Journeyman Project Dispatches from the Life of Patrick Fowler: Christianity Explored

10Mar/090

Online Social Networking, Part 1: On Facebook…

While I am not an expert on social networking, it appears to me that there are conflicting understandings of the use of Facebook within the church. Why is it that church people assume that people join Facebook in order to create a vain image for themselves online?

I'm certainly not a part of Facebook in order to see any sort of celebrity status. I'm a part of it because it gives me a window into the lives of people that I have a relational connection with all over the country. Since I have moved to Dallas, it has been my main point of contact to know what is going on in the lives of my friends from that city. In the past 6 months, those "silly" status updates have allowed me to celebrate and contribute to lives of people who have purchased homes, signed up to lead missions trips, and had children. It allows me to recognize birthdays and encourage ministers. It tailors my prayers for my sister, who recently moved to Nashville to pursue a career.

Would another technology have allowed me to have such a knowledge of my friends and family? I think not. Sure a phone call is more personal. An email is more direct. And no one would consider me vain for sending a text message. But they're just not effective in establishing widespread communications.

I think if we wish to attack technology for allowing expressions of vanity, we would do much better to focus our attention on internet portals like MySpace, Second Life, and online gaming. They allow for a lot more expression concerning our sinful drive for celebrity status and superiority over others.

What do you think???

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