That was my ode to John Piper’s famous tweet: “Farewell Rob Bell.” But, I digress. This is actually an ode to Twitter which sounds nicer than saying it’s a dirge for Facebook.
I really dislike Facebook, but it tends to have this power over me to keep checking my news feed. Twitter has the same power over me, but it’s different, and I’ll tell you why. Very rarely do I find facebook to be edifying. That’s not a slight against my “friends,” but just the reality of what is on there. It’s invitations to events and causes I’m not going to attend, games I’m not going to play, and the false notion of friendship. It’s not a total waste as it has allowed me to reconnect with people from years ago as well as see photos of friends and their kids. However, generally speaking I find it to be a mind numbing waste of time in my day. That doesn’t mean it’s the same for you. I speak for only myself and the way I have used facebook.
Twitter, on the other hand, is valuable to me. If Facebook is generally a mind numbing waste of time in my day with a few glimmering spots of value, Twitter is the exact opposite. Sure, there are tweets that are dumb and hold no value (probably mine), but, on the whole, I find it to be edifiying, informative, or humorous. They’re both social networking sites so why the difference? I propose 3 reasons:
1) Unilateral Relationships – I use Twitter for a lot of utilitarian reasons. It’s a news feed and blogroll for me. I follow John Piper, for example, not because I want to be his friend, but because I find spiritual value in a lot of his resources. I can follow him without him following me, unlike Facebook’s “friend request” protocol.
2) Selectivity – It’s virtually impossible to deny someone’s friend request on Facebook if you’ve actually met them face to face. So, most people end up with a long list of “friends” who are more than likely acquaintances at best. I limit the people I follow on Twitter to people I know relatively well or to people/sites which edify, inform, or humor me. If I find a person/site I follow is not meeting these criteria I unfollow them so that I don’t clog up my timeline with wasteful things.
3) Conciseness – Someone on Facebook can post 200 photos of their dog’s birthday which I will click through for some unknown reason. I suppose because they are there. Twitter allows me to look at no more than 140 characters and be done. People have to get their point/idea across concisely which I love.
All that said, I’m going to delete my facebook account. It’ll take some time to break the habit of trying to log on to that site, but I doubt I’ll miss the content. Perhaps it will motivate me to pick up the phone more and ask about friends’ lives. Perhaps I’ll shoot a personal email on birthdays. The possibilities are endless.
So, facebook we need to talk. it’s not you, it’s me. Actually it is you. Not only are we breaking up, but it’ll be easier if we’re not friends anymore.