I thought long and hard, at least 6 minutes, about whether or not I would write a blog putting my two cents into the Facebook rearrangement.  After all, I’ve already written about FB in the past.  At first I wasn’t going to because everyone else was complaining already, jumping ship to the new Google social network, falling back to Twitter only and in general bellyaching (me included) and I just didn’t want to get lost in the noise.  No doubt many people will just stop FBing altogether.

I would be one of them—I could live without FB—except.  It is the “excepts” which get in the way.  Each of these excepts are very important to me, and in all seriousness trump my own personal needs.

  • Except . . . FB provides a mass communication model that has something intangible which is lacking in either regular old-fashioned email or Twitter.  I can’t put my finger on it, but it is definitely real.  It is something like inertia—or momentum.  Even with all the buggy changes to format and security stuff FB still has that “contact everybody at once” feeling.  To use a New Testament idea, FB has become a digital synagogue; where everyone meets and sees each other.  To use a 1980’s idea, FB is the digital shopping mall.
  • Except . . . Friends.  I do not have thousands and thousands of friends, but I do have a lot of friends—people in the real world, who I am able to see how their lives are and be somewhat in community with.  I’ve worked hard to collect these friends and throwing them way in a fit of anger seems, unfriendly.  I like my friends and without FB I would lose something of the relationship.  Now, if we ALL jumped ship to Google’s new site or Twitter, then okay but I doubt we all would.
  • Except . . . Twitter.  In the last few months I’ve gotten to know Twitter better.  When I opened my first Twitter account I shut it down almost immediately because my mind just didn’t understand Twitter.  However, lately I’ve been playing with it more and getting more comfortable with it.  Yet I know, Twitter doesn’t have the automatic “oh, I understand it” factor that FB has always had and I am kidding myself I think I will connect to the same number of people through Twitter that I can FB.  I approximate 80% of our church is on FB while less than 5% are on Twitter
  • Except . . . Maybe FB knows something I don’t know.  I’m not a big fan of the new layout, but my perception is that there is a reason for it.  Yeah, I complained yesterday a bit, but the more I think about it I must keep in mind that FB has 500 million+ users, many in other countries.  Maybe the new layout fits the needs of non-English speakers or other cultures better.  This is the “Why” Question.  They must have a reason—a good one, I hope.
  •  Except . . . Ministry is easier with FB.  Through FB I can do several ministry things in a short amount of time.  I can contact my small group.  I can publicize information.  I can pray for people (BTW, in case you’re wondering, I’m very confident prayers typed onto a FB message are heard by God too), discover needs, and follow-up with real world situations.  You can say—well, that is what email is for but I rebut, we did that for years and email just doesn’t work as well as FB.  I get instant feedback from FB in ways I never got or get from email.

 

In addition to these, I could also argue that, well, it shouldn’t really matter that much, now should it.  If people get this hot and bothered over the lay-out of a website that helps us leave silly posts about what we’re eating or play on-line games about farms and mafia; perhaps our lives are out of whack to begin with.  Face it, FB just doesn’t matter enough to be angry about.

7 Comments

  1. You left off one other good reason – Google + may end up with the same issues. Both are in the business of selling you to corporate interests.

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  2. The problem I have with the new Facebook isn’t the layout. It’s the fact that everything is even MORE filtered than before. Facebook ends up targeting me so precisely that I only talk to the same 15 or 20 people all the time. I think that kind of defeats the purpose of it being a social “network.”

    I’m giving myself a month away from Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to see if I can still build relationships and have conversations through the blogosphere. If I can live without social media and just hang out on blogs, and if I still feel like I can build an author platform that way, then I will stay off Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ in favor of blogs. I don’t think I can get rid of Facebook, though. For one thing, it is one more place for people to see my name, especially on the fan page. For another thing, my oldest child turns 13 next year, and he’ll want an account. There’s no way he’s going to be on Facebook without me being his friend and periodically hacking into his messages… 😉

    I do think that in ministry there’s a real advantage to being on Facebook. But you seem better able to integrate Facebook into your life than I am… I admire you for that…

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    1. i applaud your decision to back off the networks. it is something i’ve done from time to time and i believe it to be healthy. with blogging we can extend our art/work/brand or whatever our goals are. social networks, though, are the way we can start and maintain relationships–but in all relationships sometimes time away is a good thing.

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