>Do you have a MySpace or a Facebook? I do. One of each, to be honest. The fact of the matter is that you probably do as well, which means that you should read this article (which I was directed to by this blog). In it, Christine Rosen takes a fairly in depth look at the consequences that these sites have on the people who participate in them.
The article does not just speak of the dangers associated with the sites, but reading about the dangers gave me cause to pause. In my freshman year of college, especially, a large part of my life was dominated by Facebook. “Did that person I met in class friend me yet?” “Do I have any new wall posts?” “I need to look up that person I just met, to see what kind of books they like.”
Fortunately, I am no longer there, but I do still check my Facebook daily and my MySpace (is “my MySpace” redundant?) whenever I get an e-mail telling me that I have a new message or comment. I could develop an argument for the benefits of these sites, but I am not sure I would believe it. For instance, I appreciate that they help me to keep in touch with others, but if my “keeping in touch” with those people is only through Facebook or MySpace is it really worth it? Were humans meant to have those kinds of relationships with one another?
As the article insightfully points out the sites, “encourage users to check in frequently, “poke” friends, and post comments on others’ pages. They favor interaction of greater quantity but less quality.”
Greater quantity but less quality. Exactly. It is nice, when your birthday rolls around, to get 30 or so “Happy Birthdays,” but they do not mean that much. Both Facebook and MySpace notify your friends when you have a birthday coming up. This results in more well-wishes but you cannot know whether or not any of your friends would have actually remembered had it not been for electronic updates.
I really just hope to raise these questions, not to necessarily answer them. I have no radical plans of cancelling my accounts on these sites. I really do value the benefits enough that I am not at a point where it seems advantageous to leave the networks. Still, I will have to work through these next few weeks whether or not I am distorting my view of human interaction by participating in these “communities.” Perhaps you should, as well.
At the very least, we should refuse to neglect in any way pursuing communion with the Triune God and with our brothers and sisters. Let’s focus more on our friends and less on our “Friends.”