So I have joined the ranks of Facebook. This wasn't a light decision. I had been invited a few times by different people over the last few months and I always asked why. The answers I got mentioned messaging friends and seeing what they were doing. In response I asked how it was different than IM or email other than everyone else can see what you type. It wasn't until a week ago that I got an answer I couldn't refute. "To keep track of the kids." I signed up the next day. I like the ability to track what is going on with the kids in our High School Ministry. I can get a better insight to how they are feeling to know how best to pray for them. Also, I can call them out if they are saying something completely untrue. (It seems that teenagers search out a way to feel isolated and depressed becasue they found one instead of focusing on the myriad of reasons to feel included.)
I also found some friends I've lost contact with long ago. That is cool.
What I didn't like were the tricks and lies on that website. Here are the ones I've stumbled across.
1. Ads - I know that facebook has to generate revenue. I don't particularly like ads, but I canignore them. The ones that I would ban (if i were running facebook) would be the ones that lower the integrity of the site. There is an ad for getting a free MacBook Air after testing it from colormyrewards.com that is a scam. I googled the site and read up on how the scam works. Also, there are ads that try to blend into the site, telling you that you have unread messages from friends and that 4 of your friends are challenging you to take this quiz and compare the results. The quiz asks you for personal information before giving you the results. Although I now know that the quiz ad isn't part of the site, it is close enough in design that newcomers to facebook don't know if they are not paying attention to the style.
2. Facebook has invented tons of nothing to keep you on the site. There are pokes, jabs, high-fives, pillow fights, and countless more things to send to your friends, and when you do so, they get a message that they've been poked or whatever. This means nothing and is absolutely useless. It is a waste of time, and teenagers are having a hard enough time being productive as it is. Getting poked in real life isn't that much fun and getting poked on facebook is even less. It's a time thief. It's job is to keep you on the site so their numbers can go up so more companies want to advertise with them. It doesn't deepen the relationship between the friends any more than having an actual conversation would.
3. There are causes you can join. I got invited to a "Save the Animals" cause. Now I have nothing against saving animals and I think we should be kind to animals, but joining a cause on facebook (whether or not you give them money) is a lie to make you feel good about youself. (I know this sounds like a harsh opinion, and it may be, but I really see a lie in this.) The casues might be good, but as I briefly considered joining this one, the little bad voice inside my head said that if I didn't join, people are going to think I don't like animals or don't care about them and am therefore, heartless. And maybe they would be right. Maybe I would be heartless. I wouldn't have to give money. Just put my name down on the list. Boost the number up so that other people can see how important this cause it. Then you would have done something good and can be proud of it, and it didn't cost you a thing. I don't listen to that voice because I recognize it and it's not that of my Shepherd. It was a lie to try and make me do something for me, like the devil trying to get Jesus to make a stone into bread. Like the temptation David faced when offered the threshing floor to sacrifice to God. When you join these causes, you feel like you are doing something good, but you really do nothing. It doens't cost you anything. It doesn't take any time. It is a selfish good work. My good work is either going to cost me the sweat from my brow, the sleep from my eyes, or the money from my wallet, and if it's worth the effort, it will take all three. I'm going to give of myself knowing that God will provide and replenish me. Anything else would seem to be a waste of what God has gifted me with. It may seem silly to you, but I will not give to God that which costs me nothing.
(I don't hate facebook. I think most of it is cool. I just wanted to point out the traps I see instead of trying to sell an idea that isn't mine.)
Setting Sun - Sun Setting in SoCal...I forget where exactly.....
1 year ago