What did we give up before Facebook?
Facebook is a great thing to “give up” for Lent. It’s not the worst thing I can do with my time, but the line between “connecting with friends” and “spending an hour clicking aimlessly” is easily crossed.
Back when I was a big TV watcher, giving up TV for Lent always seemed like a good idea, but not a very practical one. Even if the time I spent with my family in front of the tube was not “quality time,” it was still a social activity and a shared experience.
Both TV watching and Facebook are strange in that from one angle they’re very solitary, and from another communal. At its worst, watching TV lets strangers program my brain as I sit staring; Facebook, at its worst, is an exercise in narcissism.
So since I always feel like “I should spend less time on Facebook,” and since I have no lack of other ways of catching up with folks, I’m giving up Facebook again this year, and replacing some of that newly-freed time with morning and evening prayer. I’ll be on the road a lot of Lent, so I’m putting off deciding what to give up on Fridays in lieu of meat—I’ll try various dietary experiments and see how they go.