on a bit, but I feel like this topic is super important, especially to the Mom with little ones at home. The time we spend staying "connected" can so easily consume us, without us even realizing it. It all starts with good intentions, but then it becomes too much and we get used to the feeling of not being fully present. We become really good at talking with our kids, checking the computer and cooking dinner all at the same time.
What about you, can you relate? How do you balance your online time?
Thank you for hearing me out. I hope your Tuesday has been extra sweet.