Did You Give Up Social Media for Lent?

BlogHer Original Post

Ash Wednesday has come and gone, and if you're giving up something for Lent, chances are you're currently in the still-struggling phase of that sacrifice. (The first week is usually the hardest.) This year there seems to be a big trend toward giving up social media -- so much so that mainstream media is reporting on social media fasting as both popular and incredibly difficult to accomplish.

Ms Randi Zuckerberg of FacebookI admit it: I use both Facebook and Twitter. I work on the computer all day long. Twitter is my "background noise." And sure, I check Facebook several times a day, too. Social media is part of my job, part of my regular routine. Could I give it up? I think so, but it's so much a part of my work that it would present logistical difficulties wholly unrelated to my "spiritual discipline," so I'm not inclined to try it. Then again, I consider myself sort of a bare-minimum Twitter user, and I use Facebook mostly for work and don't play any games on it other than Scrabble -- I'm not tending a farm or doing any of those other games that give a billion status messages about some pretend universe -- so I guess I don't see it as something that needs giving up, either.

Frankly, as someone who isn't Catholic and who can rarely muster dietary discipline, I prefer the boring route of giving up chocolate or wine or other culinary indulgence for Lent.

But it's true that droves of social media denizens are going cold turkey for 40 days, whether out of spiritual need or just a desire to prove they can do it.

revelife shares about giving up Facebook:

Usually, I'm the one who never gives up anything for Lent, but this year I am going to give up something.

Facebook has become an everyday thing, and has taken over everything. During Lent, everyone has to contact me by e-mail, no exceptions.

Many of the commenters said they were doing the same.

Lucy of To Live Quietly muses on changing her behavior mindfully, without a complete fast:

I don't feel burdened to completely give up Facebook, Twitter and blogging, but they can be breeding grounds for discontent when I'm constantly comparing my life to a steady stream of status updates. I am not sure what it will look like to manage my online time during this season, but I am excited for what the next 40ish days hold.

Carpesensum has not lost her sense of humor while giving up both Facebook and Twitter for Lent -- she writes:

So yesterday was my first day without Facebook and Twitter, without social networking. I prepared for it- I took the Facebook and Twitter app off of my phone and un-bookmarked it on my browser. But within a few minutes I started to twitch. I'd think of a funny comment ("Fat Tuesday and Women's Day are on the same day? Who's brilliant idea was THAT?") and want to post it. Or I'd be reading a really good news article (like anything by Joan Walsh) and by GOD, who was I supposed to share it with? It's not enough that I spend my days aimlessly clicking through profiles of people I never speak to anymore, judging them on their baby daddys, but what about when I have something to say? Now that I'm not forced to limit my wit to 140-characters, how will I express anything at all? (She says, typing away at 96-words a minute on Blogger.)

Finally, Ming at Don't Dream It's Over has a great piece up with ten tips to help you successfully give up Facebook for Lent. She given it up twice before, but notes:

For Lent 2011, I’ve discovered that several of my friends are determining to fast from Facebook. Past experience tells me that this is not going to be easy from the get-go, even for the most disciplined among us.

Why? Facebook has become our main virtual identity, and we derive so much of our news, information, trivia and entertainment off it. Add personal validation to the mix and you’ve got something potent and potentially addictive.

Interesting observation. My favorite part is that her number 2 tip is to "Make the effort to connect with people the pre-Facebook way." I really like the notion of using this time to make deeper connections rather than to just swear off connections, you know? And that's where I think the social media fasting becomes difficult for folks, particularly the generation of young adults who've always known interacting this way.

Did you give up any social media for Lent? Have you ever, before?

BlogHer Contributing Editor Mir Kamin is a social media fool. She blogs near-daily about issues parental and otherwise at Woulda Coulda Shoulda, and all day long about the joys of mindful retail therapy at Want Not.

Photo Credit: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

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