Socially Mediated

Tomorrow my month-long hiatus from Facebook is complete. I am beginning to assess what it has meant. This work will continue after I am on FB again.

The last sentence confirms that I do intend to return to using FB. The key question is: How to use it to the benefit of life and connectedness and not allow it (as powerful as it is) to ‘use’ me/us instead.

Human institutions, as they grow in power and influence, become eventually vitally interested in maintaining their own good and protecting their own assets, rather than in the good and the human growth of the individual human being. This can be and has been true for governments, for charitable non-profits, for news organizations, and yes even for churches. It takes a real vigilance over time in order to make sure this does no in fact happen. That’s why the Roman Catholic Church in the 60’s and the church reformers of the 16th (and other centuries) were wise in speaking of the church as being (and needing to be) semper reformanda – always in the state of being reformed. Without cessation. As soon as an institution rests on its laurels in this regard, those laurels wilt. {Note to self: never sit on laurels].

The same is so true of the mega-social media entities that have been born and grown exponentially over these last years. I want to use them with wide-open eyes, from a critical stance something like Ronald Reagan’s attitude to the Soviet Union’s leadership: “Trust, but verify.” [I have just quoted Reagan approvingly; consequently hell has frozen over. You’re welcome. Also, pigs are flying, and for this, I apologize].

So Facebook, here I come my Frenemy. Be ready, as I intend to be.

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