What is Facebook for?

Facebook has approximately 3 billion users world wide. That’s a lot of people. Not surprisingly, there are innumerable reasons we come to Facebook. Facebook is used for connection, business, distraction, hatred, and humor. Every one of us likely has a slightly different reason for using Facebook. I’m not certain how long I’ve been on Facebook, but probably about 15 years and I have changed in many ways over that time.

So what are some of the reasons I use Facebook? First, connection. I am grateful that I am able to stay in touch with people who I otherwise wouldn’t hear from regularly including high school and college friends as well as certain family members. I also have developed friendships with people from around the world, which provides a broader cultural perspective. Second, I come for the comedy. Regularly, people will share humorous memes and videos with me, and I will in return. Recently, I look forward to my friend Chris’s “Dad Joke of the Day” videos to bring a smile. Third, I appreciate the encouragement and seek to encourage others. I suspect many people would agree with me in these.

On the other hand, I sometimes share hard things, controversial things, things that may make people squirm a little bit. Usually, when I share posts with some edge to them, it comes out of my own wrestling and desire to grow. I don’t even necessarily agree with these posts. Because I feel some connection with my Facebook “friends,” I am grateful for the dialog, even when people disagree with me. Some of the most beneficial and exhausting posts have been of this sort.

In the mid-90s, I co-authored a paper with a former mentor titled, Imagination, Exploration, and Compulsion: Discovery and the Loss of Self Through the Internet, which was nearly a decade before Facebook or Twitter were on the scene. One thing that Internet communities can lead to is presenting false narratives and, ironically, disconnection. When I share things that are difficult or challenging, they often arise out of my desire to continue to do inner work and to press into who I am and into who I am becoming. I share these things because I know that many other people experience these same questions, desires, and longings. I am grateful for dialog partners, but I also respect those who don’t come here to wrestle.

I guess I want my Facebook page to be a place of humor, but not mockery; of dialog, but not diatribe; of connection, but not divisiveness; of encouragement, and not attack; of questions before answers. Maybe Facebook isn’t a great place for this sort of thing, but I am out here doing the best I can, trying to be as truly “me” as I can be. If you have questions about where I am, please reach out. I don’t promise to have satisfactory answers, but I will gladly share a glimpse of my journey as I hope you will share yours.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s