This morning I did something I had been thinking about for quite a while. For many in our internet-connected culture it will seem a little counter-cultural and probably would leave some scratching their heads. I deactivated by Facebook account.
This was a decision brought on (in part) by recent events in the news involving a congressman's online extracurricular activities. But it was also something I had been thinking about because I was never really comfortable allowing others to connect to me.
Granted, while I was on Facebook I did connect to college friends as well as members of my extended family. I managed to reconnect with folks I hadn't spoken to in many years.
I rarely received an unwanted message and can count on one hand the number of times I received an invitation to be friends with someone I didn't know.
It was convenient to have the news feed from a lot of different blogs and websites I follow in one central place. But there are other applications that allow that function without connecting with strangers.
I only signed up in the beginning because my girls were curious about having their own account. I signed up because I wasn't familiar with it at the time and needed to see what it was all about before allowing my girls to get on it. Ultimately I decided they didn't need an account and they both agreed with my decision.
But I still couldn't help shake the nagging feeling that this was not a good thing to have. I've never been interested in having a Twitter account and don't bother following anyone. While I enjoyed being on Facebook, increasingly I didn't have time to keep up with it or find things to share.
My mind kept coming back to a book I read several years ago by Jerry Jenkins entitled Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It. It talks very frankly about sexual sin and how it can subtly enter into your marriage. In order to protect our marriages, we need to build "hedges" which are ground rules for interacting with the opposite sex that protect us from falling into the trap that sexual sin can put us in.
Increasingly what I realized was that with my Facebook account I was tearing a huge hole in the hedges that I had been placing around my marriage. Although I never had any issues while I was on Facebook I felt it was better to get out before a problem arose.
Social media can be a wonderful thing. But it also provides a wealth of danger. Recent news stories have shown that Facebook contributes to divorce. The bottom line is while it may seem innocent to reconnect with old friends it can present danger.
I know plenty of people that are on Facebook and have not run into any issues. I think whether to be involved in social media or not is a personal choice that each individual has to make. As I said before, I didn't have any problems with being on Facebook. But when I weigh everything together, it's better for me personally to not be out there allowing myself to be set up as a target for temptation. I don't want to do anything that puts my marriage and my family at risk. For me, the risks involved with being on Facebook outweigh the rewards.