They are everywhere: social networks...Facebook, MySpace, TeeBeeDee...and I am sure the list goes on and on. Places where people who have never met (ok, sometimes, they do know each other in "real life", but a lot of times, that is NOT the case) interact and mingle and share their secrets with each other..."let's connect", "let's be friends"...catch phrases that are new to my generation - a part of the natural scheme of life for the younger generation.
Ok...I have to admit, I am ADDICTED to Facebook. It just sucks you in! It's like legal "crack". I can see what my friends are up to, gauge how their days (and lives) are going by their cryptic status updates, see their pictures, send them virtual gifts, challenge them to online games and competitions...it is amazing...and time consuming. And I haven't even mastered 10% of the stuff that my younger friends know about the site. I mean, I thought I was the woman when my friend list hit 100 - but I have younger friends whose list of friends number in the thousands. I'm jealous...sort of. Because...for the most part, all of my friends are people that I actually KNOW - or know someone they know. I have very few "virtual friends" on my list (meaning, people I have never met, but we have connected due to mutual interests or hobbies, etc.) But even my "virtual friends" (shout out to Ms. Janice Ellis from London) have made significant impact on my life. Janice sends me "wisdom" on a daily basis as well as "growing gifts" and it always brings a smile to my face.
Like anything that starts off good, there are negatives to social networks as well. We've all heard the MySpace predator horror stories, and Facebook could lend itself to "stalking" (if that is a personality disorder you suffer from...hey! I'm seeking treatment! pray for and with me! hahaha) But as I delve more into the many layers of Facebook, I am finding positive things as well. Christian discussion groups are popping up more and more, including those that are based on my personal belief philosophy (the Seventh-day Adventist Church). I see young people joining in and discussing what they believe and why they believe - and I see them using the Internet as a tool to witness to others. And I am encouraged.
The Bible teaches us that "this gospel must be preached into all the world" before our Saviour returns to take us home with Him. No longer does that mean that missionaries have to pack up and move into wilds of Africa or Australia or even downtown Atlanta to preach the gospel. With technology, we can spread the gospel - on Facebook and MySpace - through text messaging and IMs - through our cell phones and Blackberries. We can each do our part to finish the work of the gospel - all through our social networks - real and virtual.
Have a great weekend.