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?