Julie Moore: Giving up Facebook for Lent

04/29/2014 2:33 PM

04/29/2014 2:34 PM

If you happen to see me out, I'll probably be looking down at my phone. And I'm not playing a game, taking a call, or checking email… I'm updating my status on Facebook. You know, "Julie Moore is at Mellow Mushroom with Tom Moore." Then I'll post a photo of my beer… because… well… I'm a Facebook addict.

That's why I gave it up for Lent this year. I don’t really understand why we give things up for Lent, no matter how many times I read the explanation for it. I do know that you give up something you'll miss. And did I ever.

Facebook has always helped this extrovert bear the hours working alone at home. The camaraderie of the workplace is the thing I miss most about having a “real job,” so I use Facebook as my “water cooler.” Sure, it's not the same as face-to-face interaction with human beings – and physical comedy is pretty much out of the question – but Facebook is the next best thing. And through Facebook, I have made new friends around the world and caught up with people from my past. From old teachers to friends from kindergarten, I love knowing what these people are about these days.

I also tend to lean on Facebook to connect me to people, businesses and events here in the community. I have pretty much all the “information” I need in one place. And I use the term loosely here – hence the quotation marks. I get updates from local news sources and businesses, along with weather updates from Greg Fishel AND eyewitnesses from here and yon. I learn what people are saying about government and politics, see what the specials are at my favorite restaurants, peruse the photos a friend took at a show at the Haw River Ballroom, get anecdotes about everyone's children, guffaw at a hilarious meme from George Takei, and take a quiz to determine which “Game of Thrones” character I am.

And dang if I didn’t miss all of that during Lent – even the dumb stuff. I couldn't tell my friend Nina that the Fleshtones were playing at Local 506. I never got to see the gorgeous black and white, hand-developed photography that Holden posts from his morning walks. Holden's also good for puns and weather forecasts from Hillsborough. And not being able to read Todd's fascinating B-movie reviews left a gaping hole. And when I needed a break from work, I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself. I read every silly thing on Buzzfeed, and getting sucked into the Daily Mail and its fascination with celebrity cellulite is not good for anybody.

Another thing I missed: putting my own useless and pointless knowledge out there! It seemed weird to go to a show and not post a blurry, unrecognizable photo of the band. (True story: once I posted a photo of the stage at a show and one minute later a guy three people away in the crowd “Liked” it! Why I was looking at my phone instead of the world around me is another issue!) I also longed to tell people the hilarious thing my kid did, and to moan about how he had to build a school project with all-natural materials - ie. NO GLUE. I couldn’t post the shower song of the day, the daily a lo divino song or a pic of a handsome guy. Consequently, I found that I missed the constant affirmation. It seems I've grown addicted to having people “Like” the things I post. For the former not-so-popular girl at school, this is lifeblood. During my “fast” I had to go through the whole day without a thumbs up! It was disconcerting!

The worst part was the loneliness – I had to be my own water cooler! That said, I also gained through this experience – I learned to live without constant affirmation, without constantly knowing what just happened and who is “in a relationship.” I never had to worry about offending someone and being unfriended. I was more focused … less distracted. More aware of myself and (sometimes) of God. When I took a break from work sometimes I just sat there! It was strangely awesome.

I know you’re not supposed to call attention to the sacrifices you make – Jesus said you are supposed to go in your room and shut the door … I just thought I’d share it as a commentary on the weird wired-ness of our time.

Some critics say that people use social media as a substitute for human interaction, but I have found the opposite – I’m connected to people and the world in new and exciting ways. During Lent, I was forced to reconnect with myself, but … I’m glad to get back to my Facebook friends now.

Julie Moore is a graphic designer living in Chapel Hill. She can be reached at sweetwilliamdesign@me.com 

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service