After a much too long hiatus from HSSSS, we are back in business with what seems to me to be a very timely topic. Facebook. I’m on it; he’s not and doesn’t want to be. Could be interesting. At first I thought it might break down as a simple pro/con approach, with my post being the pros, and his being the cons, but I’m not sure it’s that simple. Instead, I find myself a bit remiss to sing the praises of anything that could become yet another temptation to waste time when we almost certainly all have better things to be doing.
So, I’ll begin by chronicling my descent into Facebook, and perhaps I’ll come to some useful conclusions about it along the way.
A little over two years ago, while we were in Scotland visiting Trevor’s family, I received two e-mails in the same week from different friends inviting me to join Facebook. I’m not sure I had ever heard of it before. I ignored those invitations and got on with my life. A few months and a few more invitations later, just after Beatrix was born, my sister finally helped me set up my account. I had a profile picture and some “friends”. Kind of fun. I went to my page only when my e-mail told me to do so, and life went on as usual.
Then something happened. When we were ready to announce our pregnancy with Juniper, I thought I’d give this “status update” thing a try. After all, there’s always a little bit of awkwardness about announcing a pregnancy, and this seemed an easy way to get the word out without having to actually tell anyone. I wrote, “Jodi is pregnant, and wonders if anybody actually reads these things.” Within minutes, literally dozens of people had come out of the woodwork to congratulate me. I guess I had my answer.
After my little experiment, my use of Facebook gradually started to pick up some steam. I found a few friends I’d been out of touch with for a while. Fun. I got to see pictures of friends’ kids whom we haven’t seen since leaving Scotland. Fun! I’ve even posted a few pictures of my own family and got floods of oohs and ahs. Fun, fun! I still wouldn’t call myself a full blown addict (yet), but I’ll admit I have a tab open for it pretty much any time I’m on the computer.
In my defense (hmm… is acknowledging the need for a defense an admission of guilt in itself? Pretty much, I think.), I will say that in some ways, Facebook is a great timesaving device and a convenient way to get in touch with friends. Many a playdate has been organized through Facebook, since it’s rare that I can be guaranteed a few quiet moments to make a phone call. Facebook “chatting” is our main way of keeping in touch with at least one of our missionary friends, and the status updates keep us in touch with many more dear friends than we would otherwise be able to keep tabs on.
Here are a few of what I see as the “dangers” of Facebook. I’m *not* worried about stalkers or people pretending to be someone they’re not or anything like that. Maybe I should be, but we’ve been using the internet to show off the kids to faraway friends and family for as long as we’ve had kids, so I guess I just have a comfort level with that. The dangers for me are much more real and present: 1. That I would fall into the trap of neglecting my duties to my family in favor of spending time on the computer, and 2. That my motives for posting photos or updates would be somehow rooted in pride, and in a desire to “show off” what God has blessed me with as though I were responsible for any of it myself. I’m sure there are others, but those are the two that I feel I have to wrestle with most strongly. Maybe there are even others I ought to be wrestling with but haven’t realized yet. And almost certainly these Facebook pitfalls apply as well to my time spent on this very blog!
Bearing that in mind, I don’t feel that Facebook is all bad. As with so many other tools of this world that can be used by the enemy to keep people away from God, God in His sovereignty can still use them for His glory. I love having so many friends at my fingertips to encourage and be encouraged by, and I love seeing what He’s done in the lives of people I had once lost touch with.
Oh, but the quizzes? Well, I learned my lesson about those when I took one entitled “How many children should you have?” and was told that my personality is most suited to having an only child to dote on. I guess I have three little girls going spare if anyone wants them. (Kidding, kidding! We’re totally keeping them!)
Now go see what my nay-saying husband has to say about it. “Nay,” I imagine.