We have often been asked why we are not doing any social networking. There are three primary reasons. The first two are important and third is really at the heart of this ministry.
1) We don’t have the time administratively to oversee anything but email at this time. Perhaps in the future when we have more help either through volunteers or paid staff we will be able to take on ‘facing and tweeting!’
2) We have been concerned about privacy issues with social networking. Consumer Reports June 2010 issue had a great article on page 24 and it seems to confirm our concerns. The report states that 2 out of 3 US households use social networks. They did a survey of 2,000 online households this past January and found the following:
* Within the past year, 9% of social network users experienced some form of abuse, such as malware infections, scams, identity theft, or harrassment.
* Many social network users are naive about risks. Forty percent had posted their full birth date, exposing them to identity theft. Twenty-six percent of Facebook users with children had potentially exposed them to predators by posting the children’s photos and names. One in four household users were not aware of the service’s privacy controls.
* Among all computer users, established threats, such as spyware and phishing e-mail scams, persist at high levels and virus infections increased significantly since last year. Forty percent of online households surveyed reported that they had at least one virus infection in the past two years.
The report lists SEVEN THINGS to stop doing nowon Facebook:
1) Using a weak password
2) Leaving your full birth date in your profile
3) Overlooking useful privacy controls
4) Posting your child’s name in a caption
5) Mentioning that you’ll be out of town
6) Letting search engines find you
7) Permitting youngsters to use Facebook unsupervised
We encourage you to obtain a full copy of the Consumer Reports article and take a look at all the data.
3) The final reason I hesitate to take on social networking is that I believe our technological expertise has lead us further into the world of fatherlessness. We are now seeing the emergence of a second generation of people who have experienced no earthly father’s love. In my generation, we grew up with board games and other activities as our recreation. We relied on personal visits, telephones, even letter writing to keep in touch. Our communities were usually built around churches and schools. Even if we didn’t have model fathers or mothers we at least had neighbors. Our relationships were personal. Today we live around text messages, chat rooms, iPods, Game Boys, X Boxes, internet cafes and coffee shops filled with folks working on their own laptops, not necesssarily interacting with each other but feeling the need to be connected through a social setting. The danger in all this is that we can have relationships without any personal interaction.
The Kingdom of God is built on relationships. I believe that Father has given us the great technology we have today, but I also believe that we should be asking Him how and when to use it! I sense strongly that we are moving more and more away from interpersonal relationships rather than concentrating on how we can build Godly, healthy relationships. I’m praying each day for the Lord to help me build His kind of relationships that include personal touch, eye contact and voice contact through softly spoken words. Perhaps the day will come when I will move out on social networks, but I will also work hard not to let them become a substitute in building healthy, strong personal relationships with those Father brings across my path.