Yesterday when Facebook and its family of apps had an outrage that lasted for five hours, I didn’t know about it until it was around the time that Facebook and the other apps were restored. Why? Because I was busy living my life. The situation made me think back to the time of my life before Facebook was a thing.
What did I do before I joined Facebook? While I’ve had several part-time jobs during my marriage to Ray, I’ve mostly been a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. Below is a funny pic of Leah, Ray, and Heather when we went to Dunn’s Cider Mill for cider doughtnuts and for Heather to take Leah’s homeschooling senior pics with a good camera. That was fun!
Most of my days pre-Facebookwere spent teaching my daughters, cleaning the house (I used to be quite obsessive about this and Ray would complain that I bought more cleaning supplies than food), running errands, grocery shopping, reading, and journaling.
The reason I even got online on the internet was because Ray encouraged me to get a website to sell my books and to promote myself as a speaker to get paid speaking gigs. In fact, most of my book sales and my bookings as a speaker have come by word of mouth and from Facebook.
Later, I wanted to join Facebook to keep tabs on our 3 grown daughters and see what they’re up to! Now they’re hardly on there at all. Why? Because they are busy living THEIR lives! (I now resort to texting or calling them to see what they’re doing and have lunch or coffee with them, at least once every couple of weeks.)
Some younger people aren’t using Facebook at all. Millenials and Gen Zers are getting off Facebook and they’re going other places like Instagram and Snapchat. They’re doing this because of an influx of older people on there, competition from more mobile and visual-friendly platforms like Instagram, and Facebook’s privacy scandals. I know that our granddaughters Annabelle and Violet use Snapchat instead of Facebook.
Facebook is just one fish in the sea, but it has approximately 3 billion monthly users and many people use it daily for their online business. That’s why yesterday was so unsettling for people world-wide. [This is just one more reason to have a personal mailing list for your business! If you’re not already subscribed here at my website BethJones.net, please sign up today with your name and email address at the top of the page on the right hand side to keep connected with me.]
But there’s a lot of reasons that people love to use social media. Some of the top 10 reasons are:
- to stay in touch with your family and your friends;
- make new friends or networking connections;
- stay up to date with news and current events;
- share your pics or videos with others;
- express your opinions;
- research products to buy;
- find funny or entertaining content;
- and to fill up your spare time.
I remember several years ago when one of my close friends Kim told me that she wasn’t on and didn’t use Facebook. Her husband Pat quipped, “She thinks Facebook is the anti-Christ.” While she doesn’t really believe that, she does think there’s a lot of bad things on it. (I agree!) But she told me that her primary reason was, “I just don’t have time for Facebook.”
What?! I was shocked. I couldn’t believe that someone didn’t have a Facebook account, since at that time I used it every day! However, these days, I am on there sporadically. I can live without Facebook and other social media sites!
My friend Kim is onto something. She’s too busy and productive living her own real life, to advance God’s Kingdom. She’s an amazing wife and mother. She homeschools her children and does so with excellence. She works at a job outside the home. Kim is extremely frugal. She’s a wonderful cook. Her house is always immaculately clean.
She even has chickens to lay fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning! Kim is a devout believer. She has many spiritual gifts that she operates in, such as wisdom, teaching, discernment, healing, faith, and prophecy. She’s truly the closest to a Proverbs 31 woman whom I’ve ever met. I admire her so much and I wish that I was more like her!
I’m not saying don’t use social media. (We can’t all be a P31 woman like Kim!) But I don’t believe that God wants us to JUST have “a Facebook life”, a virtual one. He wants us to have a real life. Real, deep, meaningful relationships with our family, our friends, and others.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve met some of the best friends in my life on Facebook and on other social media platforms. I have received great speaking opportunities from Twitter and Facebook! (Please contact me here if you need a speaker for your women’s conference, retreat, or online event or you know someone who does!)
I’ve been able to coach aspiring speakers and authors from connecting with them on social media, encouraging and helping them to share their hearts’ unique, powerful messages.
Yes, I’ve met AMAZING people online, and maybe I would have never met them in my “real life.” One of them is my precious friend Rochelle (“Shelley”) Valasek, who I had the privilege of friending on Facebook and meeting face to face here in Missouri, when she traveled here to speak at my women’s conference several years ago.
Facebook IS “the internet” in certain nations! Years ago, when I traveled to Kenya, Africa to speak and my plane had an emergency landing in Iceland (yes, Iceland!) because a man was having a heart attack on the plane on the way there, I had been experiencing internet difficulties at the airport in Instanbul, Turkey.
I couldn’t get ahold of my husband Ray to let him know that I’d missed my flight and would be delayed arriving. He was already in Kenya ahead of me, since we took different flights there. When my plane landed unexpectedly in Iceland, I had a few moments of internet service there on the airport runway to let Ray know where I was and to post on Facebook for people to pray for me to get safely to Africa. It worked!
I also believe that God is using the platform of Facebook and other social media sites to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ for His glory.
But yesterday’s outage showed me once again the importance of having “a real life.” That we can’t depend on social media for our closest relationships and for our businesses.
To always have a back-up plan (such as a website subscriber/email newsletter list).
Social media is powerful. It can be such a blessing. But let’s keep it in perspective. It’s a platform to use. Let’s not let it use us or define us, our families, or our businesses.