Facebook. Facebook is what brings us together today. Facebook, that blessed social site, that dream within a dream. (Adapted from my favorite speech from The Princess Bride)
Today I’m starting a new blog feature called ‘Tech Tuesday’. Each Tuesday (that I remember) I’m going to talk about a different aspect of technology relating to whatever I’m thinking about at the time.
There was some twitter discussion this weekend about Facebook and whether or not it is worth having a Facebook (FB) account.
As part of this discussion, a blog post written by Anne Jackson (@flowerdust) was brought up by @michaelhyatt. In her post, Anne announced that she has deleted her Facebook account and gives some reasons for doing so.
Before I say anything else, let me say that if God wanted Anne Jackson to delete her Facebook account then she was absolutely right to do so. No ‘human wisdom’ can argue against the will of God.
It made me think about the question for a while though. “To Facebook or not to Facebook?”
Facebook is both a social networking tool and a promotional networking tool. Sometimes the line between the two can get a little fuzzy but I look at it like this:
- I want to get to know people. If those people are already a part of this wonderful family called the Church, I want to get to know them as my brothers and sisters. That’s what this blog is all about – my journey to rediscover who ‘the Church’ are. If the people I meet on Facebook are not saved, I want to get to know them to earn the opportunity to share the gospel with them. I truly believe what I preach – that Jesus is the ONLY way to heaven. Therefore, I feel deep compassion for those who do not know Him and I truly desire to introduce them to the only one who can save them.
- On the other hand, I am also an author and speaker. To be successful at that, I have to recognize the opportunities that God gives me for publicising and marketing both my books and myself (as a speaker). Very often the friends and acquaintances I am making through Facebook could, now or in the future, be people who buy my book or ask me to speak at an event for them.
Facebook is therefore both a social tool and a marketing tool but I always try to ensure that I am not insincere in my relationship building.
I believe that Facebook is a positive thing and here are my thoughts on why we should use it, broken down by how I use it and what it does for me:
- I am reconnecting with old friends – it is a great social tool. There are many people on Facebook who I haven’t seen or heard from since high school. A lot of these people are not Twitter users, or are much harder to find on Twitter. Using Facebook, I can get reacquainted with them even though I live on a different continent to most of them now.
- It is helping me in my ministry by allowing me to connect and stay in communication with people and ministries I would not otherwise have met or come in contact with.
- It is helping me to build a platform. Many of the ministries mentioned above are places where I could potentially speak when my book is published (not if it’s published, WHEN it’s published. I’m being positive here!). I am also connecting with many other authors and people within the right demographics for marketing my books.
- There are people I am connected with who don’t seem to use any other social media platform and, more importantly, don’t know Christ – and I am able to be a witness to them through Facebook. One example of this happened just last week. For privacy reasons, I won’t go into the whole story but it became obvious that someone who isn’t saved was reading my Facebook status updates in detail. I realized that, as I walk out my salvation and comment about my faith walk on Facebook, he is watching – and my comments might be the only witness for Christ he ever sees. That alone makes me feel that having and using a Facebook account is worth it – for the people who are watching and learning, even if they usually don’t interact with me. Who knows whose life might be changed because I use Facebook?
If I was just using Facebook to build a platform for marketing my books (and myself) I might be tempted to stop using it because I would feel that I was being rather insincere – but God uses these things for something higher and bigger than my small ambitions can even comprehend.
I have made and reconnected with many great friends and have been encouraged and uplifted by many people through the medium of Facebook. For all the reasons above, until God tells me differently, I will therefore be making it a very big part of my life and therefore my work for God.
What do you think? Is Facebook good or evil? Is it helpful or a hindrance to you? What is God saying to you about it?
23 Reply to “To FB or not to FB?… That is the question”
Since I joined Facebook I’m far more connected with the people in my life on a day to day basis. However much or little it helps me professionally, I enjoy FB as a social tool. My conscience (God?) tells me to be careful not to spend too much time with it.
ok I am sorry but this is going to be really random, after the past weekend my brain is on overload and I am super tired and should (and will lol) be going to bed very soon.
