Confession: Social networks are really starting to bother me. Everyday I read post after post about how Twitter and Facebook are making us more connected, are valuable for our ministries, help us build our platform for speaking into our culture, etc, etc. I hate to be the naysayer when it comes to social networking, but people are starting to get needy.

Here’s how it goes: you receive an email from someone who says, “You probably don’t know me because you don’t follow me on Twitter but….” And there are other people that want to get me on Facebook, even though I’m not sure that I would be their friend if I was on Facebook. But, there’s now pressure to be everyone’s friend. It’s an expectation that people have. So, instead of being able to keep up with people who are truly my friends, I am pressured to keep up with everyone.

So, where do I go from here? Here are some of my guidelines:

  1. I only follow people who are my friends or people that I have met and would like to develop a relationship with. I really never want to follow more than 75 people because I check Twitter from my phone 95% of the time. Any more than that and I can’t keep up with friends.
  2. I’m probably never getting on Facebook because I would do it for the wrong reason. My desire would be to build a platform with a false name while using another name to have true friends. There’s just something that I don’t like about that.
  3. If I follow you, don’t feel obligated to follow back and I’ll do the same. It will not hurt my feelings and how about you not let it hurt yours either.

My last thought: be friends with the people who are your friends and be okay with that. Try to reach out and develop new friendships when you can, but don’t expect people to be your friends in return. And last, don’t wear people out if they are not interested. Isn’t God in control of our relationships anyway?

  1. Mike Biddle on Monday 27, 2009

    Facebook is popular because unlike twitter you can categorize your “friends” and control who can see what. 99 percent of people don’t do this or probably have a clue how to do so. I have friend categories like clients, people I know, and strangers. When they say “friends” I don’t think it is the same meaning as in the real world. Just like when you “poke” someboby you are not actually poking them.

    Facebook also lets you see less stories from certain friends unlike twitter. In other words, you can add them, but not see their updates on your wall. You would click “see less about Mike Biddle”

    In any event, I have made a significant amount of money selling web sites that were referals from people I went to high school with. It is a must have more me just for business networking.

    I see your point about pestering people to join. Sort of like the race in Star Trek that had the cube ship that would assimulate people and say resistance is futile.

    Resistance is futile! We will assimulate you Josh Whitehead! Join or be forced to join!

  2. David Lyons on Monday 27, 2009

    You need to work through the resentment(s)….hahaha

    I think Mark makes some good points – while I don’t have the twitter experience that you do, I’m starting to see some things on facebook that are more dynamic and possibly beneficial. Not just from a “personal” friend perspective but possible ministry, business, marketing, etc opps.

    I know you say you’ll “never” do it… I’ll love you anyway (grace). BTW, my mother used to say she’d never facebook – we’ll guess what, “Mimi” is now on FB.

    Love ya bro – have fun at chitlen’s camp – oh, and I’ll quit asking you to follow me on twitter now 😉

  3. Janet! on Monday 27, 2009

    Completely agree with you, Josh. I personally know 99% of the people on my FB page, but only consider about 10% my REAL friends. I rarely accept people I don’t know. I’ve accepted people from FPC who I didn’t know, but since, have met them in person, and like. 🙂

  4. Aaron on Monday 27, 2009

    You know I agree with you. I don’t have time for my “real” friends as it is, so why would I add a bunch of virtual friends. I don’t see any reason to join Facebook and I have changed the way I Twitter. I honestly don’t care what people are doing all of the time, but I do enjoy links provided for good articles, blogs, and other resources. That is part of the reason I have posted less and less to Twitter. Who really cares what I am doing? And if they do, maybe I should be worried!!!

  5. Kyle Gilbert on Monday 27, 2009

    For me, it’s all about a couple of things:

    1) Increasing communication with my friends & family (both those that I’m very near to and those that I’m geographically separated from), and I think Facebook in particular handles this very well.

    2) Increasing influence as I have the opportunity to speak into the lives of more people for Christ. Facebook and Twitter both handle this very well, but I wish the people I’m not really friends with would follow me on Twitter and not friend request me on Facebook (forcing me to ignore them).

  6. Josh on Monday 27, 2009

    @ Kyle – Good point. Still doesn’t remove the frustrations of people who want you to “friend” them. I like your second point – that’s the one I am struggling with because I want to have greater influence on people.

    @ Janet! – I like you because you agree with me 😉

    @ David – I’m actually probably older than your mom because I was born 30 yrs old 🙂 so I may never be on there!

    @ Mike – Your Twitter comment cracked me up. You and Kyle have a valid point relating to influence or platform.

  7. Mike Biddle on Monday 27, 2009

    One reason you would add virtual friends is to make money. Shaquille O’neil got a radio show on satelite radio probaly because he had over 1 million people following him on twitter.

    If you ever write a book, you wll wish you had all those friends!

  8. Aaron on Monday 27, 2009

    So make friends to make money? Sounds like I would be a bad friend!!!


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