“Facebook is of the deh-bil, Bobby Boucher!”
Do you have a Facebook account? What about Twitter? Google+? Instagram? LinkedIn? That one with the pins…Pin-something? Are you still on MySpace?
It wasn’t long ago that these staples in world culture were only dreams in a programmer’s brain. Now, it seems that everything revolves around social media.
Have you ever heard people who say, “Well Facebook is just evil and nothing good can come out of being on there,”? I started thinking: is it that bad? Is it that evil? Is social media the beginning of the end of our civilization?
The answer is…wait for it: NO! Not at all! Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets are morally neutral. There is nothing inherently evil in those tools. And that’s just what they are: tools. The tool simply reflects the user wielding it. If you’re a carpenter then a hammer in your hands is a very constructive tool. In my hands, not so much. The tool simply reflects the user.
In the same way, many people misquote 1 Timothy 6:10 when they say that, “money is the root of all kinds of evil.” Money is an inanimate object. It is neither morally good nor bad. Money, like social media, is a tool. The actual passage says, “For the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” (emphasis mine). That love comes from within a person. Paul says that love of money in someone’s heart is a root of all kinds of evil. But it starts with a person. And it starts on the inside.
Here’s the deal: social media is simply a very clear reflection of our society and culture. It reflects who we are. And how people use Facebook and Twitter reflect a bit of who they are. Many complain. Some argue. Some advertise political ideas. Some use it as a bully pulpit to call out one person in a very public way. Many are just downright negative about everything in the world. This is a reflection of the person, not the tool.
Now, it may seem as though I’m trying to endorse or advertise for these social media outlets. (For the record, I’m not getting any kickbacks from Mark Zuckerberg but would talk to him if he wanted.) But we have to be careful not to throw away the hammer simply because someone hit his thumb with it once.
There are actually people in the world who know how to truly use social media to do great things. Many are using social media in order to make a positive difference in our world. There are these bright spots online that challenge us to be better. And (arguably the best perk of all) with this amazing tool, we now have the ability to get the greatest message the world has ever heard (and some who have yet to hear) across the planet in a nanosecond! The message of Jesus’ forgiveness and redemption can be shared with the press of a button. What an amazing tool!
So put some parameters on your social media in order to protect yourself. Be vigilant while you’re working with these tools. But don’t be afraid of the tools. In the hands of an artist something beautiful can emerge.