Friday, December 05, 2008

To Facebook or not to Facebook...that is the question.

Ok. Here is the deal. I have purposefully rebelled against Facebook. Usually, if something is cool and popular, it is an indication of that thing's lack of real value (profound, I know). I'm trying to figure out how to be a better steward of my time, so I'm not looking to add any potentional time-wasters.

However, my excellent wife recently joined Facebook. She has been telling me about all the people she has been keeping up with through Facebook (people from just about all the places we have lived and ministered). I was intrigued so I jumped on her profile and checked out all these old friends. My heart was softened. There is hope that something popular may also be valuable.

So, I need your help. Should I sign up for Facebook? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Why should I? Why should I not?

I want to hear from you (all of you!). Why do you Facebook? Why do you not Facebook.

Justin Buzzard has a helpful post on Facebook (if you are on Facebook, you should read through his outline).
Josh Harris talks about why he quit Facebook.

16 comments:

Randy said...

I think the only reason I like Facebook is because so many people I know are on it. While I may not always have the time to pick up the phone and call old friends when they're available. I can always take a minute to leave them a note on Facebook. In the last year especially I have noticed more and more friends and family joining Facebook in the last year and I probably actually waste less time on Facebook now because of that.

Anonymous said...

Justin,

For the longest time, I had the same stance against MySpace. Actually, I still do. To me, MySpace seemed kind of trashy, and just a place for people to hook up. After viewing some people's MySpace pages, I found that within just a few clicks, you could end up someplace you really didn't want to be. Besides, I have my own website, so to me MySpace seemed like a poor alternative. With Facebook, however, I found that you could actually reconnect with friends and classmates of your past, and the whole layout of Facebook looks cleaner and than MySpace. My wife created my Facebook page earlier this year (because she knew I never would), and I was able to reconnect with some people from my graduating class in high school. Through Facebook, a few of us were able to organize our 15 year high school reunion this past summer. At the reunion, I was able to share with lots of classmates all the things that God had been doing in my life since I graduated. I felt much more bold in my faith than I did while I was in high school, a regret I've wanted to correct for a long time. If I hadn't gotten on Facebook, I would have missed that opportunity. So in a way, God used Facebook to reconnect me with old classmates in order to hopefully minister to them.
In addition, I've been able to reconnect with long lost friends from around the country, from college, even some from my childhood church. My wife and I often share prayer requests and praises, and since lots of people do spend quite a bit of time on Facebook, we typically get immediate responses.
I think like anything related to the internet, you can spend way too much time on it. But the same could be said about a blog.
I really don't get into all of the things that it offers, nor do I change my status more than 1 every few weeks. I mainly just try to keep up with friends and pass on words of encouragement, or send messages to people I need to contact. You can also put pictures on there, so my close friends and family can keep up with how our daughter is doing.
In my opinion, Facebook is a better alternative than MySpace and has been a beneficial way for me to stay in touch with lots of old friends.
Hope that helps you, man. (By the way...I think I'm friends with your wife!)

Denbigh

Greg Breazeale said...

I would say NOT to do it unless you are going to update it daily or so. I am a on it, but what I have found is that it further supports the trend that we can easily be shallow with lots of people as a substitute for being deep with a few.

Also the pages tend to get really cluttered with all kinds of apps and announcements and you get constant email when anything updates.

If you were going to do it, I would say to keep your friend list small and let those people be long-distance friends or relatives you dont see on a regular basis.

That is my opinion. Its likely unbalanced.

GB

Randy said...

I'm on FB and have connected with people I haven't talked to in 10 years or more. It's pretty cool. However, it can be time consuming. If you are disciplined enough you'll be fine with it. You can regulate which notifications you get so that you won't get too many emails, but like Greg said, it can get cluttered if you don't set it right. I enjoy FB and would love to connect with you if you join.

Ken said...

Justin-
Agree with Denbigh, I have found Facebook to be a tool for ministry if used properly. It is really the only way to keep up with college students.

One word that comes to mind so that you do not go overboard is discipline.

I would recommend that you do it as I feel that you would use it as a tool for your ministry and I can be your friend again!

I am also "friends" with your wife and the Cherry's, there are the Hays' on here and many others that you can reconnect with. I think that would be encouraged as I am with your ministry!

Blessings!
Ken

mike fox said...

go for it! i can't afford a cell phone (studen't budget) & my long distance calling plan is terrible with at&t. long story short . . . facebook is free! and it's more fun than e-mail because you just see the pictures instead of trying to open files which won't open lol.

just be careful . . . it tries to become cyber-meth, seriously

Pastor Dan said...

I'm not against facebook (my wife is on it) but I haven't joined for one main reason: I already struggle with spending more time in the Word and with my family. So I'm afraid facebook would add one more temptation to neglect both. Plus, I already fight to maintain a healthy balance with my other online activities - like blog reading/posting and research.

Just my thoughts...

BoldLion said...

I am on the facebook, so that I can keep up with some of my 18 nephews and nieces, and my family, and other wonderful Christian Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

I am not using my facebook for junk but to let them know Christ Alone, and what I had been up too.

I would would add a wonderful godly link into the facebook and pray that other will read it and come to know Christ that way. Also to encourage one another in Christ too when you see that they are down.

