As my 100+ Facebook friends may or may not know, I've said good-bye to Facebook. (My posts disappeared when I did.)
Facebook proved to be too much of a gossip fest and I've seen too many hearts broken by careless comments. Also, the whole "de-friending" issue is problematic. I'm not much for slamming doors, at least not since I slammed one in anger many years ago. (The slam was insufficient to the anger level and the next thing I knew, I had ripped the door completely off its hinges.)
That being said, de-friending is akin to slamming a door right in someone's face. It's kind of hard to un-slam a door, and I suppose it is equally as hard to re-friend.
Even though I realized early-on my particular online vulnerabilities to slamming doors and hurt feelings, I maintained the account because I was an administrator on the Gazette's Facebook page and without a personal account, I couldn't access the corporate account. The Gazette's page will have to make do with one less administrator.
Unlike some others on Facebook, I had no expectation of privacy online. Which also is why I don't bank online, shop online or conduct any financial transactions online. It seems foolhardy to jeopardize my resources by putting all of that information out there where anyone can access it and where those of ill-intent can exploit it. Let's face it folks, man cannot be trusted.
Online vulnerability is certainly not limited to financial matters. There are other predators out there and we deny their existence at our own peril. The lonely are vulnerable and if their vulnerability is exposed online, you can bet there is someone out there ready to exploit that vulnerability. The more information garnered from a careful perusal of the Web, the easier the exploitation.
Adolescents have particular vulnerabilities online. In that difficult transitional state from childhood to adulthood, they are still discovering who they are and who they are meant to be. Each day brings new challenges and each day brings new disappointments.
Sadly, long before the advent of social networking sites, instant messaging and online interaction, predators have seen that vulnerability and exploited it. The Web simply makes it easier and allows the predators to cast ever-widening nets -- because on the Web, you can be whomever you want to be, or rather, you can be whomever you want people to think you are. In fact, a recent news story detailed that deviants are exploiting children on Facebook, posting photographs to entice others of their ilk.
There have been too many instances where something said online has resulted in the aforementioned door slams, and too many instances when the hurt inflicted online has resulted in self-destructive acts, even suicide. Need I remind you? Man cannot be trusted.
Social media is well and good in its place. But I'm going back to pen and ink. Putting pen to paper pulls you away from the computer screen and requires a bit more thought than that required to make a quick comment, share a posting, or spy online. The temptation to play in that playground proved to be too much for me. The posts, the photos, the secrets that aren't secret at all, were seldom beneficial and frequently caught me in a snare of bitterness.
Taking one of my final posts on Facebook to heart --
"'Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil's dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil's rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst; but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you. He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself) which Satan's or God's servants may start to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation. If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, 'I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do'.' -AUTHOR UNKNOWN"
-- I'm bidding Facebook a final farewell.
"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..." Hebrews 12:1, 2 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him together.