Launched in 2004, Facebook has exploded to a reported 1.71 billion active users. Facebook’s stated purpose is to help users “connect and share” with the people in their lives. The ubiquity of Facebook and other social media, and the fact that the expressed purpose of social media is to “share” about ourselves, our life and our interests gives Christians the opportunity—and the responsibility—to ask ourselves a very important question. What do we “like”?
Nearly 57 percent of the population of the United States uses Facebook, and it is estimated that 1 in every 13 people in the world have a Facebook account. The average Facebook user has about 130 “friends” on Facebook. About 62 percent of people rely on Facebook for their daily news. In a typical hour, about 3 million links are shared, 6 million “friend” requests are accepted, and about 9 million messages are sent! More than 350 million people actively access Facebook via their mobile phones and more than 80 percent of Facebook users live outside of the United States. The average user is connected to about 80 community pages, groups and events, and about half a million new profiles are made every day.
On one hand, Facebook (like any social media) is simply technology. As technology, Facebook can be used rightly or wrongly, just as television or the telephone may be used rightly or misused. On the other hand, Facebook—like other social networking platforms such as Google+, orkut, Qzone, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.—is different from older media.
Consider: What movies, books, vacations, adventures, music, recreation or entertainment do we share with others through our social media accounts? Are they Christian and godly? Do our social media profiles, posts, links, walls, interests and “likes” easily identify us as true Christians?
Now, let us ask ourselves: What Tomorrow’s World booklets, telecasts, articles, commentaries, or online sermons have inspired, comforted, or encouraged us? What Bible passages have we meditated on lately? Are these messages also important to us? If we love God, His law, and the Truth (cf. Psalms 119:97; John 14:15; 1 John 5:2–3), then do we also “like” the Truth? If we use social networks, then to answer this question all we have to do is look at our own online profiles.
Perhaps we just have not thought that our social network may be interested? But if God has opened our minds to understand precious truths, is this not worth sharing? Perhaps we are worried about our appearance? But Christ warns that if we “deny” Him (arneomai, which can also include disregard or neglect), He will also “deny” us (Matthew 10:33). Or, perhaps we feel that our social profile does not represent our true heart? Yet Luke 6:45 says that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (or “posts” or “likes”), and that we are not to love the things of the world (1 John 2:15).
Whether we use social media or not, God knows our hearts (1 Chronicles 28:9), and we all will be held accountable for our every word and action (Matthew 12:36; Hebrews 4:13; 1 Peter 4:5)—whether spoken, written or posted. If we do not choose to use social media, we can let our light shine in other ways. But, if we do choose to use social media, then we should ask ourselves what our social profile says about us, because our profile tells the world—and Christ—a lot.
Jesus encourages us to let our light shine (cf. Luke 11:33)! Do we let our light shine, or is that socially inconvenient? Perhaps we should not only ask “What would Jesus do?” but perhaps we should also ask, “What would Jesus ‘like’?”
For more, please read “Facebook: friend or foe?” And, for further consideration about how Christians will love and proclaim the Truth in every facet of their life, please read “What Is the ‘Work’ of God?”