The year was 2006 when I first joined the Book of Faces. I had attempted to do so previously, but since my college wasn’t included in the list of schools only allowed on the site, I couldn’t get in. Up to that point, it was MySpace all the way.
Come 2008, I pretty much abandoned my MySpace and jumped headlong into using Facebook.
Facebook, namely social media, has become quite the thing within our culture.
Generally, upon making a real friend, the conversation usually ends with one of us saying: “Oh, I’ll find you on Facebook” or “I’m gonna friend you on Facebook.”
You can’t go anywhere or watch anything without seeing a #hashtag (thanks Twitter!) promoting some keyword. The way we connect through our various devices has become quite the norm for most of us.
Social media is an amazing tool to network, build relationships and promote your cause. It’s definitely helped with our church, as well as our adoption.
But social media can also be very harmful. And this gets down to the reasoning behind this post.
Back when Facebook started becoming popular and I met people that didn’t use Facebook or hadn’t heard about it, I kind of felt a bit snobby about it. “Oh, you’re not on Facebook? REALLY? WHY?” And then I felt REALLY different about those that just refused to get on the site all together. I mean really, what were they thinking? They should catch up with society.
But now, I’m starting to second guess my social media involvement all together.
Over the last few years or so, our culture has taken a huge shift towards being uncivil. Nowadays it’s uncool to share a difference of opinion from someone else. You quickly get labeled intolerant and your tweet or blog post, or simple comment, sparks a virtual forest fire that quickly gets out of control.
No longer do we consider the opinions of others, but rather quickly write them off as wrong if they don’t line up with our own.
Since when did our own self become the standard of truth?
I realize completely jumping ship and removing myself isn’t the answer, thus why I haven’t deleted my account completely. But as a way of stepping back, I have removed the FB app from my phone.
Not because I’m holier than anyone. Not because I’m being snobby. But because I started seeing how this incivility was affecting my own life. I was becoming uncivil myself. I was buying into the deception.
I found myself assuming what people meant by blog posts or comments. I’d get mad when someone would disagree with me. I’ve even posted a status or two that was more so out of frustration with ignorant people than out of love or grace, thus fanning the flames of incivility.
I had to change.
I would challenge you to consider this as well. Do you immediately write people off without actually listening to them? Do you hastily post statuses without thinking through their ramifications? Do you angrily engage with people just because they have a different opinion?
This was becoming an issue for me and one way I’m working on this is stepping back a bit from FB.
We’re walking through the book of James at our church, and one of the things that James deals with is this very thing.
The solution he offers is this:
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” – James 1:19