…. but I am not one of them.
Here’s the thing. If you’re in a certain season of life, Facebook is not causing you to ignore the community of real people in your city. You can’t get to them anyway.
For instance, if you’re a stay at home mom, and you have a baby, and that baby now needs to learn how to take a nap at home in the mornings… Congratulations! You won’t be seeing very many other people a lot of days for at least a year.
I can’t get out to the people, so I get a sense of community from the people on my computer. They’re real people that I do see in real life, most of them, but I simply don’t have time to talk much running through the halls at church. Because of Facebook, they know that I’m dealing with a bad sleeper, for instance, and they can throw out a word of encouragement as we both race by in the children’s wing. As a result, I feel known. I feel more like we’re all a team, working together, cheering each other on.
Now, this many only work if you post a lot. I do, and I comment on posts a lot. New friends feel like they’re getting to know me faster because of this. They’re more likely to try and talk to me in the halls. We get to know each other a little better than we have time to otherwise because of Facebook.
For example, I put out a shout out on Facebook to borrow some books. I got a quick reply, and a new friend from down the street made sure to bring them to CBS so I could pick them up. I’ve just increased my contact and friendship with her, and I got to find out that she’s a part of a homeschool mom’s book study group. Who knows? We may carpool to it.
A mom that used to be in my MOPS small group now lives in my neighborhood. I comment on her posts and share recipes with her. And she gives me bags of boy clothes. I run by on the way out to Walmart, give her a bag of a homemade muffin mix from a recipe website I know she likes, and we get to chat for a few minutes.
I wrote a status update that we were all coming down with the stomach flu. Within minutes, I got phone calls from friends and dinner delivered from a friend down the street. I didn’t have time to email all of these friends, but one status update got the job done, and we were blessed because of it.
A friend from church posted that her husband just lost his job. I can tell them briefly that we’ll be praying for them, and I will. I know others have prayed for me because of what I’ve written. The Body of Christ has been built up.
This is what Facebook gives me, and I’m not going to whine and moan about all the bad things about it. I don’t care if they’re collecting tons of data on what kind of toilet paper I buy. I buy Scott. And I don’t care who knows it. I simply don’t that much to hide. I’m boring. So are you, probably. If you’re really worried, check your privacy settings once a month. Put it on the calendar if you must.
Don’t let fear keep you from tools to help you build real community. End of rant.