The strange emotions of Facebook

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Church of Facebook‘.

It’s well-written and easy to read, and explores the impact of Facebook on its users, and how we (as Christians) can use it for our good, the good of others, and for God’s glory. I’ll review it in more detail soon.

As I read the book, I reflected on the emotions that Facebook (and other social media) generate in us. Here’s some examples.

  1. I posted a link on Facebook and I checked back later to discover that “3 friends like this”. This made me feel happy. People liked something that I shared.
  2. I posted another link on Facebook about a Christian preacher arrested in London. 2 people liked that, and I felt confused. Did they like that I posted it, or that the preacher was being persecuted?
  3. I saw someone I knew on Facebook and sent them a friend request. I received notification that they accepted my friend request. This made me feel happy. They want to be my friend! It was a strange feeling, because friendships in the ‘real’ world don’t work like that – you don’t reach a point when someone officially confirms they are your friend – it’s an organic process from stranger, to acquaintance, to friend.

With this realisation, one of the obvious dangers of Facebook becomes clear – our temptation to act to please people, to be well thought of and to make ourselves feel good. While not always bad, this is a temptation most of us need to spend far more time fighting than succumbing to.

Can you think of any other examples of the unusual emotions that social media prompts?