I’ve hesitated to write on this subject for over 3 years now. It is a sensitive issue – but as I always want to be an encourager and my purpose is to build up – here goes.
Is Facebook bad? Can Facebook be evil? I hear almost everyday – someone, somewhere telling me that they will never join Facebook because of what they’ve heard. Or another person will write on a status update that they need to “fast” Facebook because they feel convicted as it can be time-consuming and maybe even tempt them in unhealthy ways and relationships. Some pastors even believe that they should get their church members off Facebook. That feels very discouraging to me. Especially when I read about it in a person’s status update. It is better to be encouraging and positive. I love to read what other pastors and leaders say on the subject. Those that use it for good. They say that Facebook is not evil - people have sometimes misused it and made it that way. But it is also a great tool for connecting with people. This is so true.
I have been saddened by some status updates. Status updates that say someone is taking a fast or going away altogether – leaving the impression by those of us still using social networking – that we have missed the boat – are wasting time or something worse. It is these same people who feel convicted and then try to “convict” everyone else on connecting with people. And while sometimes past connections can be unhealthy – or at least not the best, Facebook should not be blamed.
As long as we have had people – there has always been a tendency to wander and step outside the boundaries. Affairs with people from the past happened as far back as the Bible days and before. If you have the desire to go outside your marriage – you don’t need Facebook to do that.
I love Facebook. It has allowed me to connect with people from our past ministry life and those I thought we would never see again – and be a very real part of their lives again. It’s a miracle. I also love seeing pictures and updates on students of mine past and present – and our wonderful family and close friends.
The problem comes when we listen to negative propaganda that claims that Facebook is the number one reason that marriages fail. It is not because of Facebook, people. It’s because people are flawed human beings. If you are looking for that sort of thing – you can find it and not just on social networking. Facebook is simply a tool. It’s neutral. Neither positive or negative. If you want to message someone and have private conversations you can do this on Facebook – just like you can also do that on email or by regular mail, texting and cell phone calls. Like any other resource and tool – it needs to be used wisely – not blamed when you or others mess up.
I believe Facebook can and should be used for good. You can be an encourager. You can be that positive role model – spreading around joy and hope for others. You can use humor as a great way of relieving stress in everyday life. And you can share pictures and updates in a way that build up – not tear down. But most of all – you can stay connected to those that are a real part of your life.
Now I know what some of you are going to say. “There’s so much drama and negative stuff on Facebook now – and what about those political opinions from those VERY VOCAL and opinionated!” And ALL THOSE GAME REQUESTS!!!! Here is what I do. I don’t get involved in politics on Facebook. You can’t win. If I feel that someone is being too vocal on certain subjects and I’m uncomfortable – I just go to the home page and click the “x” on the right side of the comment. This gives me the option of seeing any more comments from them. It has cleaned up many things on my home page – so I simply don’t see the negative, inappropriate and the unnecessary. I block any game request I don’t want or remove the app altogether. I also clean up my friend list once in a while too – I simply don’t connect with everyone on my list and so I remove them. When that is not an option – the “hiding” of their comments is better for me.
Here’s another thing I’ve done lately. I’ve put the ones I talk to and connect with most often in a “list” called “close friends”. I have another one for “Current students” “Church friends” “Family” etc. Instead of having my regular “News Feed” on my home page – I just pull up the list that I want and write a status update so that those people on my list are the only ones who see what I write. This works great for me getting messages to my students without having to write a private message. I also only “friend” people that I know. This is a HUGE bonus. If someone requests me that I don’t – I will not friend them unless it is a friend of a student or a friend of a friend. If people from my past make me uncomfortable and try to friend me – I just don’t accept. There’s no fear here – I am in control of who I talk to and let into my world.
Another blessing has been the ability to promote my music studio by having a “fan page” just for that purpose. I show photos and videos of past recitals and the students who are involved with taking music lessons. It is a great link to my actual website – since so many people are now on Facebook.
If you’re reading this and have done some of the status updates that I’ve mentioned above – those that would try to “convict” and “moralize” something that you feel strongly about – here’s what you could do next time. Simply disconnect with others that are making you feel this way, unfriend those that need to be unfriended and if you are really having trouble with being disciplined with your time you spend – instead of making a statement about that – just walk away for a while. You don’t need to tell anyone – or find excuses for why you’re leaving – because you are going to find that most people on Facebook really love what they’re doing – and the people who they’re connected with. And making people feel bad should never be a conscious decision. Being positive and allowing others to be who they are – is always a better choice.
I’m hoping you will join me in using something so wonderful – a vehicle for staying connected with others – for good.
- Focus on Facebook: How to Market Your Business Through Social Networking | eLocal (elocalroofers.com)
- Does Your Reason for Friending or Unfriending Change Over Time? (blogher.com)
- How to Use Facebook’s Privacy Settings Effectively (techattitude.com)
- GM Unfriends Facebook, Ford Changes Status to Engaged (keystoneautoloans.com)
- New Feature On Facebook Groups Shows Who Has Seen The Latest Post [Updates] (makeuseof.com)
- How To Hide or Block Facebook Posts Without Unfriending [Video] (thekencook.com)
- People You Need To Unfriend On Facebook Immediately (buzzfeed.com)
- Why Do People Unfriend Others On Facebook? (allfacebook.com)
- Quick Tips for Awesome Facebook Pages (vendio.com)