There is an article in this month’s Reach Out that caused me to go all dissenting Presbyterian, get the old pen out and underline certain bits in disagreement and wondering if that was all quite true.
It was taken from a book called ‘Will You Be my Facebook Friend?’ by Tim Chester and explores the problem with Facebook from a Christian point of view.
This is what I reckon, which may or may not be true, just throwing it out there.
‘One reason Facebook is popular is because it appears to allow me to create my image using my words. I type in a version of the person I want to be.’
Is this true?
Is this not just me as I am typing?
This isn’t a ‘false’ me typing, it’s really me as I presently am. When someone puts something up on Facebook they are they projecting an image of themselves as they really are or of who they hope to be?
‘On Facebook you do not have a conversation, you have an audience. Your life takes place on a stage and you are your own playwright, creating or recreating yourself through your word’
Maybe you can have more of a ‘conversation’ with someone on Facebook, Twitter or a blog than you can have in a magazine article such as the one I read, or in your book? You have more of a captive audience with a book as people have to sit and take it in with no easy way to engage in conversation with the author. In the old days people used to write letters to famous authors and they might have replied. Now I can do this sort of thing
‘The genius of Facebook is that all your friends come to you and all their friend come to them. So we all, simultaneously, inhabit our own little worlds, each with me at the centre…’
But is that not just human nature?
I used to be told that ‘sin is a small word with ‘I’ at the centre. Humans have always been selfish have they not? Have we not always believed that the world spins around us?
‘..These people are by definition my ‘chosen people’. In the Bible the ‘chosen people’ are God’s people, graciously chose by Him. When we come to faith we find ourselves part of a concrete expression of God’ s chosen people in our local church’
I am not really sure about the connection between chosen people and having Facebook friends.
And I’m not really sure about the connection between Facebook friends and church.
Some of the people who are my Facebook friends actually chose me. Is there any difference between sending some you like or a feel a bond with a letter or postcard or sending a friend request over Facebook?
‘But social media allows us to play God and create our own chosen people. And we are at the centre of this chosen circle’
You don’t need social media to allow you to play God or create your own chosen people or those you would prefer to hang out with, that is our fallen nature and broken heart. Go to any church and you’ll see that most old elderly people hang around other elderly people or teenagers around teenagers.
‘One pastor told me ‘The people I know who use Facebook most are those who are most self-obsessed’
I’m not sure how a pastor could measure such a thing. It might appear they are the most self-obsessed but that is only because they are more openly self obsessed and letting it all hang out there. In a way it is more honest as they aren’t hiding or burying their self-obsession. And maybe those people who are self-obsessed are equally insecure or frightened that they aren’t accepted?
‘Notice, too, from who I am seeking approval….Our overriding concern should be what God thinks of me. But instead my concern is what other users of social media think of me.’
Not necessarily true.
Many bloggers see themselves as publishing something for the general public to read but not necessarily enjoy or approve of .
If someone can publish a Christian magazine article or book to challenge faulty thinking (even if that is unpopular) I see no reason why a blogger, someone on Twitter or Facebook couldn’t do the same.
‘People can ‘Like’ something you have written. But there is no option to ‘Dislike’. So to get a response you have to phrase things in positive terms. No one is going to click ‘Like’ to ‘Had a miserable day at work’
There is no option to ‘dislike’ but people can leave a comment such as ‘I’m sorry to hear that, you should go home and put your feet up’. Or they could send a private message if they don’t want others to read.
‘So everyone’s Facebook face wears a smile – whatever the reality behind the mask. We are all spin doctors, presenting upbeat, propaganda, versions of our lives’
But you don’t especially need Facebook to wear masks or present upbeat, propaganda versions of your life. I remember we used to talk a lot about this in Queen’s about people being false and wearing masks, especially with regards to church. That was long before the age of social media. It a funny sort of way because it’s more out there perhaps it’s easier to challenge?