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The Church of Facebook – Community or Connection?

Church of Facebook

Photo Credit: By ChurchOfFacebook.com

Community is an integral part of life. It’s hard to believe that Facebook started out in 2004 – in seven years, over 750 million individuals have become a part of this social networking phenomenon. What are these people seeking to get from their experience on Facebook? In his book The Church of Facebook, author Jesse Rice seeks to determine the motivating factor(s). One of the main issues he raises is can you really have true community online – without having face-to-face relationships?

This is a great read that I highly recommend. I enjoyed it more and more with every chapter. A few take aways I received from reading Rice’s book:

  • “At the root of human existence is our great need for connection: connection with one another, with our own hearts and minds, and with a loving God who intended intimate connection with us from the beginning. Connection is the very core of what makes us human and the very means by which we express our humanity.”
  • On Facebook we communicate to get a reaction. It’s not an immediate interaction.
  • People tend to have a “whatever goes” mentality when it comes to Facebook – saying and doing what they want without taking into consideration how it may effect others.
  • Being friends on Facebook is not a demanding relationship. You click a button and that’s it – you don’t have to do any maintenance on the friendship.
  • Don’t define what a friend should be for you. Find out what others need in a friend and be that for them.
  • Which is more important – being authentic or being liked?
  • We have become a society that is too focused on what is new instead of what is now.

I love how the author uses the story of the woman at the well and how Jesus established a relationship with her based on her needs – correlating this with the whole Facebook experience. We tend to get on Facebook and play the comparison game by looking at how successful or active our “friends” are and either looking down on them because they don’t have what we do or we wish we had what they have. We also use Facebook and other social media venues to create a facade of who we think others want us to be and project that as our “real” self.

Rice even gives some great examples of how to enhance your Facebook experience – these alone are with the price of the book. The Church of Facebook is a must read for anyone in social media or ministry (or both).

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  1. August 31, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Some very interesting points, and well made. One point not mentioned, however, is how it is bringing people BACK together who wouldn’t otherwise stay connected, which is a rather beautiful phenomenon. Old friends and cousins, for instance. So it’s building bridges back to people and giving us a platform for relating to these people we otherwise wouldn’t/couldn’t easily have.

    NICE post!

    • August 31, 2011 at 10:45 am

      Thank you for your comment Janie! The book does mention a little bit about reconnect with old friends and such, but its main focus is more on the friendships we have exclusively through Facebook and how superficial they can be if we don’t try to connect outside of social media.

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