January 23, 2014

Facebook's Fake Community

As with many people, I am a face book user. Albeit with some self-imposed restrictions i.e. only my in the flesh friends are my face book friends. My personal life has some restrictions which make this choice necessary. Posting every day is not something I do, but I watch and read regularly.

In conversations around town, I am discovering an interesting train of thought. In too many cases, I am discovering that on line friendships are now the primary source for companionship versus real face to face, "Can you meet for coffee or come by for dinner?" relationships. Pretty sad, isn't it?

Granted, on line friendships have advantages, but nothing can replace the traditional real life friendships. We were designed to be relational. We were created to be touched, to be spoken to, to eat together, to celebrate together, to worship together, to laugh together, to cry together, to help each other. Much of this cannot be accomplished with Facebook.

Yet, it is becoming a poor substitute for the real thing, even when the real thing is openly available to us. (And don't me started discussing televised worship services, where viewers are encouraged to sit at home and be passive. Sure, for those homebound, it can be a blessing, but for the rest of us, ugh.)

The problem I see with substituting on line friendships for real ones is we get used to it- and then we begin to forget the benefits on flesh and blood relationships. Just think about how our society has changed since texting replaces so much actual conversation. In my opinion and from what I've seen especially among teens, folks are forgetting how to interact appropriately as texting and Facebook both can give genuinely great people a false bravado they do not have in person. 

Do I want to go back to the "good old days"? No, but I want to encourage us to use technology wisely to the benefit not detriment of the human race.

No comments: