I grew up in the 80’s and one of the popular songs then was by Robert Palmer, called Addicted to Love. Guys loved it, because the video features beautiful women with thick red lipstick, dressed in short black dresses, black stockings, and heels – with them dancing and playing a bass guitar and other instruments in the background as Robert sang, “Another kiss, and you’ll be mine.”
When I was thinking yesterday about people’s addiction to Facebook, that song and the title of this blog post came to mind. Today when I went on YouTube to find the video, I laughed when I watched it – so 80’s. Just replace the word “Love” in the song with “Facebook.”
“Might as well face it…you’re addicted to Facebook.”
But addiction to Facebook can be serious. It can be like a black hole that sucks you into it for hours, stealing your time and consuming your life. It can get out of control and keep you from fulfilling your purpose. One writer friend of mine is having trouble finishing her new book because she says she is spending too much time on Facebook and is becoming distracted with other things.
Another precious friend Susan Evans wrote a blog post about her addiction to Facebook that you may enjoy called Scared of Facebook.
Of course, Susan was using it to minister to other women. But at night when her husband wanted her to watch t.v. with him at night, she was on Facebook, counseling women. She said she was prioritizing helping women over spending time with her husband. Susan said God unplugged her for the summer and she had Facebook addiction withdrawals. She didn’t know what to do with all that time she’d been spending on Facebook. She missed checking on her friends and helping women.
Susan started a fresh account after a year with a promise to her husband that it wouldn’t get out of hand again. But Susan says she is scared she can’t keep that promise. She told herself when she got up in the morning and had her coffee, praying, that she would not get on Facebook before she was done praying. But she felt an irresistible urge to get on Facebook and she started praying faster so she could get on it.
Susan is so funny to me (she’s so real!), but I realize it can be a serious problem, an idol. She prayed to God to help her with this problem, and He’s helping her to maintain a balance with it. She has more energy, is more efficient in homeschooling and with her business, and gets more done now by staying off the computer.
What about you? Can you live without Facebook?
My speaker/writer/coach friend Rochelle Valasek has a laptop that crashed and no longer works. She’s shopping for a new one now. I called her yesterday to say hi and just to check on her. I told Shelley that I thought I would cry if mine tore up. I asked her how she’s running her business without being online. She admitted it isn’t easy and she has cried some, but has found that she can survive – and even keep her sanity – without daily doses of Facebook. She does pop in once awhile on her husband’s computer to just check in with friends. But she can live without it.
Some people choose to have a Facebook or social media fast. They deliberately unplug for a day, a few days, a week – or like Susan, a year, to get their priorities straight. They learn that, if necessary, they can live without it…at least for awhile.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg says over 250 million people worldwide use Facebook. It’s not going away. But we can learn to set limits with it and not let it become an addiction and/or idol in our lives, replacing God.
Here’s 5 clues to tell if you have a Facebook addiction:
- You lose sleep over Facebook, staying up until 3 a.m. on it and then are too tired the next morning to be useful to anyone.
- You spend more than an hour a day on it. Here’s the thing. Social networking isn’t more fulfilling than real life. If it is, it’s time to reevaluate your life.
- You become obsessed with old loves, “just friending” an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend….and soon are meeting him or her for a lunch date. Trouble!
- You ignore work in favor of Facebook. You sneak onto Facebook when your boss or co-workers aren’t looking. It’s so much more interesting than work!
- The thought of leaving Facebook leaves you in a cold sweat. Virtual reality is your reality. Sad.
“Our Facebook, who art in heaven…”
I would add one more. Do you check Facebook before praying to God in the morning?
Facebook Don’t’s – Please!
Some people use Facebook like a to-do list checklist: “Fixed blueberry pancakes for my luv this a.m. Organized my drawers. Need to stop by drycleaners, then buy groceries. Going to party 2nite, woot!”
Others use it as a public platform for airing family or relationship problems to create drama: “My husband is SUCH a jerk sometimes!”, “Anyone want my wife for sale?”, “Some people are SOOO selfish and immature! I’m through with Bryan, 4 good!” or “It must be nice to have parents and siblings that really care about you. I’m so jealous.”
Worse are couples on Facebook who show PDA pictures or update their statuses or comment to each other as if they are alone and not on a public forum. “Baby, you are so hot!” or “My wife makes me feel like a real man! I love when she kisses my ear!” provoke a reaction from family and friends like, “Get a room!” or “Ugh! Please, TMI!” Yet how many people are going to their Facebook walls just to see what they’re saying to each other today?
There’s also the people who seem to have disappeared from their Facebook for months or even a year, then suddenly one day they are creepily commenting on your wall, “LOL!” or “Yeah, I was comparing the Evo and the Iphone, too!” Are they just stalking you and everyone? It’s unnerving.
Others with little wisdom take pics of themselves and friends drunk or high, or text drunken or stoned messages to post as their status updates – which their employers or potential employers can see – and use against them. (Yes, I’m talking about some Christians!) And some people can’t get enough of this type of activity…Facebook is popular because it leverages people’s nosiness. How else would you find out what your family members or friends are doing every day?
Other people use Facebook to stalk business competitors, to see what they’re up to this week and then copy whatever they’re doing, claiming it as their own, or improving upon it. Last week on a marketing call I attended, a woman was concerned that her products or services would be “copied” by others, and I assured her that it probably will be – and to remember that imitation is the highest form of flattery.
The other extreme is saying Facebook is the anti-christ and that you’re not using it at all because it is plain evil.
Moderation and balance are the key.
Don’t let Facebook consume your life; really live in your real world!
We use Facebook for a variety of reasons. It is a wonderful invention, but it can’t consume our lives. We need to live in our own real world, loving the people in our lives and really living.
Social media was created to enhance life, not replace it. Evaluate how much time you are spending on Facebook (or Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social media sites), as well as your purpose for using it.
Use good Facebook etiquette. Practice wisdom. Be kind. If you’re wondering if you should post something, don’t. You don’t want that one comment you made when you were angry going viral. Why do people feel compelled to say rude things on Facebook when they wouldn’t do this face to face with someone?
Create firm boundaries with your time on it; if necessary, use a kitchen timer to set limits for yourself so that you’re not neglecting yourself, your family, and your daily tasks/work. If you find you can’t control it, get counseling help with accountability. Like any other addiction, there is no shame in admitting it’s become bigger than you and you need others’ intervention. We know Facebook CEO Mark wants us addicted to it…he’s getting richer from the more it grows. But what is richer in life than real-life, flesh-and-blood family and friends?
Facebook can be your global platform
Facebook is an incredible tool which we can use today to keep in contact with family and friends, especially in other states or even across the world. It enlarges your territory to give you a greater sphere of influence for God. It is phenomenal for growing your business. My friend and coach Diane says that 90% to 95% of her business comes from Facebook.
Facebook can be a blessing in your life. I have met amazing women of God through Facebook and Twitter, and am so thankful to God for it. It can also be used as a great evangelism tool. You can now have a global platform to share God’s good news with others in the U.S. and countries across the world.
But let your magificent obsession be God, not Facebook. Be addicted to Him, who is TRUE love.
>***Want to find out more about spending time with God? Check out my 7-audio, quiet time devotional series. Just click here.
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