Friday, July 12, 2013

Facebook Reflections...Some Things I Really Don't "Like"

I absolutely LOVE facebook. If I didn't, I wouldn't be on it so much. One day, I will do a post on what I love about it. But what was on my mind today was what I just don't "like" about facebook.

And usually when I'm reflecting like this, I'm feeling convicted about my own behavior. I have certainly needed a learning curve myself after these 4 years or so on "fb." I've said too much, been passive aggressive, put my political and personal views out there a little too aggressively, used fb to market businesses instead of building friendships, used fb to spy on people, have "friended" people from my past that I shouldn't have and have even had inappropriate conversations. I've gossiped, I've chatted inappropriately and I've not always been kind, thoughtful or considerate.

I've learned a lot of lessons the hard way.

And I know I'm not the only one.

Facebook can be a tool for good, or a tool for evil.

And whether we like it or not (or even see it), facebook is an extension of our tongue. When we type it and put it out there, it really is just like we strapped on a megaphone and blasted it all out on the loudspeaker of the world!

I've just observed so much nastiness over the years on facebook. A great deal of it comes from people who just don't know any better, but unfortunately, a lot of it has come from the people who DO know better (or who are supposed to at least) and are supposed to be the most full of love....the Christians. It breaks my heart to see my brothers and sisters get sucked into the drama and ugliness that can come from "social networking." And I've seen what damage it can do.

So here are a few of my VERY OPINIONATED views of what I see and don't like about facebook.

You immature people who are easily offended? Read at your own risk. :)

Passive Aggressiveness. 
Either be passive, or be aggressive. But don't be both. It's obnoxious. If you really do have a problem with someone, tell them in a private message or call them. Don't blast your nonsense all over facebook. It's nauseating.

The false sense that you really know these people you call, "friends."
This is proven when you actually see them in person and there's a weird awkwardness. Have you ever encountered this?  You spend so much time with people on facebook that you know the names of their kids, you know the last time they had a sandwich, you know if they're having marital problems, you know if they're happy, sad, lonely, angry, on vacation, where they are (if they "check in") throughout the day, you know their dreams, their accomplishments, their disappointments, their financial situations and their opinion on every issue under the sun. You know them like you do your best friend. Yet when you actually encounter them in person, in a real human way, there's such a disconnect, it's palpable. You know them, but you don't really KNOW them. I would love for someone to do a study on this. If you know of one, let me know. I'd love to read it.

I don't like knowing so much about people.
I really do believe in the old saying, "Ignorance is bliss," because I had a whole lot more love and respect for people before facebook (one of the reasons I often consider deleting my account on a daily basis and gettin' off of there). Now that we post about (I said "we" cuz I do it too) anything and everything we think, feel, see, taste, touch or smell and put it out there for the world to see, the world then forms an opinion of us that can not be undone.

I hate that I've lost real-life friends as a direct result of facebook
Yes, this is the worst one. Whether it be misunderstandings, or just how loose we've become with our words because we are in the comfort of our homes, behind the mask of a computer screen, how we talk to each other and about each other on facebook can and does affect our real life friendships, or can even burn bridges to those not-so-close friends. In my own facebook experience, my feelings have been hurt, trust and confidence has been damaged and one or two dear friendships have been lost. I was even "deleted" by one of my dearest and closest friends, while they maintained a "friend" status with my own husband. Ouch. So be careful out there. If you have a beef with a real-life friend, don't use facebook to hash it out because there can always be misunderstandings in what you write, as they can't hear the inflection of your voice, your tone, or the heart or meaning behind what you're trying to say. USE THE PHONE people (to talk, not to text)! Looking back, I wish I had.

I hate that facebook is becoming less and less private. 
Facebook changes their privacy settings  all the time. One minute you are only seeing your friends posts on your news feed, the next minute you see the friends of friends and their likes, comments, and shares. Everyone can pretty much see everything. It makes me question just what I should be putting out there and makes me cherish all the more my anonymity...if there is such a thing anymore.

I hate knowing what cowards people can be.
People have a whole lot to say and can say it as fast as their little fingers can type. But if actually confronted with the person they were blasting, they would NEVER say the things they do on facebook. To me, this is one of the most cowardly things I've ever seen...blasting people online, behind closed doors from your little laptop but being too chicken to actually tell them to their face. What a big, bad person you are! But we all know the truth. You are a coward. So please, think before you type. A good rule is, if you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't "say" it on facebook. And by the way...nobody's impressed.

