Facebook – A Shallow Replacement For Human Interaction

Fresh off my hiatus from Facebook (which didn’t last as long as a Lenten fast ought to) I’m seeing the reason for my return – the lack of interaction with friends and family – seems to be somewhat… misguided. I see blurbs of words that seem to not make sense to me. I see thoughts that, while potentially coherent, are often no more than incomplete. Incomplete… Yes. That’s the best way to describe Facebook as an interaction utility. However, as a wise bard once penned, “A little bit is better than nada.”

I see a glimmer of hope in a Facebook post. But then I can’t connect the thought to anything in my brain. No way to bring depth to it, to add context to it, to help me see how that makes you, well, you. I want the good stuff, the deep stuff. The stuff that keeps you awake at night. I want the real you. All of you. And nothing but the you. I scream out, “Don’t hold back!” – to some, to others I plead, “Hold your tongue!”

In my experiences away from the Facebook, I discovered that connections had to be intentional and personal. I reached out to several “Facebook friends” during my time away, via private message. Often the initial “What’s up?” or “How’s it going?” was met with a “Not much. You?” Conversations were attempted and sometimes achieved. It still wasn’t enough.

One friend in particular, whom I missed our shallow Facebook-sized acknowledgement of existence, I messaged and then ended up meeting up with. I got to meet his fiancee, we ate a meal together, and talked for hours. We talked about life, love, and purpose – good stuff. God stuff. The visit was over far too soon and left me wanting more. That visit was a major contributing factor in my return to Facebook… Which I’ve found underwhelming after having had the real thing.

What is this? Why is this on a “God” blog? Because “being family”, “doing life together”, and all the other little maxims we spew to each other on the pew is not able to be done (right) in blurbs. Yes, it keeps us connected, but only on the thinnest, weakest thread; attempting to bind me together with my 408 “friends” – most of which I have not contacted directly in years.

Facebook is a lot like church: we only tell people what we think they can handle, we offer very little of our real selves, we only get involved as far as we’re comfortable with the people we call “church family,” and most of us don’t do anything more than show up and critique what others put out there of themselves. This is not the way the Church should be. The Church (notice the capital “C” now) is an entity, a body, a living organism. We are members, as Paul described, as an arm is to our human bodies – each of us unique and necessary.

I urge you to get off your blurb and (for real) connect with one person today. Start with a personal message or two if that’s what it takes, but make a real connection. It doesn’t have to be an IRL (in real life), physical connection, but make sure it is deeper than the typical Facebook interaction. Really be there for someone today. Really put yourself out there for the sake of someone else – no walls or hard hearts to hide behind, just open and honest. And make sure it lasts for longer than it takes to scroll through a few days worth of their posts and think you know all about what they are going through.

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