Critical reflections on Facebook

Here are notes I made on how Facebook can be a Christian’s friend or foe from a very helpful seminar on ‘Relationships in the New Media Age’ by Neil Powell of City Church Birmingham.

Download or listen to the seminar at http://www.avenuecommunitychurch.org.uk/media/2010-05-09-PM%20Seminar%20-%20Relationships%20in%20the%20New%20Media%20Age.mp3

Facebook as a friend

Facebook can be a blessing when it is used as a tool to…

  • Keep in touch with people.
  • Reconnect with those we have lost contact with.
  • Extend face-to-face relationships.
  • Take the focus off ourselves by using it to listen to or encourage others.
  • Model a disciplined and creative Christian life to others.
  • Model a critical and reflective life by sharing our thoughts on the culture we are consuming (books, films, music etc.)
  • Do evangelism.
  • Promote events.
  • Build community.
  • Research trends and sharpen teaching e.g. by finding out what people are reading and watching.
  • Support and encourage church mission partners whom we can’t meet face-to-face.

Facebook as a foe

Ways in which the use of Facebook can damaging:

Time

  • By encouraging procrastination.
  • By encouraging ill-discipline e.g. staying up late at night messing about instead of being asleep.
  • By encouraging addictive usage of the Internet.

Relationships

  • Flirting – easy way to sin? Lust? Leading others on?
  • Using our Facebook profiles to project an image that is not a true representation of who we are.
  • By encouraging inappropriate intimacy and voyeurism – why should we view photo albums of people we hardly know? Why should we ‘listen in’ on others’ wall-to-wall conversations?
  • Public exclusion – everyone knows who is a ‘friend’, or who has not been invited to an event.

Virtue of humility

  • Encourages narcissism (‘look what I’ve done’, or ‘see how many friends I have’) instead of humility.

Celebration of trivial and superficial

  • Generally a bad medium for heart-to-heart conversations which require intimacy and extended discourse.
  • Lack of accountability if we hide behind numerous superficial relationships instead of investing in a few good friends who will keep us accountable.

The way it weakens our thinking

  • Encourages ‘sound bite’ sized thinking to the detriment of reflective thought and the art of communicating an extended argument e.g. the ability to write a good letter.

If you’ve found this helpful, be sure to listen to the whole seminar (link above).

May12

2 Responses to “Critical reflections on Facebook”

  1. sounds v good mark!

  2. Thanks a lot for this Mark, really helpful. Hope the last month of Relay goes well! Blessings bro

Leave a Reply