I have been doing a lot of soul-searching about Facebook. I believe I have come to a fundamental shift in the way I view the service.
Facebook has always been about how many friends someone has. Friend requests come in, and hardly anyone gets told no. In this way, I feel like Facebook has really co-opted what the word friend actually means.
Are you a friend because we knew each other 25 years ago and both have a Facebook account? Or because I know your brother from elementary school?
This misconception is especially true in ministry. While not necessarily a bad thing, it does take away the personal aspect of the service.
I have a blog to share my lengthier thoughts with the Internet at large, and Twitter for the more frequent, yet less involved ones.
From now on, my Facebook is for me.
Over the next few days, I will be going through the process of limiting my Facebook to family, friends, and those with whom I want to keep in touch. I mean no disrespect if we used to be connected on Facebook and are no longer friends. It’s nothing personal. Besides, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I post there MUCH more often than I do on Facebook. Not on Twitter? Look to your left. My Twitter feed lives in the NoCamo sidebar. Another option is my NoCamo Facebook page, where I post links to recent content and, in the near future, will use as an avenue for continued conversation.
What do you make of Facebook these days? Am I loopy? Mental? An old fogey?
2 thoughts on “Taking My Facebook Back”
I spent a number of years in Germany. In that culture, there is a vast chasm between what we’d translate as acquaintance and friend. It is perfectly normal there to know someone well and for a long period, yet never be considered a friend–rather, an acquaintance. To me, the easiest judge of where you were on that spectrum was the threshhold of the home–being invited socially inside another’s home was in many ways the beginning of friendship.
American culture seems to throw around the word friend, and discounts the propriety of being “just an acquaintance”…perhaps it wasn’t always that way here–during the Christmas holiday season many of us will probably still sing “lest old acquaintance be forgot”–with “friends.”
I’ve always found it difficult to establish friendships–I’m not naturally socially open–and life experiences have painfully taught me that much in life is far more superficial than it appears in the present tense. In one of my early military assignments, I knew many people closely & felt a close bond of friendship. However, after leaving that assignment that immediately faded–what we’d really shared was great camaraderie. It is still nice to bump into one of those folks on facebook/etc–that old bond is still there. However, “friends” is probably too optimistic a term; the bond of former comraderie is easily broken by topics of religion, politics, or Farmville spam. In other spheres, my dating life contained many searing experiences as did college, etc.
What makes or defines a friend? I’m not sure. A quick walk through the word indicates that a friend is someone with whom you are “face to face” (Exod 33:11); “who is as your own soul” (Deut 13:6); who invites and visits (Ruth 4:1); who exchanges gifts (1 Sam 30:26); who accompanies (1 Sam 16:17); is specially close (2 Kings 10:11); are small in number, willing to go out of their way, show sympathy and comfort [yet aren’t to be considered divinely inspired] (Job 2:11); pray intercessionally for each other (Job 42:7); deeply grieves (Ps 35:14); is worthy of trust and fellowship–but can fall away (Ps 41:9, 55:20, 88:18); is intimate (Prov 7:4); can be breached due to misunderstanding/intrigue (Prov 16:28, 17:9) but shouldn’t be so swayed (Prov 17:7); sticks closer than a brother (Prov 18:24); is a false pretense of those who seek to use others (Prov 14:20, 19:4, 19:6); speaks corrective truth for edification (Prov 27:6); gives earnest counsel (Prov 27:9); is not to be forsaken–and entails a family commitment (Prov 27:10); have limits to proper confidence (Micah 7:5, Luke 21:16); are how God seeks humanity, even though undeserved (Matt 26:50); are someone with whom you will share the Gospel (Mark 5:19); will undertake critical missions on behalf of another (Luke 7:6, 15:14); are shown special treatment (Luke 14:10); who one desires to include in celebrations (Luke 15:6); will sacrifice dearly for another (John 15:13); are lifelong (Acts 13:1); attend to needs (Acts 24:23); are welcoming (Heb 11:31); seek right relationship (James 2:23); have a relational position (James 4:4); Greet one another, personally (James 4:4, 3 John 15). I know with certainty my closest friend is God. In all other circumstances I (in Ronald Reagan’s phrasing) “trust, but verify”–perhaps it is too much to ask of real people to be like Spock to Kirk: “I have always been, and always will be, your friend.”
Regardless of what “Facebook fellowship” may or may not claim with it’s air of formality, I’ll embrace Spock’s logic in assessing our relationship.
Merry Christmas to the Wellmans from the Walkers!
Live long, and prosper
Ward, I do indeed call you friend, and not just Biblically and Facebookally. Thank you, and God bless the Walkers this Christmas!
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