Monday, August 10, 2009

Is Facebook worth it?

I track a lot my students interaction on the social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace. I think it’s important that I keep up with the their lives. It also comes in handy for announcements, follow ups and what not. One thing that I don’t like is the heartache I feel when I come across something that I know I shouldn’t. So I get leery of being on facebook, I dread getting on there sometimes.

For example. The other day I was just browsing thru facebook and saw a status update from one of my students. In this status was a swear word. Simple. They should not be using that language. I don’t care if you are typing it and not “actually” saying the words. It’s still the same. But there it was there. The problem that I am having is that I get so fearful of looking at facebook because seeing that stuff just breaks my heart. Brings me down. I feel like I can’t call them out on every little detail because I don’t want to get to the point where they think all I do is spy on them and they can’t freely live their lives.

It is not even about such things as language, or entertainment choices. So many of them use it as a vent of frustration. Its hard enough keeping students in your group focused and away from the drama. When someone vents or talks about someone publicly on FB, its makes that task even harder. The emotional status updates that shoot out on there are heartbreaking. Most of the time, they regret it.

It just brings me down to see students just either make wrong choices or go back to their old lives. I love facebook and have reconnected with a lot of old friends thru it. I have been able to get our neighbor and her daughter to visit our church. It can be used for ministry. But it also is a window into my students lives that I sometime do not want to look into. They need to get to the point where they aren’t trying hide things because Jimmy can see it. The need to realize:

1. It breaks the heart of Jesus.
2. He is there and sees it all the time.

It is vitally important that ministers stay current and up to date with the way students spend their time and interact. Most of my parents have no clue what facebook is, how to use it and WHAT THEIR CHILD IS DOING ON THERE. Social networking right now is a great way to stay in touch, reconnect, and even minister. But there a side that I wish I can avoid. But ministry (especially students) isn’t all rainbows, sunshine and sausages.


sierra<3_4:12 said...

this nearly brought tears to my eyes. I have used my facebook for wrong reasons and I want to take time out to tell you im so sorry. I am sorry for everything you have seen or even heard. Im going to tell Jake and everyone the same thing, and ecspecially Jesus. You have made me realize so much and i want to thank you so much. I always kinda knew i wasnt doing what i was supposed to be on facebook, but this blog has really opened my eyes and made me realize that it is time to change. thanks Jimmy, love ya<3
sierra stormes

Deanne said...

As a mother of one of your former students, I wanted to applaud your comment. I think adults and youth alike should realize that while they may think no one is watching, God is always watching. Maybe if more people stopped to think about this, they might not make a different choice. Deanne

StLphotogirl said...

I think that the worst thing about Facebook is that it is hard enough to try and heal the hurt of hurtful things that you have said without broadcasting those things for the whole world to see. Yeah you can delete the comment but even if you delete it a half second after you posted someone was on. Someone saw it. Come on you know it's true. So now not only did you say something hurtful, you said it loud and proud in Arial size 12 for everyone to see and repeat and gossip about. Forget even trying to take that one's too far gone.

The Bearded Weiss said...

You hit it on the nose. Being involved with people in this new frontier of instant social networking is messy.

I think we now have to train subsequent generations that posting a "vent" on Facebook is the same as saying something out loud in the school hallway. Actually, now that I think of it, more people will know about the post than about something said out loud. How upside down is that?

toggin said...

I think that Facebook, along with all the tools we have available to us, is worth it. BUT...we have to be responsible enough to use it wisely. The Bible says that "...what comes out of your mouth, is what is in your heart...", or maybe we should say ...what you write, comes from your, whenever you put something on your social network tool that is off-color, rude, vulgar, mean, or just plain stupid...everyone can see it and you don't appear, in their eyes, as a Child of the Living God. You appear as just another hypocrite. We need to do EVERTHING in love. The same love that our savior has for us.

toggin said...
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