Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Facebook sure receives it's share of bad press.  From hackers, to privacy violations, to causing a spike in divorces due to infidelity, one would wonder why you would even log on to such a site.  I guess I have a much different opinion of it though; but as with anything, it is what you make of it.

When I first joined Facebook, some five or six years ago, it was at the request of a youth volunteer.  I considered it a good networking tool but didn't really use it much in the beginning.  When my teenager mentioned creating a Myspace page, my mom alerts went off and we had a few lengthy discussions.  I decided to join and become his "friend" so that I could keep a watchful eye on him.  I quickly learned that Myspace was a little more youthful than I could pull off though and migrated to the world of Facebook. 

At first, I mostly kept my "friends" list to family but soon branched out to work friends and volunteers, which then led to church friends and school friends, and haven't seen in awhile friends, which inevitably led to I-know-you-because-you-know-this-friend friend.  And, after losing Austin, my friend requests exploded from adding his friends, teachers, and other connections.  Now, I feel like I have this global link to a world of friendships at my fingertips.

I'll be the first to admit that it can be a huge waste of time, if you let it.  I tiptoed in "Farmtown" long enough to see that when a game takes as long or longer to maintain than planting and caring for an actual garden, it wasn't for me.  I soon began blocking or ignoring any and all game requests, well, except for Scrabble!  I quickly stopped taking quizzes or any of the other time wasters, also because a large majority of them include viruses.  Now, I truly only use it to connect with others.

I use Facebook for a variety of reasons.  It's a quick and easy way to stay connected to our entire family, even those we don't see regularly.  I'm able to keep everyone in the loop with one quick message but also really able to connect with each of them individually, see photos, hear about their days, etc.  I catch up with school friends that honestly without this site, would probably only talk to every 10 years at the reunion, if I even went.  I love that it allows me to form deeper relationships with my volunteers because I get a snapshot of their personal lives and can share in their experiences.  It's a wonderful networking tool because I can communicate about our organization and connect with those facing cancer.  There's probably more things I enjoy doing with Facebook but what I love most is being able to unite with other faithful friends. 

My grandpa was a preacher and I remember the days of the telephone tree.  If someone was sick or in need of prayer, one could pick up the phone and begin the course of calls. I can picture my grandma at the kitchen table, recording the information before she called her next person on the list.   Or, one could wait until Sunday and mention it in church.  With Facebook, within seconds of posting, there's a flock of faithful friends ready to bow their heads in prayer.  I'm honored to take time out of my day to pray for a friend in need and in doing so, have found myself in more constant prayer and conversation with God than ever before.  I've witnessed it's positive power and I've felt the effects personally as friends have prayed for me and my family.  As such, I've nicknamed Facebook...Prayerbook.

Aside from the powerful connection to a praying resource, it's public.  It's a source of witnessing and as the status messages go out, it's a positive way for us to connect others to God.  I know I have friends on there that may be lost and need to see it.  Maybe they'll never step foot in a church, or even pick up a Bible, but they are getting a piece of Him and reading how faith changes things.  Maybe it lifts them up, just when they needed to see it most.  The knowledge of this certainly makes me take pause before typing in my status most days.  My positive comment may be the only one someone reads that day.  In a world filled with negativity and bad news, we all need joyful doses of encouragement.  I know I look forward to seeing posts from inspiring friends.  It's what keeps me logging into Prayerbook....or Facebook, as most people call it.


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