My Bookmarks – Part 5

It has been a little while however I still have plenty of bookmarks on my toolbar to discuss. I have decided, upon looking at them, to skip a couple which I do not find really reflect a bulk of my web consumption. So up for discussion today:

5. Facebook: When I wrote this post, I was actually off Facebook which gave me an interesting perspective from which to write. Prior to getting into the meat of my thoughts I want to point out the fact that I have decided to separate Facebook from Twitter (the next bookmark). I do not believe that all social networking is the same and therefore it did not seem fitting to group the two together. Some days I’m not even convinced that Twitter is social networking at all. But that will come in its own time.

So why Facebook? For the most part, I did/do it because, well, everyone has a Facebook (which, of course, is not true). I’ve told myself and others that I want to keep in touch with people who live far away, but how often has that actually been the way I’ve used Facebook? Once or twice? Ultimately, a simple email is infinitely more meaningful and significant than a Facebook wall post.

So then, why Facebook? Facebook can certainly be a good thing, a great way to plan events, etc. However there is a dark side to Facebook stemming from our desperate need for recognition – Facebook gives us an opportunity to have face (or profile) time anytime with any friend. And so we are “friends” with people that we do not even know because it means one more listener, one more viewer, one more appreciator. And on some level, that’s okay. God created man to be relational and so we naturally desire recognition in the midst of relationships. We should be scared, however, when that recognition comes at the cost of meaningful relationships. If Facebook becomes merely a means to gain recognition and to have my voice heard, it has become an unhealthy tool. If however, we can find a way to center our desire for recognition only as a corrolary of a desire for relationships, then I think we’re onto something. That’s when Facebook can become helpful. The ironic thing is that I think we hardly ever do that.

So quit Facebook? Not necessarily. But certainly pursue and consider relationships (that you really probably don’t have with your 7883 “friends”) in order to make Facebook what it really should be – a tool to further, maintain relationships that, if possible, should be incarnational.

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