Peeping Pams...

Facebook (Tim) Here's a picture from Michael. Not sure if he agrees with it, but I do. There can be some good uses of these tools, but the vast majority of what I've seen is not good at all. Talk about false intimacy--this stuff is pornography for women--and men who wish they were and are becoming...

So, how much does God want you to know and tell? And what are the sins encouraged by knowing and telling too much?

Comments

You can probably do Facebook without getting into gossip, but.....far too many people don't. My take is simply that it drags a person into gossip far too often.

On the other hand, it's a great way to find old friends, it seems. Would we have said the same thing about the telephone or email or google a certain time back? Ham radio?

I got on facebook upon coming to CGS because so much at CGS happened there. I mostly only used it for finding people quickly. I think I signed up specifically to see that really great Pro-Life video that Allie C. made. People say FB is convenient, it is for sending mass messages out so for that I kept the account thinking someday I'd use it for something good but that hasn't happened.

I'm sure I sound like a major snob here but I have never seen the point of Two-Facebook and have whined about it (instead of just removing myself).

Ginger wanted to get rid of her account several times but I told her not to because it would seem unfriendly (once you're on it, seems like you can't get out) but she doesn't answer people often on there (or email) so it seems unfriendly that way too.

I taught a HS computer class last year and I talked with my students about how addictive the net is and how Marshall McLuhan would have had a lot to say about the shallow communication we get via Facebook, MySpace, Youtube, Ning, Twitter etc. (And I remember how recently I was the luddite trying not to even use CellPhones!)

Facebook can cause major jealousy and bitterness in the body because there is this unreal world we portray and everyone ends up feeling left out or superficially included. Bob Sands said something funny about this one time recently, noting how Facebook friends are not the same as real ones.

There was a great post on that same forum Kamilla posted a while back that talked about how technology must be convenient, thus ubiquitous and so it must draw everyone in.

It's changing the way we interact, we think in short shallow bursts - and then you get people who try to use Facebook almost as a blog, it doesn't work - if you write something that's pages long, the response you're likely to get is a thumbs up, allbeit from a hundred people.

Tim, Ginger noticed in first service how difficult it was for you to add "blogs" to your list. ;-)

-Clint

Let the record show that I mostly agree with it.

I suppose everyone has heard the joke about how YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are going to merge to form one super time-wasting website called YouTwitFace.

I am new to Facebook, having joined within the last couple of months. I was amazed at how many cyber-friends I had, people who wouldn't regularly interact in person or even email, but became more than happy to avail themselve via Facebook. I think the internet, and cell phones for that matter, are a very efficient way to know how unpopular you are. I recently went to a high school reunion, and we all used Ning beforehand. It was convenient. But reflecting on how easy it is to use Google and other sites to find people of the past, the whole internet makes nostalgia a current event.

I have never used Facebook, or any of the other communication mediums listed above, and I do not anticipate that I ever will. I must admit though, a year ago I would not have envisioned myself as a regular blogger either.

My wife a has Facebook account and I suspect that her and many others derive an enhanced sense of community from this sort of interaction.

I wonder though, is this sort of interaction a legtimate aspect of community or does it merely provide the illusion of participation?

Don,

I think that the answer to your question may lie in posing a different question. for those of you on Facebook that have a birthday, how many actual phone calls or visits to you get wishing you a happy birthday and how many wall posts do you get? If facebook is a reminder to us that our friend is having a birthday, then wonderful - if we use that information to actually interact with our "friend." If however we use this reminder and lob an e-mail that costs us 5 seconds of our day and pat ourselves on the back for being a good friend, then we are falling into the trap of virtual friendship, in my opinion.

I think that Facebook can be a tool to help us "stay connected." there are real dnagers here though. The problem comes when the tool becomes the method.

(This is to say nothing of the inherent narcissism, but that is a different topic)

I post informative links on facebook like a blog...

I just wish "friends" were changed to "acquaintances"

Go ahead, acquaintance me on facebook...

>I just wish "friends" were changed to "acquaintances"

Ah, how absolutely true, Mick. Facebook is the great leveler of relationships (or, often, psuedo-relationships), for in the context of FB it matters little whether I've known a FB friend for a day, a year, or a lifetime, whether I have commonalities with him or not, or whether I've ever even met him—all is subsumed under the heading "FB friend," and no relationship is of any greater importance.

Regarding narcissism, not only does FB promote this to an extreme, but, oddly, the very availability of my friends' personal details ends up decreasing the amount I actually know about them. That is, many people devote much time and energy to updating their profile, and yet few people spend much time actually looking at that material. I know the most about the friends who tell me least about themselves on FB.

And, finally, my biggest complaint about FB: there is no way to determine who "unfriends" you. This would be one of the easiest programming solutions to implement, yet it's one of the most glaring absences from the environment. What does this say about the governing ethos of FB? Much, I think.

--Josh

FB doesn't tell you who unfriends you because FB promotes passive aggression.

-Clint

Here's my pride-filled penny's-worth..

Facebook IS all about ego-gratification in its public display of the number and kind of friends one has and all the great junk one can advertise about himself, not to mention it's displayed to all the right people in one's little, or big, circle, which brings up the idea of how absurd the usage of the term "friend" has become.

Well, my question is, what is so wrong with all that..I mean, how can one honestly avoid such things if he wants to "be" anybody on this earth. You can't just go around refusing to let anyone know who you are simply because you want to avoid being prideful. And then again, cannot any public appearance or display of anything personal have the potential to be self-gratifying? And then some people seem to relish in being mortified. But Facebook really is just a more contemporary and efficient way of writing a book about oneself, or writing letters to one's friends, or publising a newspaper ad for one's business endeavors and latest thoughts.

Anyway, whatever happened to beautiful letters that could display my beautiful handwriting; and I am no longer allowed to politely take a long period of time to respond to someone's message without seeming disinterested, which frustrates my ability to think clearly and respond the way I would like. And God forbid we would ever be thought of as dull and disinterested or that our confused and rambling response would be taken as representative of who we really are, hence the constant updating of Facebook profiles to better fit our "real" personalities.

So the Self will be ever struggling to the center of attention regardless of how we're communicating any part of our existence to the people around us. Internet advertisement and communication have just killed one bird in order to bring in a new one, one with, shall we say a louder voice and wider audience? And so our voices have become louder but our speeches are now terribly, hastily put together. This is the terrible crime. Time for thoughts has been sacrificed for thoughts in time, in time for whatever needs to be done next. Which reminds me, I have some shopping to do today.

And so, if you think that all I've said is a bunch of egotistical, rambling mish-mash about my own thoughts and a revealing of my false, effiminate desire for intimacy, which it probably is (gasp), blame it on Facebook and all it's internet cohorts. jk.

BTW, I have Facebook and Twitter, plus a blog, which I think y'all know? Still, I try to use them in ways that are directed to the building up of the Church.

And the reason I hesitated in saying "blogs" last Lord's Day during the sermon is that I was deciding whether or not to explain the differences between what I do here and what's usually done with FB and Twitter. But, after a long pause, I decided to let it be. I figured that, without saying anything, some would instinctively know the difference, while others would deny that difference even if I explained it.

Love,

I just realized that what I wrote has almost nothing to do with your post, Pastor Bayly, so I apologize. Yes, to be honest with everyone, using Facebook to stalk people is very common for myself, and many other women I'm sure. But I like to be able to get a clearer picture of who a person is through the stuff they choose to post about themselves. I think it can be a kind of "pornography" as you say for those who enjoy gossiping, but for those who only desire to know more about other people they don't know much about, I think it is a good thing, and in many cases a way God uses to warn women like myself about relationships that may be unwise, etc.

As far as revealing too much about oneself, well, howz about a verse from the Scriptures..? It's all going to be revealed eventually, but I do believe in using discernment with personal information.. hmmm.

"I just wish 'friends' were changed to acquaintances."

Couldn't you just self-police and only add your friends as, well, your friends on Facebook? I created a three-point criteria for who I add/accept as a Facebook friend. Every month I go through and purge all the people who no longer meet this criteria. This helps me mitigate, at least to a degree, the potential shallowness of Facebook usage.

FB promotes false intimacy and a host of other things. We tear down facades in small group to create them again on FB.

Yes, technology is great it allows total depravity to work at the speed of light. Sorta like Archimedes Lever.

FB is the narrow end of the wedge. I'll use it but I look for my kids to have proper caution, I don't think my 14 year old is ready and I will not parent based on fear of her disobeying.

-Clint

"FB promotes false intimacy"

Me and 500 of my closest friends disagree.

