It started off like any other Monday. I was doing my normal Monday routine. I was putting pen to paper (actually fingers to keyboard) on this week's sermon. Some sermon's come faster than others, and this one was proving to be a bit more difficult. Occasionally though, I would look at Facebook. I look at Facebook because on there I get news stories from CBC, CTV, BBC, and other news sites. Maybe a story in the news might inspire me.
As I was writing though on Monday, something happened. I noticed that I could not get on to Facebook. I thought maybe there was something wrong with my computer. So I tried again. Facebook would not load. Then I got an email from CBC News saying that there was an outage for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down. I decided to go back and finish my sermon.
Later on, I had finished my sermon. I decided to check on Facebook again. Still nothing worked. I thought to myself why do I use Facebook. I use it to follow the news. I use it to look at clever jokes and thoughts that people post. I also use it to keep up with friends from all over the world. Why write letters, spend money on stamps, and wait on the post office, when I can see what my friends are doing in a flash of an eye. I do have a couple of trivia games that I play on Facebook. I use Facebook to post some of my travel photos, not to brag I hope, but just to let my friends know what I am up to. I also use Facebook to post this blog so others might hear my thoughts. I probably post more than some people. But hopefully I don't post so much that people think, "Oh no, not him again." I don't feel the need to post a picture of each meal I have eaten nor would I post a daily picture of my goldfish (if I indeed had a gold fish). Some people like to share all those things on Facebook and that's fine. It is up to me whether I look at it or not.
Could I live without Facebook. Sure. Without Facebook, I would get my news somewhere else. I could put photos of my trips either on a PowerPoint or have them remain on my phone and just show them to people who were interested. I would get my funny jokes from others through xerox copies or when COVID is over, I could listen to their jokes in person. I could start writing cards and letters again and trust the post office once more. I could share my thoughts on a bulletin board or just leave it for Sunday morning. So yes I could live without Facebook.
I know others could live without Facebook as well. All of us have seen how Facebook can be abused. For some it has become a place to share horrible conspiracy theories. You can bet that the idea of using horse vaccine to cure COVID would have remained a very local idea had it not been for Facebook. The Flat Earth society would have remained an unknown group without Facebook. Violent groups like the Proud Boys and other extremist organizations would not have such a public forum to voice their ideas. So maybe if Facebook was gone, it might not be such a bad idea.
Facebook can also be a timewaster. There are some good news articles on there. There are some must reads that I could not find anywhere else. However there is a lot of chaff. It sometimes takes a lot of gleaning to get to the good information. I know some people who spent hours each day glued to their phone, scrolling their Facebook feed.
So Facebook is a blessing and a curse. It is a wonderful tool to connect with old friends. It is an easy way to connect. But that means it can spread good reliable news and theories developed by someone with no training. It can be a good use of time or a waste of time. Monday's outage gave many of us a chance to reflect on whether we need Facebook or not. For me, I will continue to use it for now, but I will continue to evaluate its usefulness. Blessings.