It’s interesting what social media has done to us, for better and worse.
On the one hand, it’s become a tremendous blessing, allowing us to reach out to those we might never have had a chance to know, or with whom we may have lost touch forever. And on the other, it has become something of a menace, causing us to feel frustration as we sift through posts that sometimes contain volatile threads.
I think most people have had a love-hate relationship with social media at some point in time. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll zero in on Facebook.
Some days it’s still the best thing since sliced bread, and other times, evil incarnate in the minds of some.
Several of my closest people — my sister, a dear college friend and a longtime Fargo friend — have chosen to forgo the headache, for various reasons. And despite the fact that in some ways, we are more disconnected because of it, I have the highest level of respect for all of them, and in some ways, admire their holding out.
My husband is one who has a Facebook page, but rarely goes there. He didn’t like when things got super political especially, and among friends. The discord wasn’t worth it to him. His page remains, but mostly goes still, unless I happen to tag him on a photo or post. Recently, he shared his thoughts about it again, and affirmed his decision to just stay away from it all.
While I share some of his frustrations and concerns, things like what happened recently on my Timeline helped me feel it’s still worth it to be on social media, including Facebook.
“Because of your posts I prayed at the Little Rock abortion clinic,” a friend wrote. “You inspire me. Thank you!”
I have been updating people in the Fargo area about our prayerful presence at the abortuary downtown, and because of this, a friend in Arkansas left her comfort zone and, hundreds of miles from where I live, become a prayer warrior, too. I know that it was as much about the Holy Spirit moving her than anything I’d said, but nevertheless, we need earthly encouragement, and she received that from my posts. What if that act of hers saved a life? Would I regret having offered a bit of encouragement? Not a chance and praise God!
I also saw the power of it when the same abortuary I mentioned here posted on their pubic page that I had stated on my personal page as a public “rebuttal” of sorts. Apparently one of my friends had tipped them off to my updates.
When a Facebook friend asked recently whether I’d be upset if Facebook disappeared, I had to honestly respond that I would live just fine without it, just as I did before its invention. Yes, I would miss it, but I’m sure I’d adjust.
But do I regret being in touch with friends from high-school with whom I may well have been out of touch forever if not for Facebook? Do I regret that, in my father’s dying days, I was able to receive words of comfort from those far away who had known and loved him, and loved me too through those difficult moments? Do I regret that so many beautiful words have been said through this medium, along with all the hateful ones? I do not regret any of those things. They are pure blessing. And so for that reason, I am still good with Facebook.
But am I Fickle about Facebook? Without a doubt. Do I still think taking social media breaks can be good for the soul. Yes, indeed. I’m sure that as long as Facebook exists, I will go back and forth between these two, always fickle, but grateful for the good. I especially love being able to share my faith there, and if my time on Facebook has been fruitful in that way even if no other, it is definitely worth it.
As a communicator, I am obliged in some ways to go where the conversation is happening. Though I cannot be everywhere at all times, a heckuva lot of people are on Facebook right now. And I want to be, need to be, involved in that conversation if I’m to live out my vocation as writer, and with God’s grace, a bringer of light and speaker of truth.
Until I feel compelled in some major way to abandon my Facebook wall, I’ll still be there, and other places, too.
Q4U: What about you? How do you feel about social media? We all have our reasons for doing what we do.