Monday, July 19, 2010

Facebook Friends - Do you have any?

    If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth largest and most populated in the world.

     At 350 million users to date, it surpasses the number of people in both the United States and Spain combined.

    If Facebook were my boyfriend, we would be the quintessential high school couple - since I've broken up with Facebook more times than I can count.

    I'm back for now. Wondering daily, Why are we still together? or better yet, Why am I looking at someones honeymoon pictures from Niagara Falls? I don't even know these people.

    Facebook is the number one social networking tool, used by everyone from the Fortune 500 businessman to grandparents. My reason for joining this social phenomena was to post my articles and blog posts and to keep my finger on the pulse of the fast-changing world of Christian publishing.

    What began with good intentions, quickly evolved into something different.

    My spare time, once used to garden, decorate, and make dinner a few times a week, soon became filled with incomplete sentences and cutesy comments. They call out to me like a siren's song and before long, my daily to-do list crashes against the rocks.

    Before you begin to tell me how beneficial Facebook is and how many “friends” you have reconnected with, let me remind you what the definition of friend is.

    Friend: a person who is attached to another by feelings or affection.

    The Bible says, A friend loves at all times, a brother is born of adversity. Proverbs 17:17

    Clearly, love and affection are two fundamental characteristics of a friend. So, when you tell me you have six hundred and thirty-two friends, you might be deluding yourself. My husband likes to call them F.F.F.'s, or “Fake Facebook Friends.”

    Calling an unknown person who can read your daily one-liners a friend is like calling every male contact on your EHarmony page your husband.

    For the few months Facebook and I have been in this relationship, I've learned a few things I'd like to share with you:

Purpose  Be honest with yourself. Why are you using a social network? Good reasons like client contacts and keeping in touch with the kids can quickly become talking to ex-boyfriends, or investing what little free time you have watching lives of people you will probably never meet and who have little or no interest in you. Focus on the benefits and use it as a tool for good.

Precaution  It's always smart, when possible, to plan what you are going to post on your Facebook page for the day. Try not to shoot from the hip with pithy comments. You may think your sarcasm is funny, but often times, funny and sarcasm is lost in translation. Only share on Facebook what you're comfortable shouting in a crowded movie theater.

Patron  Don't be delusional. There is no possible way you can have five-hundred friends. Facebook-Friends should really be called Facebook-Acquaintances or Facebook-Patrons. A patron is a much better term for lookey-loos. A patron is a customer, client, or a regular guest. When you think of your networking base this way, it makes it much easier to keep yourself emotionally detached.

    As for me? For now, I will move forward in this on-again off-again relationship, while desperately clinging to my true beliefs.

     A real friend loves. A real friend sacrifices. A real friend takes time for me. And, out of the seven hundred and ninety four F.F.F.'s I have, only a handful are real.


Anonymous said...

I have struggled with FB too. Right now I have 37 friends. I took off any person I would not talk to or hang out with IRL. Since I have done this I have had a much better time with FB ;)

Denise said...

Amen, well said.

Debbie said...

You make some excellent points and we always need to be careful. However, for me it's been something good. I work at home online and it's pretty solitary. I enjoy people but it's my hubby and me 24/7. So it's a nice break for me to go on Facebook.

I've reconnected with so many high school friends. And many of my friends are not Christians. However, many have subscribed to Heart Choices or read it from time to time. My message there is very clear and I've had some send me private emails.

I also am able to stay in touch with my relatives; cousins who are missionaries in other parts of the world. And I have many relatives in Norway. We get to share recipes and IM with each other.

I hope you don't take my comments as a criticism because it's not. I know many people who should be spending less time on Facebook. And yes, real friends have true emotions and connections.


Joanne@ Blessed... said...

Thanks for your input Debbie. I think FB can be a great thing if used like you use it.

Great points friend!

Nana's Nuggets said...

Hi! Joanne, this was interesting. I do not do FB., for some reason this just does not interest me! It seems that there are so many caught up in this that they cannot get beyond it! Maybe they just need to feel connected! But I know that if one feels comfortable with it, then there is no harm done! I will certainly agree with Debbie's comment tho, you can be connected, but not connected! Hope that makes sense. But I did enjoy hearing a good view of the pros and cons.

homeschool101 said...

*After Smacks across the face* Lol, Joanne - These are great points. I have to say, I am actually getting annoyed with FB. While I have met some great and interesting people in which I have actually gotten to know quite well [We really believe it was a God thing] I can not really say that for the rest of the hundred some people I have now.

Anymore it is so time consuming when I have so much more to be concerned with. I have honestly considered deleting FB.. What stops me?? [When I get there I will let you know! Lol!] Thanks for sharing this...

Susan Panzica - EternityCafe said...

My husband has reconnected with his HS friends and college band through fb. We had some great get-togethers in person afterwards.

A HS friend was searching for me because she has wanted to ask my forgiveness for over 35 years! And when she found me on fb, we discovered that we are now both believers. Never would have believed that in HS.

Also, it's the language of the next generation. I'm "friends" with my kids and some of their real friends. Keeps me in the loop. Not that I check fb very often, to be honest.

I think it's a matter of control, like an addiction. Am I able to set limits? Or is fb controlling me and my time?

I do like that because of fb, "friend" has become a verb. I think that in real life, we should "friend" people, make the effort to really get to know them. Just sayin'....

Kathy C. said...

I LOVE this post! Yes, I do FB, but don't get on there for very long at a time. However, I completely know what you are saying, as I have found myself looking at family photos of people I have not seen since High School (over 25 years ago)...whom I will NEVER see again in all my life, don't call, or know in any real way.
I have MUCH better things to be doing, and have been making time for them of late.
However, for me, this includes blogging, as I am trying to blog much less frequently as well.

Cindy Bultema said...

Love your thoughts! I have a love/hate relationship with FB ~ and can definitely identify with your struggle. THANK YOU for your 3P's ~ great to Ponder ~ smile!
Always enjoy coming by your blog. Keep up the great work!
Cindy :)

Loren said...

What a great post! I shared this on my FB wall :)

Marsha's Mpressions said...

Good points you make. I see fb as any other communication tool. Just like you can talk too much on the phone, watch too much TV, read too much, you can let fb get out of hand. Moderation in all things.

Marsha's Mpressions said...

Good points you make. I see fb as any other communication tool. Just like you can talk too much on the phone, watch too much TV, read too much, you can let fb get out of hand. Moderation in all things.

DORCAS said...

I got off facebook last October and it was the best thing i ever did. It just got out of hand. I am glad you shared this. Hope others see what we see.




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