A couple of weeks ago I decided to voluntarily go on a Facebook Fast. The goal was to see what difference not going on Facebook would make on my life.
Here are a few things I learned.
First. Facebook can be a royal waste of time. When perusing Facebook out of boredom or out of habit, Facebook has the ability to suck you in and the next thing you know 30, 40, 60 minutes have gone by. And the worst part of doing something like that is you are no better for it at the end of your Facebook session than you were before. Whatever state you were in before checking in with Facebook is the state you will find yourself at the end of that session.
Second, Facebook is a fantastic tool for ministry. It was fitting that I chose to go on the Facebook fast right before I went to Russia to teach at the Moscow Presbyterian Theological Seminary for a couple of weeks. While at the seminary, I had several requests from pastors and students there who wanted to know if I was on Facebook so we could stay in touch even when I went back to the States. Facebook is an amazing tool to help folks from across the world to stay in touch. Not only that, being on Facebook would have allowed me to stay connected with the folks from my congregation while in Russia.
Conclusion: if you are looking at Facebook as a way to meet your needs (friendship needs, relational needs, spiritual needs, etc.) you will be terribly let down. Facebook can’t do that. The only way to do that is to get together with real people, face-to-face and interact. The only way to connect spiritually is to get involved with a local church with real people who are doing their best to journey through their faith life authentically.
However, if you are already starting from a position of having healthy relationships and a healthy spirituality, and you are using Facebook as a tool to stay connected with folks, Facebook really is a tremendous tool.
What a gift to be able to connect with friends from all over the world. What a gift it is to be able to pray for one another.
So, I find myself back on Facebook. But I have made a few adjustments.
- I have over a thousand “friends” on Facebook. And because of the sheer enormity of people their posts can be daunting. So, if I have not interacted with you on Facebook through messages, comments, etc., we will remain friends but I have opted out of seeing posts from folks I do not have a personal and ongoing relationship with.
- I am choosing to use Facebook as a ministry post. Therefore, the primary relationships I am opting for are ministry, mission, and friendship connections.