Ok, I know. It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. I really should do this more frequently, but I’m not going to promise anything. Every time that I think that I’m going to do better, I do worse!
Anyway, I just got back from vacation — an almost Facebook free vacation. There was only one place where we were staying that we even had internet access, so our email, twitter, and facebook time was severely limited. And you know what? It was okay!
While we were away, someone wondered on Facebook why people would just delete their accounts and not tell anybody. I think that I may actually have insight into that…
Facebook isn’t really a place for intimate friendships. It mimics intimacy while actually breeding superficiality. You touch base in a few sentences, and people may get the gist of what’s going on in your life, but you can never get very deep. Intimacy requires time and conversation. Facebook doesn’t really offer either. I made the mistake of offering a full dossier of my life to some old college and high school friends who got back in touch with me on facebook, only to find out that they really weren’t that interested! Most people would rather just have you as a “friend” and get an occasional update. The problem is as you collect friends, even this superficiality can be overwhelming, and it becomes tempting to just turn it off so that you can work on real relationships.
As an aside, I also spent some time trying to talk to three people sitting on my couch, and all three of them were on their smart phones sending text messages and checking Facebook. How’s that for Facebook affecting intimacy!?!?!?
Facebook can also be a painful experience. It can be difficult getting some updates. Sometimes it’s like watching a train wreck coming in slow motion, and you can’t really do anything about it. The temptation then is to just stop tuning in.
Some people also post a lot. Some people are preachy. Some people put political opinions up constantly (something I’m tempted to do, but don’t — if you only knew all the things I wanted to say but didn’t)! Some people share inside jokes with their friends, leaving everyone else to feel left out. All of this can make you feel that Facebook is just too much to deal with.
Facebook, just like the internet at large, can also suck you in. It can become a huge time waster. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much time you’re spending, and, when you finally do, you are tempted to just stop doing it!
So, with all the negatives, what could possibly be good about Facebook?
Well, for close friends and family, it can be a way of keeping up on the day to day, especially because you can share photos with others. Ironically, this is the opposite of the superficiality that I spoke of earlier. But in the context of an ongoing relationship, Facebook can actually foster growth and intimacy, especially for family that is far away.
Facebook is also something neat to be a part of as a Christian. We can know what is going on with people, and we can pray for difficulties they are experiencing and praise God for the good things that He’s doing in their lives. It’s especially nice because I’m a pastor. People can know a little bit more about me, and I can know some of the difficulties they are experiencing and be available for them.
So, there you go. The good and bad of technology in the 21st century. We work with what we’ve got, and use it for the glory of God. And, if some people become more than we can handle, we can always just “hide” them rather than deleting them from our friends list or deleting our accounts!