Peter I just wanted you to know I think your pretty awesome..wait no its more than that. I think you ROCK!
seriously how you got all these thought provoking and spiritually moving blogs out AND accomplished all I saw, and didn’t see, you get done while we were there is just amazing to me. For reals I don’t think most the people you FB, twitter or blog (and whatever other networking you do, weather it be social or otherwise) realize just how much you accomplish every day and then when you have 8! (and one of them is my wild child jungle boy) other people in your house who you cook and clean and just plain take care of (and make time for on an individual level) See to me that make you more than just pretty Awesome that makes you Rock! and very special!!
I know I say this every time but I mean it from the Bottom of my heart Thank you so much!! for Everything!
hugs and love, Erin
lol oh and p.s in staying with our true fashion we left something up there, yeah.. luckily we have a car phone charger, but the one that is by your phone in the living room, yep that charger is ours. 🙂 lucky for you none of our kids would let us forget them or who knows just maybe one day we will get 2 hours away and say “oh well We will get them next time” 😉
Aww, thanks Erin.
Maybe I achieved all I achieved this weekend by not preaching on Sunday (sorry Amber).
Seriously though, I’m pretty lazy. I wish I was more focused and could get more accomplished in a day!
I’ll get your charger in the mail to you.
Love you all,
Your welcome… and no I think you still would have done it all.
and lol I don’t think you could have preached unless you kicked me off your couch since I was sleeping like a log Sunday morning and Amber is ok but I do think if you would get a webcam and do a live service she would chose you over going to church. Wait, lol that wasn’t meant as an Idea.
and I guess its all about our perspective because I see you and feel like I really am the one who can’t stay focused and accomplish much of anything… (or would that be much of nothing)
Thanks for getting the charger out.. See talk about can’t stay focused.
btw I FB becuase I don’t sleep, and except when I am with my family or at church, Its a source of social interaction with people older that 13. I mean don’t get me wrong I love my kids but besides just being my kids I feel like they are my ‘outside of my family’ job too (homeschool) and sometimes I need to be encouraged, talk about things I’m proud of or just be able to share disappointments with an adult and know that my life will go on once my kids are gone not just cease to exsist becuase they aren’t my main focus any longer. I know God has more for me I just need to get brave and stop doubting myself and find it. Just sharing that is scary for me.
Oh and AndyC hit the nail on the head….pretty much why I stopped using Myspace is because everyones mothers brothers cousin twice removed wanted to be friends and it just got WAY to overwhelming and time consuming and….. fake feeling to me. I know this isn’t face to face and I can’t reach out and give those hugs and lay hands on people I pray for (am I the only one who prays sometimes with my hands on the screen??) but I would like to really get to know and feel more than just a passing moment of sadness for things in the lives of my online friends. I want to laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry and just be real with them. I want them to know if they ever came to my town, my house, or just needed to call and hear a voice that I would be there and do whatever I could to help.
lol ok I’m rambling and need to get some sleep, end of the school year means busy busy.
love you all too.
and Thanks for the birthday wishes. Dave needed that today. I think we might be doing something right because boy did the devil try to take away any Joy but as usual God protected us and everything that went wrong was worked out before the day was over.
I think it is a great connection to people. But it does have some downsides; all the games, etc. which can be time consuming and the tendency to keep at a surface level with most friends as opposed to deeper connections, a lot of that driven by the volume of friends.
Like life, there is good and bad. We have to learn how to cope with it and try to use FB to God’s glory.
I’ve been avoiding FB myself. My wife is addicted to it. But I’m rethinking based on the feedback from the conference, namely your point #3- building a platform. I also need to get this twitter thingy figured out to. I’m being dragged into the 21st Century kicking and screaming!
Oh, and you got the quote wrong: “bwings us togethah todayyy” LOL!
Yeah, the addiction thing can be a problem. Most of us get into a situation at one time or another where we find that Facebook is taking over our lives. As with anything, we have to learn moderation.
