Thursday, January 20, 2011

Face To Face Is Not The Same As Facebook

I, like a gazillion other people, use facebook. I enjoy it. Just before I started this blog, I sent a friend request to someone in Bolivia. If they accept, then I will have 959 friends.

Lets be honest for a moment. Do I really have 959 friends? I mean, it sure makes me seem popular and important, but do I REALLY have that many FRIENDS? No, I don’t. I have that many people that have enough common interest in me that we befriended each other ON FACEBOOK. Now there is the rub. Facebook friends can be friends, but they can also be people that we have never and will never meet.

I was chatting with a real friend, face to face, this past week and he said this. Facebook is changing the way that we do relationships. I can log on to facebook, gather some information about you by your status or profile, and then feel like we have connected. It is all information, no heart, no emotions. We have stopped, and Facebook has played a part of this, connecting emotionally with each other. This may not be a problem for a computer app, but it presents huge issues for the real relationships of our lives.

The older, and I think wiser, that I become, the more I see the need for going beyond information and into identity. Getting to understand just who my kids really are, what they really think, how they really feel, what they really want, where they really hurt, what makes them really happy. The same for my friends, and especially my wife. This doesn’t happen with a status report, even if I comment on it.

I have an assignment. Look at your Facebook friends and find someone that is/was a friend before Facebook. Give them a call and go to lunch. I think you will be glad you did.