Dear Emily,

Since you're one of my FB friends, you'll realize that I, too, use FB quite a bit, and I think it's one of the most valuable tools we have. I know of no better way of keeping in basic touch with a vast number of people, and it's particularly good for giving glimpses of how people react to the mundane, or weighty, events of their lives. And, I too use it as a way of learning about other people, sometimes even covertly (but "stalking" it's not—it's a public forum, after all).

However, it's also important to understand something (and, given my knowledge of you, I think you do): simply because one can use a tool like FB with pure motives, without engaging in gossip, and without it feeding his pride, does not mean that that tool is not responsible for increasing these things. The fact that it is impossible in this life to refrain completely from selfishness and pride means we must be all the more careful about unwittingly using tools that feed them.

Or, to use your example, while FB usage may not be a kind of "pornography" for you, it's important to be aware of the lure it poses for others, including, perhaps, yourself. Even, as you put it, "those who only desire to know more about other people" can sometimes become "those who gossip," without even realizing it, because our hearts are wicked to a depth we don't even know.

Finally, there is quite a bit of difference between the narcissism that FB enables in our culture and the use of earlier forms of media (as you mentioned) to publicize oneself. Having said that, it is definitely true that the sin is in the heart, not the tool, and this is why we must be wise in neither condemning the tool outright nor accepting it wholesale. Just be careful.

And beautiful letters and handwriting? Just because FB doesn't value them doesn't mean you shouldn't—keep writing! Elegance, grace, and beauty must never be extinguished by fashion, even if it's FB fashion—so long as they don't turn into the same pride that FB threatens us with.

Warmly,

Josh

Josh - I agree with most of what you said (and often do), but the actions involved in "stalking" can indeed happen in a public place.

Most of the information on facebook about a person is put there by them, but it is certainly no longer the case that ALL such information is generated or even condoned by the person. Someone may say "but being on there constitutes condoning". I would say that person did not do through high school. Facebook is, at this moment in time, a part of our culture, of which we all participate. But ferreting out information about people without their consent, perhaps more specifically the looking of things that you can feel they would not necessarily share directly with you, would, I think, constitute "stalking".

Just as facebook levels all friendships to the same level, it allows the same level of information to all, even if we may not want people to know everything they can see.

"But ferreting out information about people without their consent, perhaps more specifically the looking of things that you can feel they would not necessarily share directly with you, would, I think, constitute "stalking"."

Kevin, I have to disagree. Only the people you invite or accept as friends have the ability to see your info if your Facebook is set to private.

Michael,

"Only the people you invite or accept as friends have the ability to see your info if your Facebook is set to private."

Not so. I've often thought of the fact that people I'm not friends with could find out how many daughters I have, what my daughters look like, and what the layout of my house is just by the pictures that friends of mine have on THEIR pages.

So do I live in fear of stalkers? No. But it does give me mixed feelings about facebook.

And Josh, I agree with Kevin. Doesn't most stalking happen in public?

Adam,

You should be notified every time you are tagged. You can then go in and remove the tags. I do it all the time. I would let your Facebook friends know that you do not approve of being tagged by them. Remove them if they do not respect your wishes. Also, here are 10 helpful Facebook Privacy tips: http://www.allfacebook.com/2009/02/facebook-privacy/

Michael - I hear your point. My last sentence was a half-baked fling at trying to answer that point. I was playing off Josh's point that all facebook friends receive the same level of information, whether we met him/her yesterday or the person is a biological sibling. That isn't how we share information in the real world, but it means all information is available to all people on your friends list.

Also, I was a fairly early adapter, where they didn't have such customization. But the fact that we now can put up the hedges is because there was such stalking going on.

Michael, you can remove tags, but that doesn't stop someone from posting pictures of you without your knowledge and putting your name in the caption. They don't have to tag you, and if they don't, you might never know that these pictures are floating around for the whole world to see.

Denver,

That isn't unique to Facebook. Isn't that true of the entire Internet?

If one goes through the effort of setting up a blog or website and posteing everyones pictures, then advertising said blog or website, sure. But Facebook is void of all hoops, and is much more bare and open. It makes it so easy, and there's no conscience about it. In one sense, it's just the poison of choice at the end of this decade, and I'm sure in another 2-3 years it will move on to something else.

I'm also sensitive to it right now because some of these ugly issues have hit somewhat close to home.

Michael, thanks for the link, I did some much needed FB cleaning up.

