Is Facebook Playing Us?


Do you ever get the feeling that you're being played? Like, you go to the store a week before Valentine's day, and suddenly you've never seen so many hearts or boxes of chocolate before. Um, if I wanted to get my honey something, I would've known where to find the chocolate section, thank you very much. Or, another example, I was reading the Hunger Games books, and was about to start the third, when I realized everyone was saying that they absolutely could not put the books down. Suddenly, I felt the overwhelming urge that I didn't want to be controlled by media like that, and so took a one year hiatus before reading the third. Perhaps it's a control issue I have to not want to do what media expects me to do, but advertising and media classes in college have prepped me to be aware of tactics to grab people so they feel like they must keep going. I do what I can to avoid these schemes, because I don't like being played.

What I'm about to say is ironic, because I plan to post this article to Facebook, but have you ever had that "being played" feeling with Facebook? Do you find yourself wanting to keep going back to it, almost like an addiction? Whoever thought "Facebook fasting" would be more than something to giggle at the thought of? But it has become a legitimate thing that people do in order to get out of the grips of this media outlet for a season. 

Today I read an article that made me even more aware of how Facebook feeds into what we like and want to see, and just keeps the happy posts coming, of course to keep us coming back to it! The article (found here) describes how Facebook doesn't show us posts of things it knows we normally wouldn't like or click on, and keeps the kitten videos (i.e. anything we enjoy) coming in full supply. In fact, if you check Facebook every other hour, you could easily be entertained with new newsfeed that you will probably enjoy seeing. And not only that, it is addicting to post something yourself. Unlike real life, you get people paying attention to you and talking to you constantly about the subject you choose. It is constant affirmation, in a world where people you meet on the street don't even look you in the eye. Of course we're going to be craving more. The article eludes to the fact that we are, indeed, the consumers of this "free" product, called Facebook.

Is this really a problem to worry about? I'm up there with all of the other addicts of Facebook. I love seeing friends post pictures, or say funny things. I like to put my opinion or photos out there and have people affirm me. And yes, I thoroughly enjoy those kitten videos. Recently, I took off my Facebook app from my phone in order to have it not be so easily accessible. I've found that I actually haven't missed it, but feel not so controlled by it. I've considered getting rid of it totally, but I would miss keeping up with old friends.

My challenge to you in this area would be to just free yourself a bit from the grips Facebook can have on you. Try not to post more than, say, once a day. Try not to check it more than, perhaps, a few times a day. I'm not calling for legalism, but asking you to consider self-discipline in this area. And I'm going to be right there with you, attempting to be more disciplined in my Facebook use. And if a Facebook (Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) fast seems in order, by all means, do it. 

We are called to not be enslaved to anything, other than Christ. He is too precious to settle for lesser masters. Consider cutting back on your media intake. And, on the positive side, pour into your soul more of what truly nourishes it - words of life from Scripture!

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