How you use your time is a great indicator of where your priorities lie. And sadly, I’ve realized that more and more of my time is being spent on Facebook. It’s really pretty remarkable, actually–I could spend hours and hours and hours just browsing different peoples’ profiles, looking at new photos, and generally poking my nose into other peoples’ social lives. Hours of my life!
Given that time reflects priorities, I decided to consider just what this Facebook addiction says about me. And let me tell you, the results are not pretty. First, it reflects a general lack of efficiency with my schedule. God gives me 24 hours every day to serve Him and know Him more, yet I decide to waste a percentage of that time stalking other people on Facebook. And it’s not like I’m even spending quality time with other people. Facebook is a quick and dirty way to know what’s going on with your friends without actually investing in any quality time with them. It’s a kind of pseudo-friendship in which you get the information with none of the commitment.
But in addition to this colossal waste of time, it is also very easy to compromise your witness. What is interesting about Facebook is that it enables people to watch your every move, which is detrimental to our witness if we are inconsistent with our Christian behavior. If your Facebook friends look at your pictures, then they can see how you spend your time and who you spend it with. They can also look at the conversations that you have with people on your walls. Previously, these parts of our lives were largely private, but now they are public, which means that our private sins and indiscretions are made public as well.
For instance, you may have a friend with whom you are extremely sarcastic, perhaps even prone to tell off-color jokes around. Within the context of your friendship, these interactions may seem pretty harmless, but if you post that joke on their wall, then suddenly everyone is a part of the dialogue, even though they don’t know the context. In this way, Facebook should heighten our sense of personal holiness because we have the whole world watching. Unfortunately, it often does not. I have still made jokes or posted pictures that seemed innocent to me, but might have called into question the integrity of my witness without knowing the context. You think no one is watching, but trust me, they are.
In addition to what I have already listed, there are numerous other pitfalls that I have discovered about Facebook. It is easy to let your imagination get carried away if you have a crush on a guy and then watch his every profile move. It is also easy to be passive aggressive on Facebook. If you like a guy and want to stake out your territory, you can post flirtatious messages on his wall or post pictures of the two of you together so that other people know. People can also be manipulative with the statuses that they leave on their profiles–perhaps trying to evoke attention or sympathy.
All in all, I don’t think that Facebook is a bad thing in and of itself. I am not going to now abandon Facebook or “fast” from Facebook or anything like that. I am, however, simply writing this for the purpose of making you think. How are you using your time, and what does it say about you? Because Facebook has become a sub-culture of some sort, how are you interacting with this culture? Are you interacting in a way that reflects an uncompromising commitment to Christ? If your religious status makes some bold statement about how you’re “running hard after the Lord,” or “loving the One who first loved us” then the way you behave on Facebook should reflect it.