There has been a movement of late to encourage people to leave Facebook. Some are counter-culture types who decry the widespread use of this non-secure and privacy-invading website. Others are saying that it is getting in the way of real, authentic relationships and giving people a false sense of friendships, which are really shallow acquaintances. Some may say that it keeps people from getting out and connecting with real people face to face. They are all right, but they are all missing the bigger picture.
Facebook simply is doing too much good to be ignored or abandoned, at least until something better comes along. People with significant disabilities are connecting with others and forming communities in ways not possible for them before. Some who are too timid to request prayer for themselves or others, are asking hundreds to do so. Those who are missionaries or humanitarians in other countries can communicate freely with others about their important work. Critical issues ignored by the media, such as abject poverty or human trafficking, are being widely discussed like never before.
As with any other tool, Facebook has shortcomings and is abused by many people. Given the more than 500 million users, examples of these problems are abundant. Maybe we should also give up our telephones as well. They keep us from having real, face to face conversations. We simply call people rather than leave our homes. We don’t visit people like we should, instead just calling them. People use the telephone to gossip, to plan robberies, and to harass people. Telephones have security and privacy concerns.
The thing leaders need to do is promote the benefits of Facebook, and talk about the balanced and proper use of it. It is much easier to say “get off, give it up” and be done with it. It is harder to stay engaged day after day, manage your own behavior, and be a model of consistency for using a powerful, yet potentially misused tool.