You start with a status you like, so you naturally ‘like’ it. Then you stumble on a link that you like, so naturally you ‘like’ it, comment on it. Then you write your status, hoping that it is witty enough to feel the facebook love with an assault of ‘likes’ and comments. Then you post in one of the many groups you are in, maybe for homework, maybe for youth group, maybe because you know a bunch of people who like beards or pie. Then you post photo’s of your beard, or the pie you baked and begin in a dialogue about it with someone 1000’s of km’s away. Then you look at an event you were invited to, click ‘attending’ or ‘join’ even though you’ll most likely forget about it. Then you look at the clock and realize that an hour has gone by and that’s when you feel it… ‘facebook guilt’ or ‘facebook shame’ because there was something else you needed to do. The thing is, during those moments you are actively participating in something that you are naturally compelled to do.
Connect. God connects with us. We connect with God. We connect with each other. (Genesis 1-3)
But the thing is, a lot of people use facebook to connect. TONS! Some of the stats on usage are staggering; 1/4 say staying connected on facebook is more important than dating, 4/5 students say that in a given hour they will be interrupted by social media, 9/10 college students and young professionals have a facebook account. These numbers are staggering. Whatever the stats may be, people are hanging out and staying updated on facebook or other social media (for other stats click here).
There are some benefits to this high degree of connectivity.
People from all over the world are connecting. The result has been, people from different contexts are sharing information, ideas, critiques and much more with a few clicks. Movements have started because of this consistent opportunity to connect. People are able to connect with old friends and family. People share photo’s and video’s that are wonderful snap shots of a life lived half a world away or across the street. Facebook has become a social hub.
Inherently, I’m not sure that this is all bad. Facebook has created community. Community is a good thing because community is a group of people connecting in the name of relationship. Community can be an intimate spiritual experience when a group of people connecting in the name of relationship seek a relationship with the living God.
The question for me, can this happen without physical presence with one another? Can there be a digital community in the deepest sence of the word? Is there such a thing as a facebook spirituality?
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