Wednesday, August 21, 2013

My Love/Loathe Relationship with Facebook

I’ve written in the past about my dislike of Facebook. I still don’t like Facebook…no I loathe Facebook. And yet this post will appear on Facebook. It will be read by people on Facebook. And I’ll still be a sucker in Mr. Zuckerberg’s world.

Here is why I haven’t left. There are a few advantages for me as a pastor/writer that cannot be found elsewhere:

  1. It’s great for blogging. I get several hits per day from people reading and sharing my articles on Facebook. I’m grateful for that.
  2. It helps pastors see people as they really are. People have a tendency to be a little more unfiltered on Facebook. Not that a pastor wants to be a creeper but your news feed can tell you some of the things that your members are struggling with.
  3. It’s a great resource for making announcements. People pay more attention to Facebook than they do that 5 minutes at the end of service when we share announcements.
  4. It can lead to decent discussion. People sometimes feel more free to ask questions and engage. Though Facebook can be a terrible place to discuss theology—for some it’s helpful to be able to think and type out your thoughts.
  5. It’s great for things like the 31 Day Prayer Challenge. Pastors and writers can create groups of people all around the world for things like this. It really is a great tool for networking that can be used for Kingdom growth.
  6. A great way to publicly encourage. Tons of people read through Facebook updates. How awesome would it be if we used this tool to encourage people and share their accomplishments.

Here is why I would really like to leave and continue to detest Facebook:

  1. It’s a passive/aggressive Dreamworld. With one somewhat vague status update I can have a world of people come to my defense, ask me questions, give me attention, and better than anything else stick it to the person that has made me mad. 
  2. Facebook venting. Same thing as above only more obvious. (See here).
  3. A poor excuse for pastoring. Knowing what is going on in people’s lives through Facebook, leaving comments, writing messages etc., is not pastoring. This can make it feel like you’re doing your job—but it doesn’t replace the face to face. Or putting your hand on their shoulder as you pray for them.
  4. Circumvents real relationship. Facebook is a mock community. You can’t hug on Facebook. You can’t cry on another persons shoulder. God created us for community—and not so much the online variety.
  5. Three earlier reasons are still around. I posted awhile back 3 reasons why I’m seldom on Facebook. These are still true. Too many bikini’s, too many silly pictures telling me that I don’t love Jesus if I don’t forward it, and far too much time wasted.

How about you? Why do you love/loathe Facebook?

Should we continue to use it for its benefits? How can we minimize the damage? Does your church do anything to disciple people in how to display Christ on social media?

1 comment:

  1. I loathe facebook because...
    you can create (falsify) your public identity, with the sole purpose of it being to persuade the public how great/spiritual you really are. Folks I know in real-life have the appearance of sainthood.

    One more husband and wife communicating their "loves" to each other via facebook and I'll eat my keyboard! My response-"Dont tell it to me, tell it to him/her!" Who are you trying to fool?!



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