Monday, February 7, 2011

Facebook Responsibly.

There are some things in our lives that could be deemed as "necessary evils." These are not the evils that are, in fact, actually evil. The real kinds of evils in the world today are unnecessary and should be stopped (i.e. murders, adultery, etc. etc.). However, there are some things in this world that may just be bothersome or frustrating, but they are a necessary evil because, well, maybe we just need to put up with them. For example, to some people, Obama is a necessary evil (well, to others he's unnecessary, but I won't address that one. Can of worms...). For some, cell phones and texting are a necessary evil. They don't like texting, but it seems to be the form of communication that many people like to use, so they do it anyway (Or, they try to run away from it, only to find out that they're giving in later on).

Here's another thing that might just be one of those necessary evils: Facebook. Yes, I said it. We've all had our moments where we are so frustrated and angry with Facebook and things that have happened on it that have caused us to write statuses like, "Facebook is so stupid. I'm considering deleting mine," or "I want to have friends in real life, not on the internet." (PS - I'm including myself in this one.) However, as much as I would very often like to say that I'm deleting my Facebook and never looking back, I'm not exactly sure how possible that is anymore.

Props to Mark Zuckerburg on that one.
(whose movie, by the way, I've heard is actually pretty good).

I know that so many of us wish that we could delete our Facebooks and never have to deal with them again. It feels silly to be upset if someone didn't accept our friend request, didn't respond to our wall post or our message, or even, *gasp* deleted us! Trust me when I say that I have been upset about all of these things and more, which is why I feel okay saying it.

However... Our culture is going more and more in the direction of social networking, and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot we can do to change that. I know that I have temporarily deleted my account a few times because I'm so tired of dealing with Facebook, but I always end up going back to it. And the key word in the previous sentence is temporarily. We all know that we do it. We temporarily delete our accounts because we know that it would take way too much work to create our "unique" profile and build up our friends list all over again. In the back of our minds, we know that we're going to come back to Facebook - but in that moment, we're too stubborn to admit it.

What would happen if instead of fighting the phenomenon of Facebook and social media, we instead embraced it with discernment? What would that look like? Well, for starters, maybe we shouldn't add everyone that we've ever known in our entire lives to our friends list. Maybe we shouldn't add Joe, who's friends with our best friend's sister and met us at that party that one time.

Maybe we should learn to let go when friendships seem to die. I just recently had that happen, where I was holding on to a friendship that wasn't actually there. I talked with Eric about it because I was having a slight altercation with this person, and Eric asked me a simple question: "When was the last time you had a conversation with this person?" To be honest, it's been almost a year since I've talked with this person in real life. THAT, I would say, is the definition of a Facebook friend that might just need to be deleted. Not from any bad or angry feelings, but simply because there's not actually a friendship there anymore.

What if we used Facebook as an encouragement tool, rather than trying to see how many friends we can get, who we can spy on, or how many pictures we can be tagged in? What if Facebook became not about us, but instead about the other people in our lives?

---Let me make myself clear right now. I am not excluding myself from any of this. The only reason I feel as though I can say these things is because I have done each and every one of the things I've talked about here, and much more. This is not an easy blog for me to write, because I know that it would take a dramatic change on my part as well. ----

As Christians, we are called to be "in the world, but not of it." Could that mean that it's okay to use Facebook, but be different in how we use it? I know a girl where the majority of her purpose in using Facebook is just to encourage other people, and she does this in abundance. What if we did that? What would happen if we took the focus off of ourselves and used Facebook to help others? I think we would find that Facebook is then not only a necessary evil, but also a helpful tool in developing relationships and building one another up.

As many alcohol commercials use the phrase, "Drink Responsibly," I am going to take the same connotation from that and say:

Please, Facebook Responsibly.

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