My BIGGEST pet peeve about facebook! When "friends" don't use balance.
When "friends" you NEVER hear from EVER, all of a sudden show up in your comments and blast you when they disagree with you about something or just want to throw in their two cents but they never have anything positive or pleasant to say about anything else you post, it just really irritates me. A few months ago, I posted a perfectly innocent question about what readers thought about the topic of pastors going to see movies that were rated R and contained nudity, graphic sexual situations, extreme language and extreme violence. I asked this because I had seen several pastors post that they had seen a certain movie that was out at the time (rated R and known to be particularly bad) and they had shared different reactions to it...some LOVED it and some had to get up and leave because they felt so uncomfortable with the language, violence and nudity. I didn't offer an opinion, only posed the question, "What do you think?" And to my disappointment, people who I consider real friends came out of the wood works and I began getting those passive aggressive comments about how judgmental I was being and how it was really none of my business (and this has happened in other instances as well). I absolutely welcome good discussion and even disagreements. I love to hear all sides on an issue, and let people freely discuss in the comments (unless they start personally attacking each other, then I start deleting). But when people I know in real life NEVER make other comments on things I post, never "like" anything, never have anything nice to say or show any interest in me or my daughter or my husband or what I'm doing in my life, they never send a personal message just to say hi or offer any kind of encouragement, but they find it absolutely necessary to show up when they have something negative to say? I'm sorry. That just really disappoints me. You see, there has to be balance. Go ahead and disagree with me...even in a very spirited way, I'm up for it! Let's have a good discussion, or even a disagreement in love. But don't do it if you have no other relationship with me on facebook....especially if we know each other on a personal level in real life. Or if you think I'm out of line on something, and we're actually friends in real life, send me a personal message or better yet, MAKE A PHONE CALL. Have that discussion if you need to get something off your chest. But blasting friends in the comments section has nothing to do with "love." It really has nothing to do with real friendship either. If you don't have anything nice to say, just don't say anything at all. You really have no right to if there's no balance elsewhere.

I REALLY hate "pokes." 
They're just creepy. I guess I just don't get what they mean. I envision someone poking me in the rib or something like boys would do in middle school to be obnoxious. And that's another interesting point. I've never gotten a "poke" from a woman on facebook...only from men. I guess you boys just don't grow out of it.

When people blast others for their kids' behavior or try to tell others how to raise their kids.
Sure I've had my fair share of nasty things to say about kids (generally at the McDonald's play place!), but just lay off of how your facebook friends raise their kids. Do you not remember how hard it was for you to keep your own little darlings in line? And do you not have a memory about your own adolescent years? Don't you remember how obnoxious you were as a teenager or how you talked with your friends? Unfortunately the kids today have grown up with social media, so they don't know how not to act or talk on facebook (unless their parents are standing over them and scrutinizing every single personal feeling is kids and teenagers shouldn't even have facebook pages for the very reason that they just aren't mature enough yet and often don't have a filter on their precious little mouths. But more importantly not for what they do, but for what others do that we can't protect them from...but that's my own opinion. You are perfectly capable of deciding what's best for your own child, and you will never hear a word fr om me on that on facebook...I promise). Don't you remember what a lying bully you were when you 3 way called a friend to get her to gossip about the other girl you had on the line? Don't you remember writing mean notes and passing them in class? Well, these kids do it too, they just do all their stuff out in front of God and everybody! It's a shame, but it's just the way it is. And it's just not "kids today." Kids have always been immature and acted foolishly since the beginning of time. So lighten up you hateful grownup. If you have a problem with someone or their kids, go to them in person like the mature, responsible adult you are.

People expect you to be there for them and get mad when you're not.
And this goes back to what I said earlier about having a false sense of "friendship." Facebook "friends" really aren't your friends. Facebook is a virtual world, and you live in the real world. You may have a few honest-to-goodness real life friends who happen to be your friend on facebook. But the other 1,132? They aren't your friends. So don't take it personally or hold them accountable when they're not there for you.  When you're going through a tough time and you're not flooded with messages, comments, etc, you begin to feel like no one cares. Then you rant about how no one really cares about you all over facebook. And let's just get real for a second. We only do that for attention, right? Seriously. You know you do. Before facebook, when you went through a tough time (when your cat died or your car got broken into or you had the flu or your spouse lost their job) were you flooded with calls, visits from friends, letters of encouragement, cards, notes? The answer is, "NO." You weren't. Because in real life, there are always going to be only a handful of people who reach out in love and show they care, if that many. That's just the way it is. People are people. They are not perfect...and the world does not revolve around you. So why on facebook, do you expect people to be any different or expect everyone to notice you? Only now, when you feel alone and disappointed, you blast it out for the world to see. If you get a few comments or messages, count yourself lucky and know you're loved whether or not anyone seems to notice. Take your hurts and disappointments to God. He always notices, He always cares, and He's always there. He's always the PERFECT friend!

I have a lot of beefs about how Christians use are a few.

Christians who hold their unsaved "facebook friends" to some kind of holy standard.
I mostly see this from "baby Christians" (as the Apostle Paul would call them). Because if you were a grownup in Christ, you would have more grace for the lost and less "SMH" kind of judgement toward them and you wouldn't blast them on ill-thought-out facebook posts. If you have friends on facebook who curse in their posts, say lewd things, have political views that you don't agree with, post pics of themselves in a lifestyle that doesn't sit well with you or offends you, just HIDE THEM! I get don't want to see all that mess every day. So get it out from in front of you. But what you don't do is go on some self-righteous rant about how awful it is that some people (I just know that when I see that phrase "some people," there's always some sort of self-righteous nonsense coming after it, Have you ever noticed that?) don't know how to act on facebook. But what do you expect? Did you know how to act before Christ? Of course you didn't. So why are you now so uptight toward your friends and family who don't know Jesus? The only difference between them and you is the cross. Only by the grace of God did you have a moment of clarity and saw your sin and asked Jesus to forgive you. So now, it's your job to PRAY for those people who just don't know yet...not judge and criticize them. How 'bout the next time you see a friend or family member cussin' and carryin' on in a facebook post, you send them a private message, or better yet, CALL THEM up and invite them to lunch or over to your house for a cookout or have their family over for game night or something. Develop a real relationship with them and pray for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom about when to invite them to church or talk to them about Jesus. BE A LIGHT to people and BE the love of Christ....not the person standing with the crowd with a big stone in their hand.

