Summary: Facebook is for connecting with "friends," but the friends we have on Facebook are rarely friends at all, at least not the type that change our lives.
How many of you are on Facebook? How many know what it is, but are not on it? How many know nothing about it? What planet have you been living on? Facebook is a website that was launched in February of 2004. It was created by some college students led by a young man named Mark Zuckerburg, who is now the 16th richest person in the world with a net worth of 33.4 billion dollars. Basically, Facebook was meant to be a directory for Harvard students. The name comes from the school’s annual directory. It had everyone’s picture from the school and it was unofficially called “the face book.” It had head shots of everyone and it helped people to put a name with a face. However, it didn’t just stay at the school. In eleven years it has exploded. Today, there are over 1.49 billion users of Facebook.
The stated purpose of Facebook is to share and connect with the people in your life, and we do that by becoming “friends” with people on Facebook. If I want to become friends with someone I have to send a friend request. The person can decide to accept my friend request or not. On Facebook, we get to choose our friends. We can “decline” someone who wants to be our friend, and I have declined friend requests when I am not sure who the person is. But, if I know the person, I accept their friend request. That’s netted me 1,275 “friends” on Facebook. That’s my “network,” or “community,” and they can write on my wall, and I can write on their wall, and we can keep up with what’s going on in each other’s life…like I can really keep up with what’s happening in 1,275 people’s lives! Here’s the funny thing: I’ve probably never met 1/3 of the people who are my friends.
I’m never going to see all those Facebook friends I have “in person”. If I’m sick, they’re not coming to visit me. If I need money to help pay a bill, they wouldn’t be likely to help. If I was stranded on a highway at night, most of them are not coming to get me. They don’t really know me. They don’t know what I struggle with. They might not even LIKE me. On Facebook, they’re my friends. Probably nice people, but they’re not really my friends. They’re like the lady who telephoned a friend to ask how she was feeling.
“Terrible,” came the reply over the phone, “my head’s splitting and my back and legs are killing me. The house is a mess, and the kids are simply driving me crazy.”
Very sympathetically the caller said, “Listen, go and lie down, I’ll come over right away and cook lunch for you, clean up the house, and take care of the children while you get some rest. By the way, how is your husband Sam?”
“Sam?” the complaining housewife gasped. “My husband’s name isn’t Sam.”
“Oh dear,” exclaimed the first woman, “I must have dialed the wrong number.”