On Tuesday 4th February, mark Zuckerberg, one of the founders of Facebook, posted that it was Facebook’s tenth anniversary. Over those ten years Facebook has become a modern phenomenon, going from a small university community website to a globe spanning brand and social media site, that plays a part in the daily lives of many millions of people, maybe you included. People use it to stay in touch with old friends, share jokes, swap stories, play games, admire each other’s photos and find others with similar interests.
In his post, Zuckerberg wrote about the motivation behind his creation and development of Facebook. He wrote the following:
‘I remember getting pizza with my friends one night in college shortly after opening Facebook. I told them I was excited to help connect our school community, but one day someone needed to connect the whole world. I always thought this was important — giving people the power to share and stay connected, empowering people to build their own communities themselves. When I reflect on the last 10 years, one question I ask myself is: why were we the ones to build this? We were just students. We had way fewer resources than big companies. If they had focused on this problem, they could have done it. The only answer I can think of is: we just cared more.’
Facebook was developed in order to create a place where people could create communities. It fed into a fundamental human desire, which comes out of being made in God’s image, to relate to others. Like all communities, it has its good side and dark side. There is indeed great love and generosity shown between its members. Discussions can be profound and constructive. People can get in touch and maintain friendships that would otherwise be lost. News can be shared and celebrated or support offered when needed. There are times, however, when it becomes a place of gossip, slander, unfaithfulness in relationships and cyber-bullying. Alongside the profound and helpful you can find frivolous and destructive.
Like it or not, social networking online is part of life. For many of us it’s part of our lives, part of our Frontlines. As such the question we face is an important one, what does it mean to use it well, i.e. in a way that is in keeping with Col. 3:17?
‘…whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him’