By TEO MEI PING
THE FACEBOOK FEVER has infected the world over and is here to stay. Alongside other social networking websites such as Twitter, Friendster, LinkedIn, hi5, Doostang and MySpace, Facebook has injected a new streak of vibrancy into the virtual world after the hype of blogging.
The perfect tool for expanding one’s social circle and keeping in touch with friends old and new, Facebook has also made organising events fast and fuss-free. Blogs on the other hand offer a platform for public viewing of one’s personal life and thoughts. When has freedom of expression ever got this close?
These innovations boast of enormous opportunities for Christian organisations and individuals alike. Just as Facebook users are identified by the various groups they belong to, Christians across different churches or campuses can band together in a particular cause or to simply deepen ties with one another.
In a battle to reach curious individuals who have little or no knowledge of the Good News and dispel misconceptions and allegations made against the Gospel, this medium has opened new doors for us. What may easily be dismissed as mere gossips or malicious talk may well provide a sneak-peak into the struggles and insecurities of those who are crying out for some attention.
In a search for answers, youth today instinctively turn to the Internet including responses penned on blogs. As we recognise the reach and influence of our blog entries, why not throw in some positive thoughts or words of thanksgiving – on top of the moaning and groaning – that can serve as a source of inspiration or comfort?
Amidst the mind-boggling functions of Facebook, we pay little attention to the subtle dangers which lurk beyond. Users are urged to take personality tests and dabble in daily horoscope, tarot, fortune-teller, etc. These gimmicks are the perfect form of amusement. However, should we become too steeped in what we discover and confine ourselves to a box, are we doing justice to our Creator who crafted us to be great potentials in His kingdom?
Perhaps the gravest of all unseen dangers is that these sites are not merely about connecting and reconnecting; they are a platform for self-branding and deception. Humans constantly seek approval from the world and with a little help from Facebook, one can determine where they fit in various categories: cutest, sexiest, smartest, etc.
Through friend-polls, one can also instantly find out what his friends think of his new flame, haircut, and so on. Just as money made wealth quantifiable, social networks have provided a metric for popularity. In a frenzy to prove our stature by depicting a slightly different image of who we really are, do we sometimes forget our true worth as Christians?
Despite the excitement and opportunities that lie ahead, a misstep can turn the New Media into a frivolous and time-consuming affair. Where “superpokes” and “sheep-throwing” (Facebook terminologies) go as far as the computer screen permits, why not show some genuine concern the good old way. You know what I mean!
Teo Mei Ping, 20, is a member of