5 years old. 132 million visitors per month. 14 million photos uploaded daily. More than 175 million active users worldwide. Net worth estimated between 3.75 and 5 billion dollars.
Welcome to Facebook. With over 33,000 applications, Facebook has become much more than a social networking site. You can email. You can chat. You can send invitations out for a party. You can buy gifts for your friends. You can play chess with a friend on another continent. You can share photos with your friends from your vacation destination. You can keep track of friends’ birthdays. You can share favorite music, books, TV shows, and movies. You can post your profile. And the list goes on…
Recently, I have had conversations with a few people about the value of Facebook. I have been asked why I am on Facebook. Why not use regular email? Why not pick up the phone and call your friend? Do I really want my friends tagging me in photographs and putting them on the Internet for everyone to see?
While these may seem like simple questions to answer, I began pondering my motivation for being on Facebook. These are a few of the questions that came to mind: Am I looking for something or someone in particular? Do I feel a need to be or stay connected to my friends and family? Should I really be spending time looking at pictures of my friends, reading their favorite quotes, checking out their profile, or reading what others have written on their wall? Was I just sort of hanging out online waiting for someone to notice me?
And then it hit me. It isn’t so much why people logon to Facebook as why people stay on for hours at a time. Each of us wants to love and be loved; each of us notices our friends and wants to be noticed; and each of us yearns to feel that deep connection with another person, family member, friend, organization, and even with God. I found myself evaluating my own sense of connection. If I spent the majority of my time and effort pursuing human connections, there would always be disappointments and surprises, ups and downs. If, however, I began my day connecting with God first, then there was no way that I could feel disconnected from anything at any time. Do you feel a connection to God?
Imagine getting an invitation from God to be your friend. Of course you want God to be your friend! Would everyone click on the “confirm” button instantly or might there be some hesitation? Maybe you wouldn’t want God looking at some of your photos. Perhaps you might feel less significant being friends with someone whose friends’ count is unfathomably large. But God wants to be your friend.
Despite your reservations, you click “confirm”. You go to God’s page and before you finish reading the first wall post, the page reloads, and there are more postings thanking God for Her greatness, kindness, and infinite Love. The more you read, the more you understand who God is and what God is doing for individuals all over the world. Feeling motivated, you post your own message on God’s wall thanking Her for your daily bread.
As you do so, you feel God’s presence surrounding you, and you suddenly feel a connection that is unlike anything you have ever felt before. All of this wonderfulness has come from giving gratitude. The greatest part about this analogy is that God has always been your friend. She knows that your status is only good because it can only ever be good. Whether you logoff, turn off your computer, or go away from your computer for days, God is connected to you every step of the way. God is your support, your comfort, your friend.
Though my motives for being on Facebook change almost as often as I logon, I no longer spend hours reading, browsing, chatting, playing, waiting. Instead, I use Facebook as a communication tool to keep in touch with campers and counselors and as a way to bless others.
So long as we remember to put God first, our blessings overflow. When we come to camp, we get to see this on a daily basis. We may not be able to check our Facebook account, upload photos or even change our status, but we establish our connection with God. And it is this connection that is most important and will never be broken. As Paul reminds us from Romans, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
All Facebook information taken from wikipedia.org March 30th, 2009