Saturday, May 14, 2011

Facebook, my frenemy

"Frenemy" (alternately spelled "frienemy") is a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" that can refer to either an enemy disguised as a friend or to a partner who is simultaneously a competitor and rival.[1] The term is used to describe personal, geopolitical, and commercial relationships both among individuals and groups or institutions. The word has appeared in print as early as 1953. (Got this from Wikipedia so it must be true. lol)

Yep, that's what I think Facebook is.  The main reason I'm on Facebook is so that I can keep up with my brother in Japan.  Then I found some more family and a lot of classmates.  It was cool to see what they were up to these days, especially those I had to leave behind when I moved to the farm.  It cracks me up that some of the couples are comprised of people who wouldn't give each other the time of day in school.  I realized quickly that some people have a lot of time on their hands and like to stir up trouble on Facebook.  I've seen adults acting very childish on Facebook.  I've learned how to block those who want to list everything that they did that day.  I mean just because the doctor asks you how often you had a BM DOES NOT MEAN that we want to know all the gory details as well.  Then there are the gamers.  I must confess that at one time I was a Farmville fanatic and loved playing Family Feud.  I quit when I realized that I was spending more time on the computer than with those I loved.  

I'm not bashing Facebook entirely because it's really about having self-control.  I knew I had an addiction when turning on the computer was the first thing I did in the morning.  When did I allow my time on the Internet, especially Facebook, exceed the amount of time I spent with God or with my family and loved ones?  When did I allow other peoples’ lives to dictate whether I was a success or not?  When did I start asking my friends on Facebook about what to do about a situation before I asked God?

My last paper was about how social media sites are used in cyber forensics.  Of course law enforcement uses it to help with cases but others are catching on as well.  With the popularity of Facebook surging, old flames can connect again.  Unfortunately that connection can mean the termination of a marriage and the destruction of a family.  (I won't get on my soapbox this time but PawPaw used to say that the reason the grass looks greener on the other side is because of all the BS on that side.)  Divorce lawyers are having a heyday from all the information that is gleaned off Facebook.  Child custody battles can be swayed by what a parent posts on Facebook or MySpace. (Does anybody use MySpace anymore?)  Employers use social media sites to screen potential employees.  So you might want to rethink posting all those party pictures.  And you might want to watch your language or at least what you say about your job because that has caused people to get fired.

Facebook is a feeding ground for the "keeping up with the Joneses" mentality and the green-eyed monster.  Just because somebody has  _____________(fill in with jewelry, new home/car, vacation plans, spouse, kids etc.) does not mean you are less of a person.  (Sadly, I must confess that I have to remind myself of that sometimes.)  That person may be acquiring all that stuff and doing all those things to keep up with the crowd they run with.  All you see is the great stuff and fun times.  What you don't see is the mountain of debt that this person may have because of it.  I stress the word "may" because some are able to manage their finances better than others.  I’m a big believer in saving money.  My mom’s “rainy day fund” saved our family more than once.  But I also think it’s okay to spend it on something you enjoy…every once in awhile.

Stalkers.  Yep, as crazy as it sounds I had one a few years ago…about the same time I got on Facebook.  How?  I was a novice at Facebook and posted too much personal information.  I’m not 100% sure that that was where it started BUT the next thing I know is some creep is calling me at weird hours at the night and knowing too much for my liking.  Good news is that it’s not a problem anymore.  Being scared in your own home is not the way to live.  So please don’t post your address and phone # on Facebook.  For heavens sake, If somebody wants your #, send it to them in a message or try this novel thought…call them.  And don’t tell us that you’re going out of town because that’s like putting a lighted billboard in your yard saying “Please come and rob me blind because I’m not home to stop you.”

You can get thousands of birthday greetings on your big day.  Who doesn’t like that?  I don’t care how tough you think you are but you can’t help but feel good to see all those comments.

You can rejoice when a friend finds out good news and you can encourage a friend when they are having a rough day.  You can share a prayer request and people will encourage you and pray for you.

You can share pictures of your family, especially your kids, with those who are not close by.  (Hint Hint, Joshua!)

You can find out the latest hot spot to eat at, movie to watch or vacation spot to go to.  Have to change doctors or hair stylists? No problem.  Post that you’re looking for somebody new and a friend will help you out.  Whether you are looking for a new job, new house or starting a new side business, it provides a way to expand your network of contacts.

It’s a great place to post events for a good cause.  Whether it is about your church services or helping someone with a benefit dinner at a local restaurant, people won’t come unless they are told.  Kudos goes to the group raising money for the little girl at Chick-Fil-A a couple of weeks ago.  That group was passionate about helping her and her family.

It’s a great platform for you to be a witness for Christ.  I confess that not all my posts are godly. They should be.  Too many Christians, including myself, act one way when we are at church or around our Christian friends but we act another when we aren’t.  God called us to different.  Everything we say and do should glorify Him…even our posts on Facebook.  We aren’t going to convince somebody that Christ is the answer, when the language or content on our Facebook profile is no different from a lost person.

I know there are others out there that may share my opinion and others who don’t.  That’s okay.  This blog really wasn’t for you anyway.  It was to remind me that God comes first. Period.  It’s not up for negotiation.  And that Facebook, like with anything else in the world, can be used in a positive way or negative way for God.  The question is…who will I put first today, God or me?

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