I don’t even know where to begin with this post other than to say, there are some super great things about Facebook, and then some super not so good things about it. It’s really not Facebook itself that I am speaking of, though the opportunity the platform and technology creates is a significant part of the mix, but rather what people do with Facebook that’s at the heart of my observations.
What I love…
1) Facebook gives an opportunity to connect with people you might not otherwise be able to locate and connect with.
The way God can be honored by bringing relationships together is amazing. I have made contact with people that, apart from Facebook, would have been extremely difficult to do at best. What a powerful tool God can use to connect, reconnect, and build some great relationships. I believe God supports how Facebook can be a powerful tool for interacting and connecting with people.
2) Facebook can bring out the best in people and provide a powerful way to encourage and love.
I have witnessed many people use Facebook as a way to encourage and help people through the power of words and information. It even seems that Facebook allows the nicer side of people to come out more than they might be willing to show it in person. For those who are more introverted, Facebook provides a way for them to come out of their shell and communicate in ways and levels they may not otherwise. In a positive way, Facebook provides a kind of safety zone from which people can seem to feel more at ease with sharing themselves with people in a caring, expressive way. Furthermore, Facebook provides yet another powerful way to love, encourage, and care for a person anytime, anywhere.
3) Facebook provides an opportunity to put ones faith in Christ on display.
Many people are resistant and shy when it comes to sharing their faith. However, once again, Facebook provides a kind of context where people can do so in ways that are less intimidating and fearful. The positive, faith-filled person you aren’t as likely to be in direct contact with people is the kind of person you can feel better at displaying in a context like Facebook. Facebook is a great tool to share your faith and help others see how God is working in your life in an inspirational way. I am deeply thankful for the many opportunities I have had through Facebook to share and encourage others in discovering and having faith in Christ.
What I hate…
1) Facebook is a place you can easily fake it
Facebook provides an easy context to be someone you are not and to have relationships that really aren’t real. When you can custom edit and tailor every interaction, you can give the impression you are something that in truth, you really aren’t. Furthermore, relationships can be more crafted and contrived than real and personal. When your primary connection with that person is on facebook and thus there is a lot of real life interaction that is left to the imagination, you can make a person (and a relationship) to be something in your mind that they aren’t in real life. Facebook for some people can easily become Fakebook. They say, 60% of communication is nonverbal. I would guess that means there is a lot of communication that’s missing a lot of communication going on, on Facebook.
2) Facebook brings out the coward in people
Facebook provides a context where you can say just about anything and not be held accountable for your words. It truly can become a campground for cowards. Just by commenting on another person’s post, you can make insinuations, conjectures, and comments that may not even be seen by the person they are directed to, nor may that person ever be afforded the opportunity to respond. And even if they were, would it even be in their best interest to do so anyways? Furthermore, what is said doesn’t have to be true or based on anything credible.
People who are cowards and can’t say something to someone’s face often say it on Facebook. Yes, this kind of gossip, slanderous, and preschool way of relating happens in other realms of life, but Facebook has a way of pouring gasoline on it. Where positive things can go viral on Facebook, so can evil things. Satan loves this aspect of Facebook.
For this reason, Facebook is not a healthy place to air personal grievances towards people, promote your disgruntlement, publish your problems with a person, try to handle conflict, or make insinuations, conjectures, or assumptions about others. I can pretty much guarantee, very little if any relational problems were ever resolved through Facebook. In fact, they were likely made worse. Why? Because nothing face to face ever happens on facebook. Oh sweet irony.
Facebook unfortunately doesn’t often magnify the reality that we are great at relationships, it often magnifies the fact that we stink at them. It’s so easy to hide behind facebook and never truly show our true face. It’s easy to inject a toxic comment, feel the satisfaction of blowing our wad, and then let the status-update circus begin all while we close our laptop, pull the blinds, and open a bag of Cheese Puffs with our legs propped up on the couch.
3) Facebook attracts drama
People who love drama become addicted to Facebook. Facebook is to drama what Jerry Springer is to stupid people. It gives the perfect platform for them to be more stupid and more dramatic than they have ever been before while everybody gets to watch. For some people, they can’t use the toilet without it becoming their status update. Now there is an Instagram for ya! If they lack attention, they post a “feel-sorry-for-me-my-life-is-so-bad” kind of status. If they are bored, they find a way to stir up the pot. Every emotion, every attitude, every thought, every problem, every issue is put on public display.
What some people enjoy about Facebook is the fact that for them it’s become an interactive soap opera,where at the least, they can have a front stage seat, and if they want, they can be the daytime star. No, they would probably never admit it, but when you see someone who is emotionally glued to whatever is or isn’t happening on Facebook, you know there’s likely some serious drama lust going on.
On Facebook, you can live the dream… you can write, produce, direct, and star in your own interactive soap opera. And it’s all free!
O.k., now it’s time for me to end this and… get back on Facebook.