What are you doing about Facebook these days? Yesterday, I reached out to a few friends to ask about their Facebook strategy, assuming there is such a thing. I mean, Facebook has evolved, has it not? Social media has evolved. The Internet has evolved. The world keeps revolving and evolving.
Facebook has become my primary means of online communication, which says a lot about my age and gender and view of the world. The younger generation has moved on to social media platforms I can’t figure out.
I’m not into numbers. I have no idea how many people subscribe to this blog or visit it or read what I write here. I do know people are here, though, and I’m grateful for that. So, thank you.
In the world of social media, however, it feels as if the conversation has shifted and more people (who share some of my same demographic details) are hanging out and engaging in conversation on Facebook and Twitter. I don’t spend much time on Twitter, so I can’t really speak to that space, but Facebook feels schizophrenic to me these days. People are either mad as hell about something and they’re not going to take it anymore, or their worlds are in perfect order, with sunsets and appropriate bible verses artfully overlaying every moment. Scrolling through my newsfeed, my brain feels disjointed and interrupted.
So, I’ve been considering leaving Facebook, because it frustrates me. I’m not all that afraid of verbal confrontation, but I want a conversation to go somewhere. I want to elevate the dialogue. I want to do things differently and press beyond the status quo.
These things matter to me, because I believe in the Body of Christ. I believe we can be better. I believe we can set an example for those who are watching us. I believe we can have meaningful conversations about subjects like racism and police brutality and sexual orientation and women in ministry and climate change and loud children in restaurants, and still sound as if we love each other. Perhaps I’ve lost my mind.
I’ve toyed with the idea of staying away from conversations about race on Facebook, and only posting about things like the snowflake hydrangea that bloomed unexpectedly in my front yard while I was away. But that would make me feel flattened to a single dimension and I think it would be a disservice to the truth of the matter which is that racism is a real thing and the Church is not exempt.
But, I’ve been wondering if Facebook is still a viable venue for elevating that particular conversation. So, I asked a few of my friends what they thought. They had some interesting suggestions, but nothing was really scratching where I was itching. We were messaging with each other and I just wasn’t feeling settled. I was thinking that maybe it was finally time for me to stop talking about these tough things and just go with light and easy and put a bible verse on it. But then, Facebook did me a solid.
When we were younger, people who share some of my demographics used to say, solid a lot. We said it as an affirmation, sort of in place of saying “yes” or “okay” or “I understand.” We’d also say, “She did me a solid,” which meant she came through for me, or she did me a favor that meant a lot to me. Yesterday, while I was trying to figure out whether or not to stay on Facebook, Facebook kept showing me one of those, “Here’s what you posted on Facebook two years ago, today. Share it with your friends,” things. I kept scrolling past it, because I’m probably a little bit jaded these days. But late yesterday, just after I told H I was headed up to bed, I clicked on that blast from the past story, and I was glad I did. It was called Hangups, and you can read it, here. It’s weird how sometimes the words you write come back to you and speak right to where you are in that moment (and when that happens, just go with it and try not to get caught up in a conversation with yourself about whether or not you’ve regressed).
At the very end of that Hangups post, I mention a conversation I recorded with Marcus and Dan, two of my friends from the High Calling. Yesterday, I didn’t think that conversation was available to view any longer, but I was wrong. I found a link to the recorded conversation and it affirmed what I believe. It affirmed that we can have significant conversations about tough topics, and we can do it while being graceful with one another. It also affirmed that, when it comes to racism in the North American Church, we still have a lot of progress to make. We are behind the curve, and that inspires me to keep setting the table and keep inviting people to the conversation, wherever that may be.
So, I’ll keep posting stuff here, but I’ll also keep hanging out on Facebook—for now, at least. I’ll continue to seek ways to elevate the conversation about race and the North American Church, and I’ll keep trying to hammer out a strategy for calling us to something more. I am confident we can do it. How about you?
Some questions for you: Do you have a Facebook strategy? What does it entail? Who are some people using social media to engage conversations around tough topics in a productive manner? When you feel yourself getting angry about something you see in the news or online, what’s most often at stake for you, there? What, or who, are you trying to protect?