Friday, December 2, 2016

Do You "Like" Your "Friends"?

Remember Bazooka Joe comics? I can still recall the smell of that bubble gum, though I cannot recall a single comic in itself. Apparently they were not very deep in content. What would you expect though from a bubble gum wrapper? It is not as though it is anything as profound as a fortune cookie (just joking). Can wisdom be found in a candy wrapper? Until recently I would have doubted it.

Inside a foil wrapper for a small piece of chocolate I recently came across the following statement: "like someone in person!" Now, I have to admit, the usual fare from this particular candy is somewhat trite. This time, however, I was pleasantly shocked. Think about it for a moment: "like someone in person". It speaks on so many levels. Just in case there are any newcomers reading this: I cannot say that I am very "friendly" with Facebook. Besides the fact that my "friends" are people that I come into personal contact with; those people that I see and communicate with regularly; I do not believe that Facebook is a force for good.

This does not mean that I do not have friends whom I have never met face-to-face. It only means that "friend" is not an adjective to me; it is not something that "do" to a stranger by clicking a button or tapping a screen. I would not say that I am resentful at Facebook for kidnapping and abusing the word "friend", but I would say that they have not helped to further good relationships in modern society. In this way, Facebook is behaving like another "dragon". Do not let this dragon take you captive.

Although I will admit that Facebook has a useful purpose, I do not have a Facebook page myself. What that purpose is, I am still trying to decide, but the very least that can be said is that it is a form of impersonal communication (I suppose there is a purpose for that). When used rightly, that can be a help to our personal interactions. When used wrongly, it can destroy our ability to relate to others. When this happens, we tend to get into fights more easily, and thus we have all sorts of "relational issues" (whether that be "race relations" "family relations", or any other category).

There is a video on Youtube that shows a man walking around behaving as though Facebook behavior were normal in real life. He puts stickers that say "like" on things (a person's bike, a book someone is reading, a jacket someone is wearing, etc.). He says he is going to "follow" someone, and then literally follows them down the street (to their complete shock!). He asks complete strangers to be his friend (and scares quite a few folks). None of this is normal behavior in the real world, but we have become so accustomed to it on Facebook, that we think little of it. As I have said before, Facebook has contracepted the humanity out of our souls.

So here is my encouragement for the day: like someone in person; be a genuine friend to someone who needs one (a friend made out of flesh and blood, not a digital screen); "follow" someone by asking how they are doing, spend time praying for them, and then follow up on how they are doing to see the impact your prayers have on their lives. Wow! What would the world be like if people actually started treating each other this way?