I don’t think that it’s the face that is annoying. Nor is it the frown. Or the wobbly face. Or whatever-that-thing-with-the-@ is meant to mean (seriously, anyone?). None of them in and of themselves upset me.
I think that it’s more what they represent:
We have to put a “face” to our communication because we are no longer face-to-face…
That is what winds me up I think.
It feels like we’re all fighting hard to communicate and build community with each other and are somehow doing the opposite. We think that we’re getting better at being community because we have all this social media, when actually what we’ve done is to isolate ourselves.
We in the developed world are better connected than ever before and somehow more lonely (check the stats). We have more information about and access to each other’s lives and yet somehow are more separate.
I find it pretty strange that I know that my “friend” from a holiday three years ago recently had their wisdom teeth removed, but don’t know what’s happening in my neighbour’s house.
Knowing someone is more than knowing about them; community is so much more than just information.
How can we hold a grieving hand online? Or brush away a post-breakup tear? Or crack up with those gut-burning belly laughs? Or look into each other’s eyes? Or sit in comfortable silence, just enjoying being together?
Let’s face it, we all want to know and be known, because God built that desire into us. He intended that we do life together.
You, me, all of us, are made for God and made for each other. We are made for community with him and community with each other.
I’m meant to know about how crap you’re feeling – not though some passive-aggressive Facebook status, but through sitting down over dinner and hearing about it. I’m meant to hear your doubts about faith, not because your twitter account tells me so, but because we read and think and pray together. I’m meant to hear that exciting news about you getting into uni/getting married/having a baby/eating a nice dinner because I’m THERE with you.
Jesus had three best mates, nine other close friends, a whole bunch of people he hung out with and didn’t once ever tweet.
It’s ok not to have 1200 Facebook friends. You are not made up of your social media stats. You are not defined by the number of retweets you receive. Your value is not in who follows you (or who doesn’t).
Real community starts offline, because it relies on so much more than an online world can offer. Our online world should point us back to that offline community.
So, next time you are feeling down, don’t change your Facebook status – spend some time with your best friend. Next time you have some joyful news, first share it with those people around you rather than Twitter.
And next time you’re angry at me, know that emoticons are a poor substitute for your hurt and pain – instead, come and shout at me. I’ll love you for it.
Soul Action Project Manager