So obviously I am a Facebook user (you likely found this article on Facebook). I have weighed the pros and cons and believe that the good (in most cases) outweighs the bad. Especially for churches. Social media is a powerful tool for community evangelism and for creating awareness of your local church to very specific people. I believe that every church should leverage social media for the sake of the Gospel. Having said that, Facebook (and social media in general) can severally damage an individual’s reputation (check out this article entitled 18 Ways to Ruin Your Reputation on Facebook by Paul Steinbrueck). Let’s begin by looking at seven cons of being on Facebook. Next week I will follow up with a list of Facebook pros.
1. It can be a time drain.
It really, really, really can. Here are a few questions that you should consider before you allow those minutes to speed by surfing Facebook (or the internet in general for that matter). Have I read my Bible today? Have I made real human connections, especially when it comes to my family? Have I spent time with the Lord in prayer? Have I accomplished important daily goals? Am I procrastinating right now?
2. It can hinder your relationships with real people.
If you find yourself in a room with another person (or persons) and you’re scrolling through Facebook it’s time for a reality check. Put the device down and interact with real people. Remember, the term Facebook friends is pretty misleading. I am personally connected to thousands of people on Facebook who I don’t actually know. Be very careful not to substitute virtual friendship for genuine (real life) friendship.
3. One moment of carelessness can do irreparable harm.
We’ve all seen the public meltdowns appear on our Facebook newsfeeds that made us wonder if a particular individual had lost his or her mind. We’ve all seen the flashes of anger, the pity parties, the unexpectedly vulgar, and the irreversible rants. These moments of unbridled emotion can drastically tarnish a reputation
4. It can open doors to inappropriate relationships.
Facebook has replaced the chat rooms of the 90’s. One of social media’s strength’s is that it helps keep us networked with people that would otherwise be difficult to stay connected with on a semi regular basis. However, there are lots of people whom we should not be networking with. Old flames are just one of many examples of the inappropriate relationships that can be rekindled via Facebook. Studies have proven time and time again that people let inhibitions down when connecting via the passive aggressive medium of the internet. Guard your conversations, your connections, and keep yourself open and accountable at all times (the same is true for the phenomenon of text messaging).
5. It can destroy your witness.
Christians can destroy their witness by plastering their hypocrisy and ungodly behavior all over Facebook. It does no good to criticize your church or pastor publically only to turn around and invite folks to visit that same church. Another way that people destroy their witness on Facebook is when they try to bully unbelievers into submission or become overly argumentative rather than instructive. Fussing, fighting, and debating rather than loving, teaching, and witnessing will quickly destroy a believer’s witness.
6. It can be depressing.
For the most part, people try to put their best foot forward on Facebook. If you’re not careful you can wind up constantly comparing your imperfect life to everyone else’s seemingly perfect life. Facebook can easily become the modern day mechanism for keeping up with the Jones’.
7. It can produce narcissism in your heart.
Narcissism by definition is a characteristic of those who have an over inflated idea of their own importance. Social media can produce a false sense of celebrity stature that for some becomes intoxicating. Humility is a biblical virtue that must be applied to our social media presence as well as our physical interactions.