It’s a good question. Why am I am facebook? My husband despises FB… even that is an understatement. However it is important to not get caught up in social trends rather to know WHY I do the things I do. It’s important that I be deliberate and intentional in the online world.
I first joined many years ago… couldn’t figure it out so left it. Then I went back to give it another go. Being that little more familiar with it the second time around allowed me to understand how it works and see its potential. But that doesn’t tell you WHY I joined. I could see it was going to be all the rage. If it’s going to be the ‘in thing’ then chances are that one of my children will want to use it… therefore I wanted to know what it is all about- just like I know a little about tumblr, formspring, myspace, linkedin, bebo and all those other social networking sites. As a parent who allows their children onto the WWW, it is my duty to know where they hang out. I want to be realistic. The Internet is not going away, it’s here to stay. Like it or not. Same with facebook. If it’s not FB it will be some other site.
Yes, I spy on my children. I stalk them. And the point is…? Why wouldn’t I? I’m careful about their ‘real’ life and their online life is an extension of that so of course I would pay attention to it.
My family are getting sick of hearing this but facebook is not evil. It is a tool that can be used for good or evil. It can’t make me lazy but I can become lazy by avoiding work and being on FB. Is that FB’s fault or my fault? I actually find FB to be a lot like a mirror- it reveals things about people. And about me. Many people who only know me from softball may be surprised when they see me on FB, talking about faith, the Bible, natural health, homemaking and current events. But that is me- it is who I am.
But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Nobody really wants nor needs to know that I plucked my eyebrows or burnt my new saucepan. And I think that kind of sharing is not only superficial but truly time wasting. Despite what others do and the media may tell you, FB is not only for uploading embarrassing photos and doing stupid things. I try to use it by encouraging fellow believers of the promises and the character of God. Sure they ‘know’ it but being reminded is never a negative thing.
“I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have”
2 Peter 1:12
Friends know that I am a questioner. I want to know why. One of my favourite sayings is “know why we do what we do”. So at times, I ask questions. Sometimes these questions aren’t ones that I am struggling with- sometimes they are designed to see how or WHY others do things the way they do. I like to know if other people understand WHY they celebrate Christmas in the way that they do… or WHY they spend money on the things that they do… or WHY they eat healthy food when it’s hard work.I know it challenges people… but it challenges myself even more.
I’ve found it to be helpful and effective for relating with my distant relatives. Why? Because it is neutral territory. They are free to be themselves and not put up a facade. My extended family has a long history of h*mos*xuality and drugs running right through it. God worked in the life of my mum to break this cycle and she was the first believer in her family… my dad and myself followed. Therefore I am ‘friends’ with some fairly *colourful* people on fb, as in real life. I know this has shocked a few people but FB is one neutral venue where some of them might actually listen/read my posts. I do not live as a separatist… my faith is not isolated and my life has many non believers in it. Yes, I live in the world but am not of the world. I know that many fellow believers do not agree and I’m fine with that. That is their life and God may have called them to it. Most of my fairly think I am a religious, goody-two-shoes nutter. But they still visit my profile 😉 I have had some fantastic, deep, gospel-filled discussions with colourful people on FB… discussions that I wouldn’t have had at church or in the street.
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
~1 Thessalonians 5:11
I’ve also shared (given and received) health information, homeschool information, photography tips, Internet security advise, homemaking tips and recipes on FB.
Sure, technology should not replace real life contact and relationships but really, isn’t that obvious? There are negatives to FB and other sites… but to adamantly avoid FB whilst spending hours perusing other blogs and loitering in forums is no better. Common sense is needed. Always. There is a lot be wary of and to be careful of with FB and any other social networking site or blog…. we should always use our common sense and realise that nothing that is anywhere on the Internet is ever truly private. There are still guidelines and netiquette to be observed. I would not want to hear of a major idea or event from my children through FB; a quick phone call is much better.
Encouragement and Information
All in all I use FB as a way to encourage others, to receive encouragement, to learn about others so that I can love and care for them. Now if we’re talking Twitter, that’s a whole ‘nother story. I just can’t seem to get into it yet I know that others are blessed by it. Maybe I’m just too verbose for tweeting? 140 characters? Come on! That is just unreasonable. 😉
Permissible… but beneficial?
Blogging is great and there are loads of benefits but it isn’t always the right time in one’s life to get into blogging. Same with online forums… or FB. This chapter of my life sees me with older children so life is much different than when the children were younger. Honestly, I don’t know how some mums of younger children do it! I used to get sucked into forums- they were like a black hole that just gnawing away at my personal time. I became a mum where the *lights were on but no one was home*. You can read about it here… If this sounds like you, let me encourage you to stop your online activity and ask the Lord to renew your heart. He can and He will. I know.
Mind you whilst it might appear like I have ‘it altogether’ with this FB issue, I don’t. There have been times when I have deactivated my account and taken a FB sabbatical. I periodically cull my ‘friends’ list. I will ‘drop off’ the online planet for days or weeks at a time. Because real life and relationships come first for me.
If you do use FB or have decided to give it a go, head over here to Albert Mohler’s blog and look over his advice for social networkers.
Facebook is a tool … it can be used in a responsible way and give glory to God. How about you? Why do you use Facebook?