For a bookworm like us, you can keep up what they are reading and how they rated this book or other books.

You don't have to be on it, but at least I really your wonderful blog that you are doing for Christ.

Use it for Christ Alone,
'Guerite ~ BoldLion

Aaron said...

Just like anything else, Facebook has the potential for good and evil. There are opportunities to share the gospel and opportunities to fall into temptation. So, like anything else, I would encourage you to evaluate it for yourself, follow your conscience, and with anything internet, always be purposeful with your use of it, be wary of just "surfing".

That said, I am on Facebook and have had several opportunities to share the gospel with folks, especially friends from the past. I even led one guy to the Lord through this.

As a bonus, one of my theological heroes, Rob Tombrella does it (though he doesn't often). Joshua Harris changed his mind and is back at it in full force. Many other pastors are on it. Adrian Warnock posted 8 or 9 reasons to Facebook a few days ago. So, either way, you're in good company.

Hope that helps somewhat,

Aaron

Jim said...

Pros: Catch up with old friends, keep up with current ones, getting the word out about events (it was used for "Surveying the Wondrous Cross"

Cons: Potential time-consumer, Apps are dumb (I don't use them), potential for TMI

Clif Cummings said...

I am on facebook and have connected with students from most of my previous student ministries. It is encouraging to see how many of them are committed to Christ and serve him in a local church -- and it is a prayerful concern that I have learned the struggles that many of them have gone through in their marriages.
I have used facebook for ministry use -- encouraging those who are discouraged and even having prayer request sent to me via the message system.
However - it can become a time robber - discipline and moderation is the key.

Clif

Anonymous said...

Why I like fb:
1. I have been able to catch up with friends I haven't seen in 10 years or more.
2. I can spend about 15 minutes a day on fb by posting a quick note, get a glimpse of what everyone is doing, then get back to work.
3. I keep up with what I am reading on fb -- Visual Bookshelf is a great app, but I don't use most of the 1,000+ apps available.
4. It's fun.
5. I can write short posts that substitute for my lack of a blog.
6. I have met wonderful missionaries on fb.
7. It's only time consuming if you let it be.

LisaB

cavman said...

Resistance is futile!
It can easily suck up lots of time- but only if you let it.
You can avoid the e-mail slams by setting all the e-mail notifications to 'no' under settings.
You call also refuse to participate in all the superfulous garbage (all the silly applications) that can really take up lots of time.
I'm fairly new to FB, so I'm not sure how meaningful my interaction will be with people from the way back past. But it is good to quickly see what God is doing in people's lives. It is what you make of it- like just about any of man's inventions.

Presley said...

Hey Justin,

Sorry I haven't contacted you in awhile. I'm in the midst of finals and stuff. If you were on facebook, though...haha. I gave in last year at the urging of more than a few friends here in the U.S. and it has been helpful for inviting masses to an event and honestly contacting people that I would not have ever been able to contact otherwise. Also of note is how it's helped me stay connected with friends in Southeast Asia, who, like many others seem to neglect e-mail but jump at any opportunity to get on facebook. And therein lies the danger of getting on all the time. As a measurement, I can submit to you that it is much less time consuming than Fantasy Baseball. I would also submit this, however: Don't do it. ;) You don't have to listen to me, obviously bro, but I think you would do just as well with Jeanna patrolling the facebook territory for the both of you. That said, that might not be how you run things there - you do after all have individual blogs. I do think you would save time and have your heart just as warmed if you were able to check her facebook here and there.
Just my thoughts, bro.
Love ya, man!
Peace,
Presley

Bridges said...

(Love your blog, sorry I don't comment more often.)

I joined Facebook a few months ago. I work with a lot of people who use it and thought I would just open an account so I could identify with them a little better.

After joining I was shocked at how quickly I was able to catch up with people I have not seen since high school. I have linked up with classmates, brothers and sisters in Christ from former churches and some family members I have not seen in ages.

At first, it was time consuming and, like any new thing, took up some of my time (like hours, not minutes). But after the 'settling in period' things simmered down a good bit. Now I spend about 15-20 minutes a day looking at updates and new pictures, etc... I use it as a nice way to transition into my studies in the afternoons.

I would say (if you decide to open a profile), go ahead and really enjoy it during the first few days or so. Explore, contact folks, and have a blast. Then purposely make it take a back seat. Treat it like a really good, multimedia, address book. It is always there if you want to touch base with someone. I have found that the only demands it makes are those that are self-imposed.

Blessings in Christ,

Tim

jason sessoms said...

Sounds like you are getting a lot of advice, or at least opinions. So I will only mention a few things (since there is not much more "new" insight I could offer)

For me it has worked well to create a page and then sit back and let others do most of the work. You would be surprised how many people will find you.

I rarely change anything on my profile or post updates.

But I notice many of my friends are on it tons. So, when I have posted something (ex. Surveying the Wondrous Cross) I quickly get responses from many people. (And the people who are connected to them, see their response and then check it out as well)

It has linked me back to people I would have never been able to locate. Some whom I haven't talked to in a decade or more.

So, I am with most of the other commenters... moderation.