I’m thinking of deleting my Facebook account…
I remember when Facebook became “the thing”. I remember not being in university and being jealous of all the older kids who were part of the privileged that got to have their own account. From the time I was young I have always been infatuated with technology. I remember saving up enough money to buy my own Dell desktop computer by the time I was 12. These three large boxes came in the mail, and I couldn’t wait to rip into them to set it up on my new Walmart desk.
The Internet, as we all know, has opened this world up in a whole new way. This generation is the most well informed generation than any other in history because of what it has available at it’s fingertips. The most common worldview nowadays is not what our parents tell us, what we see from our window, or what we learn in school anymore. The new worldview is what you see scrolling through Facebook, on Buzzfeed, or anything that makes you curious enough to Google. Our worldview is now decided for us by millions of pixels put together by other people all around the world.
I look at my Timehop and realise that the younger me posted a play by play of my entire life on some form of social media. Seven years ago today I was trying to learn Twitter, watching a university football game, and studying for an A&P class. My language was a little more vulgar, and my grammar was surprisingly even worse than it is today.
Social media has irrevocably changed our lives.
I increasingly hear adults saying that they are going to delete their Facebook account, or they are sick of the junk on their feed everyday.
“It’s too much”
“It’s not good for me”
“It’s stressing me out”
“It’s so negative”
“I don’t need this in my life”
“I’m deleting Facebook, I can’t handle it anymore,”
I’ve been really challenged by this, and to be honest there are entire months where I completely disconnect from Facebook for that exact reason. With all the devastation, politics, negativity, and hatred there are days when I just simply can’t deal with it. I delete it from my phone and rarely check my feed on my desktop if at all, sometimes for 30 days or more at at time.
Living thousands of miles from home in a foreign country I find this hard. It’s one of the only ways to see the day to day of my family and friends back home, and it leaves this gap in my life where I feel like I am missing out even more than just physically. Not long ago I was scrolling through my Facebook feed watching people take part in the ice bucket challenge (one of the few, positive trends as of late), I saw people deciding whether a dress was black and gold or blue and black. I watched as young girls discovered selfies, relationship statuses, and how to pucker their lips. Another thing I saw, was a young man’s face I recognized from high school… over and over again.
I remember him. I remember his face walking through the halls, his older two brothers who had it all together. Jake* was the youngest of three and you could tell he felt a little like the black sheep of his family. His brothers excelled in just about everything they did. He was a class clown, a little too cool for his own good, and always in just a little bit of trouble.
Except now it looks like he got mixed up in a nasty drug deal that had him and his new wife arrested and in jail. Meth didn’t do his sunken eyes any favours, and it looked like he had aged 10 years since I last saw him. I didn’t even know he was married, much less struggling with what was an obvious drug addiction taking over his life.
What shocked me more than his arrest was my small town’s response. A small town who loved each other, has each others backs, calls everyone family, and prides itself on loving others as much as themselves.
We had really proven all this wrong when not even 24 hours after Jake’s arrest, his news release had been shared OVER 732 times from one site.
Imagine thousands of people knowing your face, and your name by one mistake.
I was heartbroken.
Suddenly, this grabbed my attention. When you share something on Facebook you’re essentially endorsing it, and saying that it’s something worth even more of the world knowing about. Instead of covering this guy in love, encouragement, hope, faith, and prayer we are instead posting it all over our walls for more to see. More shame. More humiliation. More failure. More embarrassment.
This set my insides burning and a spark that made me realise the responsibility I carry when I sign into my accounts online. I have the power to bring life, or harm in others lives. My feed is the same as what comes out of my mouth.
This guy made a horrible mistake, and eventually he will stand in a courtroom and someone will read out the consequences of these actions. We know that will be handled, because that’s how the system works. I think we owed him more than 732 shares. I think we owed him love, mercy, and a few prayers… after all, he’s not that much different than any of us.
I’m not saying I’m innocent, and I love social media more than most people I know… but I think “with great power, comes great responsibility”. We can’t afford to be Social Media Bullies anymore… we have to accept the fact that “Sharing” an article is the same thing as gossip… we have generations behind us that need to learn the principles and etiquette of Facebook, but we have to walk the walk in order to be the example we want to see in the world.
We will inevitably multiply anything, and everything we do to those around us. If we aren’t aware of that, then we will miss the opportunity to raise up world changers.
Instead of deleting our facebook, let’s give people a reason to keep theirs.
Share stuff that matters.
Lea Emerson joined us in 2011 from small town Paris, Texas. Lea serves in many different areas but plays a main role in Marketing and Communications. She’s an excellent leader, teacher, story teller, and never short of an idea. She enjoys coffee, being with good company, and watching documentaries.