All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one – Jesus (Matthew 5:37 NIV)
Facebook allows us to post what we love while we stalk the preferences of others. Clothing, sport teams, politicians, and Bible verses flood the status stream. We can “like” a cause and somehow feel altruistic. Social network indeed mobilizes many people, but could it be that the most common attraction to it is our desire for fluid commitment? We can unlike a page, hide a friend’s statuses, and click “maybe” when invited to events. What kind of commitment is that?
Facebook commitment is when we can be “friends” once a year with a birthday wish to people we never see, while forgetting to call our moms. It is a space where we can express jokes that would cause the sharer to blush if spoken in person. Fluidity means you can essentially commit to go to four events simultaneously, then at the last moment attend the one more of the cool people attend. Then, you can be tagged in a photo with that one person at a conference that benefits your popularity in micro-celebrity circles.
Commitment to relationships, causes, and belief requires planning and follow-through. The tool is powerfully useful in maintaining connections. It also beautifully facilitate the gathering of tribes based on thought and passion. Facebook, and social networking in general, will only go as deep as we are willing to go as the medium itself tempts us to swim in the shallow end of the pool.
None of us are going to actually pull of leaving this new space in our lives. In fact, with smart phones on the rise it is in our pockets and hands 24/7. Society may have just passed through a shift as momentous as the invention and proliferation of the printing press. We are still catching our breath. That being said, we don’t have to give up on the old fashioned idea of calling our mothers on the phone. And, when asked important questions, “yes” or “no” is better than a “maybe” any day.