What does your Facebook page tell others about you? Mine didn’t say much until I got drawn – Zuckered – in to using it! As great as it is, though, some common traps can undermine Facebook’s benefits. It’s not that there’s necessarily much to be ashamed of in the postings (hopefully), but how much do we mention things that really matter? Have you considered whether your Facebook page presents you in the best light? Here’s a few considerations.
- What can the ‘right’ people see? There’s posts we want to enjoy with our friends, but what do these reveal about what is really important to us? It is interesting to find mentions of the enjoyment of alcohol by people with a Christian faith, for example, but what does the consistent absence of any hint of a passionate faith then say about that mention of the alcohol to friends? What should the balance be when our wall is our witness? It is the sum-total of our posts that is worth reflecting on from time to time. Is there, perhaps, any merit in considering what the least connected of our friends understands our life to consist of? Is there any merit for Christians in considering how to better impact others with choice comments about significant milestones that honour and magnify the God we serve? [Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth (or the wall) speaks (Matthew 12:34)].
- What can the ‘wrong’ people see? Are you OK with your grandparents or your current boss (or future one) following your digital footprint? It’s often easy to forget exactly who is still seeing your posts, too, long after you have forgotten who you’ve signed up in the mad scramble to rack up the followers! Also, should conflict really be sorted out online? Surely not if others can see, but probably not at all. 2 John 12 and also 3 John 13-14 speak of the value of face-to-face conversation and Matthew 18:15 also affirms the importance of it being private. Online reporting of our run-ins often leaks emotion and seeks sympathy, but actually does damage in the process. [A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness (Proverbs 12:23)].
- What should no-one see? I just don’t have time to waste following sordid postings that run people down or promote gossip. I love to see friends’ newsworthy updates and to stay in touch with people I wouldn’t often catch up with. However, as a Facebook user, I have the power of discernment to decide what I shouldn’t or won’t look at, or share, or put on my wall for everyone else to see. What about you? [Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things (Philippians 4:8).]
Of course, Facebook pages are also a helpful means of promotion of interests, causes and businesses. The risk is, though, that general saturation with excess can desensitise us to the value of this medium. (Is every second video link really “jaw-dropping”?) Perhaps, when Zuckerberg adds a ‘dislike’ button, that’ll spice things up again!