Reading is something I love to do. I know I say that often.  From the newspaper to magazines to books, I am always reading.  And, of course, in addition to the newspapers, magazines, and books, I am often reading on the Internet. On the Internet I am reading news websites, emails and, oh yeah, social media outlets such as Facebook. I am also on LinkedIn and Twitter occasionally. My wife is very much into Pinterest but I haven’t gotten interested in that one.  Not yet.  No plans to even try it out! But Facebook? It kills a lot of time!

A nephew of mine, who lives in New York City, signed off on social media a couple of months ago.  At the time he went off of Facebook, Twitter and whatever other social media he was participating in, he wrote an entry on his blog as to why he was choosing to take a break from social media for a while. He put a link to that blog entry in his “sign-off” posting on his Facebook wall. I read it and found myself agreeing with much of what he wrote. In a nutshell he was saying that he has so many interests that are important to him and he felt that the time he was spending on social media was basically keeping him from doing a lot of other things that he wants to do.

His blog really did hit home with me and I have thought about what he wrote and I have thought about how social media affects me too. Reading books is a wonderful diversion for me. I am addicted to books in a sense but I am not reading nearly as much as I wish I were.  TV fits in there too. While I don’t have any ongoing series that I watch on TV I do watch a lot of sports and news programs.  I don’t think TV really keeps me from reading as much as I want to.  But social media?  It has become a distraction.

Facebook has become such a common means of communication for people of all ages. I am not one who posts that many entries on Facebook but I am continually signing on to see what is going on. Sometimes I learn something interesting when I am on Facebook but for the most part most of my friends and family don’t share that much of value either.  Once in a while I do find out about something on Facebook before I hear it in person and I guess I do occasionally find out some things that I might not ever know if I didn’t log on.  I am wondering though if it is really going to affect my daily life if I don’t know where my friends are eating, or how good their child’s report card was, or that their flight has been delayed. It’s not that I don’t care, but…

Facebook can be interesting, fun, and even informative but for the most part I waste too much time scrolling through the posts.  I guess I am scared I might miss something!  I am not ready to sign off yet but it does cross my mind.  I think about all those books that I want to read that I am not getting to.  A few less minutes a day on social media could translate in more minutes enjoying a great novel, being challenged spiritually by someone’s perspective on faith and daily living, or growing as a person through a good motivational book.  Of course there are also other things I might do better at accomplishing if I stayed off social media but my reading time is what is on my mind right now.

My NY nephew made a good point.  To my knowledge he is still not back on social media.  Hopefully he is finding more time to develop those ever valuable face to face friendships, being involved with his church, enjoying the city life, and, I hope, finding lots of time to read.  I am a little jealous if he is getting to do that! Maybe I need to work on my priorities…. less social media time, more reading time, and maybe more time for lots of other stuff, too.

Here’s to good old fashioned books and more.  Here’s to a real life!  Right after I quickly check Facebook!

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