FaceBook (or FacelessBook)

 

I trust that this little commentary on the phenomenon of FaceBook will not offend anyone, after all it is just my take on it, and your take is just as valid as mine.

As with all new technology it seems like I’m always playing catch-up, partly because I’m secure in existing processes and of course there is the age factor. It seems though, that eventually everyone, regardless of age, succumbs to the sometimes convenient, but mostly just trying to keep up and at least be close to the loop. So it is with my recent FaceBook experience. I am thankful that my family takes the lead in pushing me into areas where I can be more aware of what’s going on, and communicate more better (I know, I know, I just like to say it). But first I must digress.

One prominent aspect of human nature is the need for significance. This is true even if you haven’t thought about it, or even agree. The whole world aches, individually, for someone to listen, pay attention and validate our worth. As a counselor, way back in the real world, I never failed to be amazed when a student would thank me for helping, sometimes dramatically, when mainly all I did was simply listen to them, giving my undivided attention.

We all know people who don’t listen. Whenever it’s our turn and we begin to talk, we see their eyes glaze over as they think about what next to say, and that leaves us feeling ignored and empty. As someone once said, “Don’t tell people your problems. Half of them aren’t listening, and the other half are glad you’re getting what’s coming to you.” There is some truth to this, except, I hope the last part isn’t true. I don’t think it is often.

People want to know that someone cares, and when burdens are shared, they won’t tell someone else to help them carry their secrets. We can always show concern for another simply by asking heart felt questions and most importantly not talking about ourselves. It is called empathy. Looking them in the eyes, smiling when appropriate, and entering into their world as best we can to “feel their pain” ( I hate that phrase because of it’s misuse, but it is true). Anything that psychology does right was taught first in the Bible, except the Word completes the process. “Confess your sins to one another and pray for each other that you may be healed.”

Now, back to FaceBook. Since I have “been on FB,”which hasn’t been that long, I have been intrigued by the banter going on all the time. I suspect that there are those who perhaps don’t have of a voice in life and FB allows the chance to have people listen to them, sort of. The faceless listeners can’t be seen rolling their eyes, frowning, or any other response that would be hurtful in a person to person encounter. This allows one to say pretty much anything and no one need respond. And without the face to face experience there is no risk but offers a degree of significance however small.

Then there are those who struggle with personal problems, and rightly so, cannot have a true confession online, but skirt around the edges giving many clues and hints. This makes them feel a little better. Many things can be said in a “faceless” setting. How about the ones who begin to rant using mean, vulgar and insulting words as though FB is their “Soapbox.” This is power taken by the powerless.

I still don’t understand this FarmVille thing. It seems to be similar to the Commodities Market, does it not? Or other activities that seem to be some sort of games they play. Now I have read some real interesting items that were inspirational and informative, or provided an important update about something or other, or finding a long lost friend. And in one incredible instance, I corresponded with a former student who was 8 or 9 at the time maybe 35+ years ago! But this was rare, for me anyway. I normally have to wade through several barnyards, psych banter, and other types of trivia to get there. Some seem to have too much time on their hands.

Surely there have been, or are probably in the works, doctoral dissertations based on the cultural phenomenon of FB. While planning to write this post, I thought I’d try to play a little with FB and see what I might get. I started by stating that I was going to be a participant on a daily basis. I got a little response (maybe not having many FB friends helps). So I began with a simple sign on and sign off each day which to me mimicked much of the trivial banter I have read. I was hoping to get something like, “Hey man, what are you trying to do?” Or, “Wow, I’m getting so much out of your comments, thanks (wink, wink).”

My daughter Laura did ask for a little more substance, and gave me some directions on what kind of trivia to write, bless her heart. But generally not a comment, not an inquiry, not a puzzled or concerned word. Everyone just put up with my minimal trivia. So, I became one of those people who probably can’t say much face to face or even faceless. I became a FB nobody. I probably should have tried adding more and maybe controversial stuff, but I feel silly telling what color shirt I’m wearing, or what I’m having for lunch. Does anyone really care about that? Anyway, my experiment was interesting.

Once upon a time, Jesus asked me to be His friend FaceBook. He had done that several times before, but this time I said “yes.” Instantaneously my picture was posted on every iphone (that is “intergalactic” phone) in the galaxy. The heavenly hosts broke into singing with shouts of hallelujah as a celebration of monumental proportions spread throughout the entire heavens, for a child who had come home. I was a superstar, everyone knew my name and all the details of my life, and I was loved anyway. In the blink of an eye I was somebody; I had significance beyond anything I could imagine. God cared about my trivial talk. He began to give me His undivided attention and “unconditional positive regard ( that’s psych talk for “unconditional love”).” And as with every new friend of God, He sent the Holy Spirit into my heart to comfort me; to heal me; to teach me; to be my guide into the truth through Jesus and His holy Word. Now that’s significance! So it is with everyone who becomes a friend of God on His FB, we can live happily ever after.

( Again, I hope I have not offended any die hard fans of FB, it was not my intention. I have received information via FB that was good, so there is a social benefit, however small, even if I do think the whole thing is sort of silly. My use of the word trivia is not meant derogatorily) .

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Comments

  1. Ok, just for the record, I was playing along with you when I listed the other trivia that you could include! You have wit and wisdom to share, Dad, and that’s what you should stick with. 🙂

    Just don’t delete your FB……how else will you keep up with your grandkids and Sir Henry’s waking and bedtimes?!?! 🙂

    LOVE YOU!!!

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