I joined Facebook in July of 2008 after a colleague of mine told me it was like “MySpace for adults.” I was immediately enthralled with the ability to reconnect with old friends I thought I would never hear from again. Staying in touch with people I care about is the main reason I continue to stick with it.
Somewhere along the way, however, Facebook became less fun. There is a meme that sums it up for me. “I used to wonder what it would be like to read people’s minds. Then I got Facebook and now I am over it.” Two of the primary culprits are people’s political opinions and their “faith” stances. I have grown weary of people sharing their about their candidate and also asking me to click if I love Jesus. That and telling everyone who they think is going to hell this week.
It used to be considered a social maxim that one does not openly discuss politics or religion in polite company. There must be something about a keyboard and screen that makes people cast aside this sage wisdom. I want to scream “To what end are you doing this?” Has anyone ever in the history of history changed their political stance based on someone’s opinion? The same is true with how people cram their religious views down people’s throats. This usually comes in the form of shouting from some moral high ground. I somehow doubt anyone’s “status” has ever brought someone to the Lord.
So the thing that was intended to bring us together is now often a wedge. The court of public opinion gets played out ad nausem on a regular basis whether it is debating the shooting of a gorilla, the flying of the rebel flag or who can wee wee where. I think part of the problem is because we call these platforms “social media” people think “media” means their opinions are somehow national news. People are now broadcasting the kinds of rants that used to be reserved for their poor kids after they were three beers into watching the evening news.
I am also dismayed at how quickly things escalate into name calling and “de-friending” and general rudeness if there are disagreements. Even if Facebook or other social media were intended as some kind of political forum, it seems there is no genuine discourse these days. It’s all or nothing.
As far as religion goes, if you really want to use social media as a means of evangelism, try demonstrating love of “enemy” to the world instead of condemning whole groups of people who do not think like you do. Jesus said to work on the log in your own eye instead of the speck in someone else's anyway. Everybody step back, take it down a notch and lighten up, Francis. It's easy if you try. So imagine this blog goes viral and everyone who reads it heeds my advice and the world will live as one.