Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Facebook Experiment

     Remember MySpace? Long ago in a faraway galaxy, or at least five years ago anyway, it opened up a whole new way for people to get and stay in touch. When Facebook first came on the scene as the big brother of MySpace I was reluctant to get involved with it. When I finally did create my own page a friend posted "Welcome to the biggest time-vacuum in history". Yeah, that was just what I needed, being organizationally challenged as I already was. I pretty much stayed out of the "news feed" and away from the stream of chitchat because, admittedly, I thought it was a huge waste of time.
     Lately, I've been getting more and more "friend" requests and last night I decided to go on a Facebook expedition to try and understand why all the frenzy over what amounted to me as nothing more than a way to legally spy on people.Viewing probably 25 "friend's" sites I saw every kind of cause known to man represented, every philosophy, religious persuasion, environmental fear and political push. I realized people have the ability to portray themselves in whatever way they choose by way of endless photo opp's, profile exaggerations, and "news feed" updates (no matter how trivial the topic). I wondered, how is it that so many females look like they just emerged from "America's Top Model" and why anyone would feel the need to talk about how bored they are at the moment and why they thought anyone would even care. All these things were the things that made me rebel against getting involved with Facebook from the first time I laid eyes on it.
     Now that I've managed to offend all Facebookers, let me go on to say I also learned something else about this cyberworld that I didn't realize before. As our actual world has become more technologically advanced and we've begun to communicate in tweets, texts, emails, and news feeds we've isolated ourselves more than ever in "real time".  I see Facebook as a way for many to feel connected with old and new friends, opening a window on their personal worlds, without time and space barriers. It feels good to look good and with Facebook that's possible too. We can upload our best photos and people can see us in our best light. If you need a little encouragement you can easily comment in a feed and within a day find 20 favorable responses waiting to perk you right up. You can find long-lost friends and mesh all the era's of your life together in one box, sort of like a virtual amoeba strip of your lifeline. Granted, all these "abilities" can have negative impacts as well, if misused, but I finally get why people join in and jump on the Facebook bandwagon.
      I still probably won't be a regular user, I still prefer flesh and blood interaction with my friends over cyber-friending, but at least now I see why it has become so popular. We all have a basic human desire to know our lives have value and worth. To all my Facebook friends, you are each special in your own God-given way's and the following scripture is just a small snapshot of how much God loves you as expressed by King David, a chief musician in the Old Testament book of Psalms. 
     "You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. 
       How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake I am still with You. "~Psalm 139:13-18. (New King James Bible)

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