Is Facebook Making You Miserable?
I have been on Facebook for several years now, and it has served a great purpose in connecting with many friends and family around the world in ways that otherwise not be possible. Furthermore, there are many members of Grace on Facebook, making it another venue in which to communicate with one another.
Having said that, I think it is necessary to ask some important questions about ourselves in relation to our usage of Facebook. One particular question I regularly examine myself is: “Am I interacting with a fellow member of my church family on Facebook but not in real life?” In other words, there is a real danger in think that Facebook community is real community. It is not. But we can make it a substitution for flesh and blood community where life is shared.
Along these lines, Tim Challies has written an important article related to online community and the local church. In it, he explains how Facebook is making us miserable. Here’s an excerpt:
We log on to Facebook, look through the photographs and status messages our friends post, and believe that everyone is happier and more successful than we are. And when I have spoken to friends and family members who have considered giving up Facebook, this is exactly the reasoning they have given. They look at other people and feel miserable in comparison.
What an interesting phenomenon. It seems clear that Facebook is exposing something, some ugly little corner of the human heart. Facebook is all about making life seem joyful—we “like” one another’s happy status updates, not the sad ones; we post photos of our parties, not our funerals; we use it to celebrate births and marriages and new relationships, not to mourn deaths or remember break-ups. Facebook is meant to be a happy place for happy people. But it doesn’t seem to work out so well. We all think everyone else is happy, but we don’t feel the joy.
I encourage you to read the whole thing. As believers, we should think deeply about our employments (or to use the old school word “deportment”) in everyday life, including (or especially) Facebook.