Boycotting Facebook


So over the past few weeks, Facebook has been in the news a lot. It turns out, that a lot of people are planning to deactivate their accounts on Monday, May 31, 2010 due to what they believe to be a lack of privacy on the site.
At the start, I must admit that I find it odd that there are people who still believe that anything that travels the internet is private. This is especially so, when it comes to Facebook. Facebook is all about the public connection. Even if I am unschooled and unsure of all of the implications that this causes on my own personal world, I can’t help but ask myself whether I should be concerned. Facebook is certainly a behemoth. Certainly, if you have followed the news coverage, you can’t help but be awed by this company.
What started off one computer in a college dorm room has now evolved into a online site that has over 500 million or half a billion people log in every month.

And the amount of pictures and information contained on it is enormous. It has been said that Facebook, is now the single largest collection of photography in the history of mankind.

It’s redefining marketing, communication, social lives, dating, you name it. It’s even redefining church and ministry. Key to our Wesleyan beliefs is the simple truth that if the people don’t go to where the church is, we are to take the church to them. People are on Facebook, and Churches are turning their attention there.

On a side note..How many of you have heard about the divorce formula? There is an algorithm that has been developed by math folks that assigns values to a series of words that you may or may not write, and assigns numbers to actions that you take while on line, that when feed into this equation can predict we great regularity if your relationship or marriage will end in the next thirty to sixty days.

Whatever you belief may be on the whole Facebook privacy debate, it’s a whole new world for the taking. The way we live, work, talk, and interact is changing. In some ways its changing for good, in others…not so good.

Last week, I read a magazine article about this debate that told a joke….
It was about two brothers, Fred and Joe… that decide to go and play golf on a beautiful spring day.
About 12 hours later Joe returns home. His wife, greeting him on his return asks him how his day was.

“Horrible Honey,” He said as he put away his clubs, with a sad grin on his face.

“It was Horrible Honey, Fred Died. He died on the 10th hole”

“Oh my Goodness,” cried the wife, “That must have been horrible”.

Joe replied: “It was,….From holes 10 to 18,….it was nothing but ‘Hit the Ball, Drag Fred… Hit the Ball, Drag Fred… Hit the Ball, Drag Fred…’ It was the worst day of my life.

The article continued by saying that there was a unique phenomenon that was developing on Facebook, which was leaps and bounds more disturbing than any inherent privacy concern.
It claimed that the most popular phrase, which is uttered in the realm of Facebook more than 1 million times a day… Is a three letter phrase… “FML”, which means basically,…”The heck with my life” (In a phrasing more agreeable with a Pastor’s Blog ). This phrase is usually used to denote the fact that you hate life, life is miserable, or that things are horrifically bad at that moment.

The article asked the question; that with the incredible frequency of the use of the phrase are people are losing sight of priorities?

Are we losing sight of what a real crisis is,…or what true problems are….? Are we losing sight of what struggles are out there for people who are truly living life?

The article proposes that because we are removing ourselves from our real world communities, and instead taking up in these fake cyber communities, we are becoming soft. We are losing sight of the reality, that other people, just like us, are going through more taxing, harsher, and darker times then losing cell phones, or keys to the car, or battling the incredibly hard life task of picking the right pair of shoes.

The authors believe that because poor, hurting, and sick people aren’t on their computers (they are living in their cars, or at hospitals, or just simple living on the edge), that these trivial concerns are becoming crisis level events.

Why we say, “FML”, we are telling the world it’s the worst day of our live, ignoring the fact of Fred being dragged behind us, in between our tee shots.

The article proposes that we are losing perspective. It stresses the real risk isn’t privacy, but that which we are so eager to exchange and sacrifice.

Ultimately, the greatest risk with this new technology and the large number of folks who are making their way to it, is what we lose in the process. How much perspective needs to be lost, before we realize what we are giving up? As we use these social media outlets, we need to be careful it doesn’t come at the expense of what is real.

This prompts the question; “What is real?” There are moments that should remind us. They are the moments when we find ourselves sitting at the table of a grieving friend, beside the widow as she buries her husband, at the hospital bed of a friend.
There are also those moments, which are less dramatic. There are moments where we extend our hand, and say thank you or I am here for you. These moments are the real moments of our lives.

They can be found in our churches, mosques, and synagogues. They can be found in our schools, in our workplaces, and in our pastimes. Each of these moments share a common trait. Maybe with all the shock and awe around a company with the reach of Facebook, the answer is simply found in the need to be reminded that real community begins, first and foremost, with human touch.

There is no way the internet will ever be able to compete with that network.

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