One thing is for certain…In this age of technology everyone on Facebook is somewhat computer literate. In this technological age we text via cell phones, we email, blog, we have twitter and vast other connections and resources in this electronic wonderland in which we live. The concept of friendship is two-fold in this new electronic social age: it is both expanded and retracted as some friendships are trivialized while others are expanded into far reaching corners of the world as we connect via the internet.
I have almost 10,000 Facebook friends on my various pages. And by Facebook standards that is a few, but in no ways remarkable as there are many people with hundreds of thousands of friends through their various pages. It is easy to recognize that a close one –on- one personal relationship is impossible on such a large-scale. Many times we are inundated with too much information from various friends and acquaintances. Information such as your removal of your hemorrhoids is really not information that we all need to know. On the other hand I find it a blessing and an honor to be able to see prayer requests and to be able to pray with those in need online.
Even though Facebook helps us keep track of all our FB “friends”, it is literally impossible to keep track of such a large volume of humanity. I currently set my FB page to Top News and was amazed at how much I was missing when I set it to Most Recent yesterday. I will admit it is a bit overwhelming trying to keep up with the events that are taking place in thousands of different FB friends lives, but I have also found a tremendous blessing seeing God work in so many lives, in so many places, in so many different ways. I have been amazed at seeing the hand of God in Africa, the Middle East, and South America etc…
I will admit that friendship has been defined in most of my life with those that I have had personal contact with, but there are new definitions of friendship to be discovered now and in the dispensations to come as the electronic and human elements are molded together via electronic airways across the planet. There are connections that are now possible, that use to only be a figment of one’s imagination. As we hear and read about tragedies that are affecting people across the world, we are able to hear from those same people in real-time and lift them up before the throne of grace as they are facing trials and hardship.
I have read many writers that theorize that social networking disembodies friendship. I tend to disagree with that perception, as we are still able to connect on a personal level one on one with those around us on a daily basis. But there is a new aspect to friendship that is being redefined even as you read this for the age in which we live. I have found that it is important to make sure that who you are in person does not change from the friend you talk to every day , where you live, to the Facebook friend you talk to online in India.
Social network sites such as FB enable us to create self-portraits for others to see. We are able to show and define ourselves as we wish to be seen by others. These self-portraits we paint can expose truths and hide faults, they can clarify who we are or they can distort the truth. They offer the opportunity for us to express ourselves either in egotism or modesty. There are some that have a habit of enhancing or exaggerating their own importance, power, reputation, while yet others practice making themselves seem silly, funny and humble to show others that they have a humorous attitude towards themselves.
The digital self-portraits we create here on FB are crafted and created from pixels and not from paint. We invite our interactive FB friends to look at and respond to the life we portray ourselves online. We create our FB personalities to find and share friendship, love, and that ambiguous modern electronic thing called the internet connection. Like an artist that perfects his canvas, we constantly we change, update, and tweak our online information. Favorite scriptures, prayers, videos and quotes all clamor for our attention—and it is the timeless human desire for contact and interaction that is the theme of this online digital gallery.
As Christians we must use these new technological advances to the glory of our Lord and as a benefit to the Body of Christ. We must consider what type of behavior we encourage and display on FB. We must define who we are, and where we belong.
The Word of God encourages us to seek the truth about ourselves, about our faith, and about who we are in our walk with the Lord. Today, in this electronic digital showcase where we are on display to the whole world, may I urge you show yourself to others as you would show yourself before your God. I believe to be a friend even on Facebook, we have to be genuine. I believe to share our faith and help others, we have to be genuine. I have learned this myself, as I have been able to share the shame of some of my past online and in my blogs, and the Lord has used it to both heal me and help others.
So be yourself: honestly and truthfully online. Sometimes it is easy just to one click and “un-friend” someone who disagrees with our point of view. Let the Spirit of God guide you. Let who you really are shine forth as the Lord is glorified in your words and deeds in this digital world. Let the Holy Spirit mold your high-tech heart to be in tune with Christ that you may be able to find a more meaningful deeper commitment to both God and your fellow-man in this multitasking, split-screening, IM’ing, posting, and liking culture here on Facebook.