Jump on the bandwagon Frank, you know you want to! 🙂
I’m a little confused. How is Twitter any better than Facebook? There are people following me on Twitter that I don’t even know whereas all the people on my Faccebook are actually friends. A vast majority of our church members are on Facebook and it actually helps to get the word out about events and such. People also Facebook what’s going on in their lives and then I can follow up in person when I see them @ church. I like it!!! I think with all things online, it’s up to you to maintain the face to face relationships and make them more important. But honestly, we are living in a digital world and I think we need to use those resources to reach people for God in the environment they are most confortable in. And sometimes that’s online.
That’s a good question Christina, “How is Twitter any better than Facebook?” and it’s something I might tackle in a future ‘tech Tuesday’ post.
I’m not sure it IS any better, but I won’t say any more until I’ve really thought about it.
Thanks for your great comment!
I don’t know why, but this post strikes something in me. I have Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, and unlimited text messeging. I’m a junior high youth leader and these are the ways my students are connecting to the world. If this is how they are connecting, then it would be foolish of me not to meet them where they’re at. This doesn’t mean I think this is the ONLY way to connect with them, but sometimes it’s the first step to show them I understand the world they’re living in. Does that make sense? I don’t know if I’ve explained myself very well here.
I think you’re right- the issue lies in the heart and what God is showing you. He knows each of us and what may be fine for one is a trap for another. What I love about these social media platforms is just what you said- I can connect to people in such an incredible (and fun) way as well as get a message out that God put inside me. Great post.
Hey Peter ~
I think we met on FB. Glad to know you!
I’m glad to know you too Neil!
I FB because it brings together many of the groups of my life. The interaction can be deeper than Twitter which seems like such an ego maniacal program (walking down to the mailbox….like anyone cares!). Sure, FB is silly, but that silliness can create an environment where our non intrusive witness can be explored by others, hopefully bringing God glory.
Sorry, I haven’t been by lately. I have been under the weather and barely in touch on my own blog.
Anyway, heres my opinion for what its worth… I love facebook, it keeps me in contact with friends and family. Makes it easy to keep up on the lives of everyone.
Great to see you dropping by. You’ve been missed!
I hope you’re doing better now.
Thanks for chiming in!
Thanks to FB I get to enjoy reading your blog! As for a platform I posted my book on FB and sold over 300 copies in two weeks…people wanted the book and wanted to be notified of its release…so…a little friendship – a little business…plus I have met some of the most amazing people through FB and Twitter.
And for those of you who read this and wonder about my book check out my website http://www.debwatson.net – I penned a book, but God was truly the Author & Finisher!
Okay, Facebook is really great for reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.
But if someone sends me another Yoville request, I’m gonna go postal!
ok..well..hereit is…i’ agree with Frank and a few others..I joined FB a few months ago..but already it is becoming a major distraction in my life..and for someone who some say have A.D.D.(whic I don’t have )it is distracting..so i’m attempting to get off..however..i tis hard because some people like to use it..i’m trying to get them to just email me..sinc I already have over 100 people as friends…thi sis how it goes…i open it, i glance at my inbox..and talk to those people and try not to get distracted with the wall…readin what my friends are doing…cause then an hour or two can go by…looking at others photos..resondign to their posts…comments, responding to a blog..lookign at antoher site, etc,etc.. etc. etc..and i don’t have two hours to do that…,so I’d rather call or email them directly for information..and to have a conversation it would be over coffee or a meal..and to promote myself..(marketing)…that would be strange…(feels to boastful)…although I also speak and write…for some it is great..but i’m more a one on one person..look me in the face…i know it is the wave of future..all the Gen. X’a nd Y’rs tell me so…and i’m trying to overcome my biases..but for now..i have to definately limit it…or get off…there you have it 🙂
I think Facebook is a blessing in my life. I have connected with old friends, made friends with classmates who weren’t friends while we were in school, and connected with people in my larger faith community.
I like what you said about using Facebook as a witness for Christ.
I do have to be careful about “addiction”, however. Yesterday my husband said, “Don’t tell me you were Facebooking again.” And my reply was, “OK, I won’t tell you.” 🙂
Addiction to FB and all of these social networking tools is a big issue for most of us.
I often try to weigh whether or not the addiction is greater than the benefit!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting Elrlinda!