Not many things in our culture can claim being the instrument of change like that of Social Networking particularly Facebook! Love it or hate it one cannot deny that Facebook has changed the way that we communicate in so many ways! I have noticed a trend lately of several of my friends announcing that they were logging off of Facebook, some for a limited time and some permanently. Some have claimed they were tired of drama, others have said that Facebook was a distraction taking them away from other things they should be doing, and others stated that Facebook brought out the worst in them and they would end up being involved in useless debates. Another friend of mine said recently that Facebook could be used as a tool but was ultimately just a waste of time. These are all valid points but should we just wash our hands of such a huge opportunity to communicate with people especially as Christians? On the other hand, should we reevaluate our priorities especially if something is taking us away from our primary responsibilities or causing us to stumble!
I am going to highlight five negatives as well as five positives of using Facebook! Let’s honestly ask ourselves as followers of Jesus how we should approach this as we seek to impact our culture? I am going to post the five negatives of Facebook this morning. The five positives will be posted later with a wrap up and conclusion to follow as well!
Five reasons why we should maybe avoid Facebook!
Let’s face it, time is precious and we don’t have a lot of it. I will be the first to admit that I can kill a lot of time on Facebook, and not even doing anything productive! Just going through the newsfeed alone can kill some time and especially if you get caught up in reading or responding to comments! Getting my smartphone a couple of years ago just made this worse and I often catch myself wasting time on Facebook when I could be spending time with my family or getting some work done.
2. Facebook often brings out the worst in us!
I have seen some vicious content displayed toward people on Facebook especially during this past political season! I have seen some discussions get pretty ugly whether it is about politics, sports, or one’s religious beliefs! Compassion, patience, kindness or fruits of the spirit in general seem to be lacking everywhere even among people claiming to be Christians. It becomes more about winning an argument to where discussions become emotional kneejerk responses where people say things that they would never say to a person’s face. The bad thing is that the words that are said still are piercing and have much more power than people realize! I have never seen a Facebook debate end with one of the debaters saying that the other person changed their mind. Of course I’m sure it has happened but definitely is rare. I am all for a good healthy debate but I think there needs to be an element of respect shown even in disagreement. I will admit that I have been sucked into this at times. This goes back into the time factor! I have spent hours a day arguing with someone that I don’t even know when I could be spending time with my wife, playing with my children, discipling someone one on one, reading, or anything that is actually productive.
3. Facebook can lead us to be envy of others!
Sure one can be envy or jealous without Facebook, but Facebook really does help fuel this inherent sin within us! I know this because I have struggled with it myself! Facebook ultimately presents a false view of reality. We only see the portion of a particular person’s life that they want us to see. We see the vacation, birthday, and Christmas pictures where everyone is smiling and happy. This can cause us to think that we are the only ones with issues and that everyone else in the world has the good life! This of course is not true but is what comes across when we only see the view of a person’s life through Facebook!
4. People are often misunderstood on Facebook!
A Facebook status like a text message can be easily misjudged or misunderstood! You can’t see the person’s facial expression or hear their tone of voice and so their motives are often completely taken the wrong way. Unfortunately too many people assume the worst of people instead of giving them the benefit of the doubt. My wife and I have both had this happen to us and have actually been defriended by people who made wrong assumptions! I am sure that I have been guilty of doing the same thing while reading another person’s status.
5. Facebook discourages engaging others personally!
God created us for intimate relationships! We are wired to interact with one another on a personal level. Facebook makes it too easy for me to contact someone without having to meet them in person or even talk to them on the phone. This is convenient for us but we miss out on so much when we do this. This actually exposes a deeper problem than Facebook and shows the residual effects of how modern technology has impacted relationships.
This of course is not a list of all the issues that Facebook presents but were just some that have come to my mind recently. So should be as Christians just abandon social media all together? Several friends of mine whom I respect greatly seem to think so, but I think we should take a more complete look at this. Later I will post a list of five reasons why as Christians we should not only tolerate Facebook, but possibly embrace it!