The Demise of Facebook – at least in my life

Facebook_like_thumbYes friends, I'm back from a bit of time away from the blog posting.  It's really a great thing to walk away from technology from a bit.  In fact, I'm going to have to reflect with a tad more intentionality of my "issues" with how technology dominates much of my life.  Betweeen texts and emails ALONE, technology can become oppressive.  Even so, that is not the purpose of this post.  Allow me to get to the point…

I'm not a Prophet…never have claimed to be one and don't desire that mantle.  I do understand prophetic "ministry" and the prophetic office though.  I do know that sometimes people speak out the words and insights of God in a "thus saith the Lord" kinda way.  That's good and all of us who follow Jesus and live Kingdom lives need that.  I've been the recipient of many prophetic "utterances" in books, conversations, and other means.  I get that.  It would be more appropriate to say here and now that prophets in the bible had little to do with predictive/fortune telling type of action than they did "reading the signs of the times" from a God-centered perspective.  It doesn't always take some movement of God in your life to see where people's actions and activities are taking them.  It is sometimes simple to be able to come to some conclusions on how a "train wreck" is approaching because you can see the "trains" out of control and on a collision course.  So, that's where I'm heading today.

After a 10 day period away from technology, I was able to jump back in with some renewed perspectives.  First of all, I rebooted my great iPhone and immediately received the icon prompt of the many "comments" that I could view on Facebook.  I did just that…and that's when it hit me – Facebook is going to "die" as a cultural phenomenon.  Better yet, maybe its more accurate to say that it will go into some sort of "background noise" status in our culture.  Why?  For a couple of reasons – first of all, Facebook is the playground of the "unboundaried," voyeuristic, narcissistic, and lonely.  More and more, I'm fascinated with how Facebook is being utilized by people to be impressed with themselves, or to air their insecurities or to publicly unload feelings and insipid activities in their lives that they believe the "world" cares about.  I know that may be a bit harsh (in fact, it is harsh…yikes!) but you know it to be true.  Put it this way – I'm embarrassed about some of the things I see on Facebook.  TOO much public self-disclosure is inappropriate.  In addition, people say and do things in public media that they would NEVER do in "person" which brings out the the potentiality (as most of us have seen) of creating more and more personas over time.  What most people are doing on Facebook is relating to personas…in fact, it becomes more of a video game existence on Facebook as "avatars" relate with each other not the reality of life but a fantasy type of existence where characters vie for attention and recognition.  I really believe that sane people are getting tired of that…I really do.

Secondly, as one of my friends pointed out, people are not able to have real conversations on Facebook…the "freedom" that comes from typing out comments on a keyboard instead of looking at another person in the eye gives some a false sense of courage.  It leads to people saying stupid, mean, and outright offensive remarks that doesn't promote relationship but actually tears it down.  For example, one of my friends who often posts articles and comments from religious leaders around the world frequently gets "FB BLASTED" by others who berate and condemn just for the sake that they CAN within the Facebook context.  You don't have to be patient with people on Facebook…you just verbally take your shot and move on.  The vitriol that I often read coming out of responses to people's thoughtful remarks about world events, etc. is not only alarming but downright hateful. I believe that honest people who are looking for honest conversations about pertinent issues in our world will most likely take their conversations back to where they at least get a fair hearing.  

Lastly, advertising…I turned on my iPhone after my stretch of being away from technology.  I looked at the Facebook comments and then went to my status update section to take a quick peek at people's comments only to find that I had to bypass every second or third post because it was an ad for an app or other type of service that was for sale.  Facebook used to partition ads.  Now it looks more and more that businesses and entrepreneurs are using social media for sales.  I get that…but social media was intended more for relationships than branding and buying and selling.  I believe people (I know I have) will and are getting tired of that reality on Facebook.  When we are exposed to 1000's of ads a day in and through innumerable means, many of us will opt out of something that is more and more ad driven.  For example, one of the reasons I dropped reading the newspaper is because of ads.  I found that there was more print space dedicated to sales than to stories.  The actual "news" in the newspaper would merit one or two pages.  The rest…well, you know what I mean.  

So, there you go – over time, the sane will get tired of the insecure and narcissistic…people will desire what should be the standard in relationships, conversations about real life issues in real time, face to face encounters where there is some level of emotional accountability…and lastly, aren't we all tired of getting sold something?  I'm tired of how consumerism has redefined life (but that's for another post). My conclusion, many of us will opt out of Facebook OR cut our involvement back and discover other means of communicating and connecting with cadres of acquaintances.  That's my take…what say you?

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