A person can become paranoid. I trust the Lord, who has protected Ginger and I from various dangerous people in our lives, yet we shouldn't invite trouble. FB is easier to stalk people on than most people realize. In addition, one woman we know recently had her 12 year old hack her ex-hub's FB so she could get bitter over his new honey.

Should FB be eliminated? No, but as Christians we should be very aware of the pitfalls, and I don't think we are.

What do most of you do regarding your children on FB?

-Clint

Michael,

Thanks for the link, brother. I'll check it out.

Here is a funny one. I just recently ran across a Neil Postman appreciation group on Facebook.

Dear Kevin and Adam (and others),

My point (which was really just an aside) was not that stalking cannot occur on FB, nor that stalking cannot occur in public. It certainly can, and often does.

However, I operate under the assumption that those who are on FB agree to a certain invasion of privacy—either explicitly, when they sign the user agreement, or implicitly, by the very nature of the social networking beast. Anyone who posts personal information should do so with the knowledge that it is no longer entirely personal.

Obviously, many who are on FB do not realize this, but I don't think this can justly be laid at the feet of those who do. The essential difference between "FB monitoring" and stalking, as I see it, is (1) that the latter can cause someone to feel threatened in a way that FB observing does not; and (2) that the stalker is seeking private information he has no claim to, whereas the "FB observer" is seeking information made public voluntarily, and to which he now has a claim, by virtue of the agreement we all sign.

Because of the dangers involved in FB, I think one particular application of biblical principles is to take special interest in watching out for our wives, children, friends, etc. who are unaware of how much their lives are being exposed, and to realize that FB has, in a sense, given us that many more neighbors to whom we ought to be Samaritans. And yes, for me, watching over their lives and souls sometimes involves making discreet FB observations.

Regarding photos, Adam, I think this a different matter, and I am concerned that details of our lives are publicized without our wishes. But, as I see it, this again ends up being the risk we take by being on FB. I, for one, hope I won't live to find the consequences of that risk greater than the benefits.

Warmly,

Josh

Things I like about facebook:

I like reading interesting and timely articles that close friends post. They are often articles that I am interested in and may not have found myself. My home page keeps everyone hidden except my closest friends, and yet I still prefer to check my home page than check about 20 blogs.

I enjoy looking at pictures of friends' kids. Once again, this is only close friends who I have kept in contact with. I do not look at the pictures of 200 peoples' kids.

I appreciate the funny or interesting YouTube postings that people link to. I often repost them for others and I love to go on there and laugh for a few minutes.

I like reading scripture quotes from friends as well as other spiritual quotes, C.H. Spurgeon, etc. This is not a replacement for reading the scripture myself, it is a way of interacting with people in which we share what scripture or quotes the Lord has been teaching us.

I enjoy gleaning home school tips from other moms as well as passing them along.

I like reading a funny story from another mom--something silly her toddler did, etc.

All told, I normally only spend about 10 minutes per day on facebook. The things I mentioned above, I don't do all of them everyday. Since we don't have a T.V., I feel don't tend to feel very guilty about that 10 minutes. Come 9:30 at night, my mind is often mush. Some people stare at the T.V. for an hour; I go on facebook and look at some cute babies, watch a funny YouTube and read an article or two.

I'm not trying to say that Facebook doesn't have it's dangers and misuses, but it doesn't seem to me to be such a difficult thing to you use in a moderate way.

"Regarding photos, Adam, I think this a different matter"

This is a concern for me as many pictures of my daughter are posted, even though she doesn't have FB. Also, I noticed you can see photos of friends of friends who are not your friends.

"I enjoy gleaning home school tips from other moms as well as passing them along."

I've seen some of these things come across my wall. I've also noticed how many wives of friends who've said things like, "You had *WHO* over?! Oh, I could never have them over - they're very clean and I'm embarrassed to have them into my messy house" etc.

This is silly but it still happens, often! This is what I mean about the facades we tear down in small group. A woman has had a good day of housework and posts on FB but others read it and think that this is their everyday life and it creates false impressions of grandeur, and really, isn't it sorta intended to?

Men, I suppose, post scripture and insights to look like sages ... or post on blogs - except me, I'm without vanity, I always have pure motives.

FB isn't evil in itself but it just encourages many evils.

-Clint

I personally think that Facebook should have a category for "enemies" and another one for "bitter enemies." :^)

I was just thinking today that the likes of Facebook reflect our shallow relationships, rather than producing them. Most of my friends on Facebook are shallow relationships anyway. Facebook just allows the shallowness to be quantified.

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