Christians who blast other Christians.
These posts usually start off with, "I can't believe some Christians..." Or they are mad about something or how someone treated them and they spew out, "....and they're supposed to be a Christian." Or, "Well, I know I'm not perfect, but I would NEVER do that!" Well there, you just said it. You're not perfect. So why do you hold someone else to such a standard? You may not have done that particular thing you're mad about, but you've done many other REALLY bad things, or thought about doing REALLY bad things and you know it. If you had any love in your heart, you'd forgive and COVER that person's transgression, not blast their wrong all over facebook just to make yourself look better or feel better.

1 Peter 4:8 says, 
"Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins."

"Most important of all" folks. Love will actually cover up what somebody did so that no one else ever finds out about it....and love will do it over and over again. You are the embodiment of "LOVE." If you are a Christian, you are "in" Jesus Christ! So love your brother or sister like He did. If they wrong you or you disagree with something they did or are doing, go to them like a grown up and have a conversation about it. Take up for them to others. Pray for them. Blasting your brothers and sisters on facebook does none of these things, and it certainly isn't pleasing to Christ who died for so much more than this pettiness. 

Christians with big mouths.
Do you know why there's literally hundreds of scriptures in the Bible on taming your tongue? Because God knows how destructive it can be and warns us over and over again to get it under control. So if you know you have an issue with this, and you just can't keep your mouth shut, and you're a Christian, you should probably delete your facebook account until you can learn to keep your hateful, spiteful, gossiping, whining, bickering, complaining mouth closed. Because you make the rest of us look bad and you're doing more damage to the body of Christ than you can imagine. And keep in mind, the Bible says that on judgment day, you (I) will be judged on every word, and that means the words that you are typing with your little fingers too. Remember what Jesus said about, "...if your right hand offends you, cut it off?" Kinda like that, but with facebook.

Sourpuss Christians on facebook
Again, if you're a Christian and a great big sour-puss, just do us all a favor and delete your account. You never have anything nice to say. You're easily ticked off, you are offended by the least little thing and you are harsh and critical to everyone. You are the person who has those venomous things to say when you don't agree with someone's politics. You are the one who is always griping and complaining about their job, how they feel, how tired they are, how depressed they are, how crappy the world is, how badly folks are treating you. You complain about bratty teenagers and have a mouthful to say about how people (especially Christians) should be raising their kids (when everyone knows your kids are the biggest brats of all). You never post about the beauty in things, you never have any encouraging words or anything nice at all to say to anyone else. If there was a "dislike" button on facebook, your finger would be sore from hitting it so much. You're just a sourpuss and you make the world a whole lot uglier. If you are a Christian (and I would pray about that if I were you), pray and ask Jesus how to start showing LOVE and ask Him to fill you with more JOY. Ask Him to help you see the world and people the way HE does. And for heaven's sake, get off of facebook with all your hatefulness 'til you and Jesus do get your sourpuss-self under control.

Christians who don't do anything but preach on facebook.
I know this one is going to be controversial and might ruffle some feathers, but let me explain....
I post A LOT of scriptures. I LOVE putting the word of God out there when He shows me something cool from the Bible that was a benefit for me, and generally, it's a benefit or encouragement to others (because they tell me so). And I talk about God A LOT! He is the greatest part of my life, so of course I would talk about Him on facebook. But if you ONLY post Bible stuff on your personal page all day, every day, people start to glaze over. Why? Because facebook is a "social network." It is a place where you get to know each other and socialize. If the only people you want to socialize with are other Bible posters, then you guys make a group page and post all day long about how much Bible you know. Like I said, the rest of us just scroll right past your bombardment of "scripture posts." If you are interacting with us on other personal levels, then when you do post something about the Bible, we are much more inclined to perk up and read it. But if we've never related to you, how do you expect us to relate to what you have to say about God? So Christian friend, don't keep yourself in a box. Interact with us! Comment on our posts, tell us your opinions on some worldly stuff (restaurants, sports teams, places you've visited, tv shows, movies), show us your personality a little, lighten up. Post pics of your family, your kids, your grand kids. Show us you have a life just like we do and that we can relate to you. Friendship is about relationships and other people. Preaching on facebook all the time is just about you.

So there you have it, some of my greatest pet peeves about facebook. Feel free to comment below. I respect what you have to say, whether I agree with it or not. But please keep your comments kind and respectful. Anything else will just be deleted. :)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you were on a roll- you should feel much better after unloading all that! haha :)
    Lots of truth in there!


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