Can Facebook bring people together?

July 27, 2018

 

Friendship is a vital part of life, important to us from when we are very young. If you want to put a smile of delight on a kindergarten child’s face, the offer of having a little kinder friend over to your place for a play will do it every time. 


And as they get older, primary-aged schoolchildren will tell you that having a friend over for a sleepover is one of life’s great joys, even if the term ‘sleepless- over’ is a more accurate description of that overnight stay.


So we are wired for friendship from 
a young age, and no matter what material wealth we amass (or don’t) on our journey through life, if we are fortunate enough to have a few good friends, we are truly rich.


In our fast-paced 21st century world ruled by technology, it’s interesting to ponder whether social media helps or harms our ability to make friends and connect with people.


The downside of social media is that Facebook can be a very limited way of building friendships, unless you make the effort to actually have some real live human interaction with them that doesn’t involve a device with a screen.


But there is a definite upside to having Facebook friends, and I was reminded of this recently.


A chap I had worked with in broad­casting more than 30 years ago decided to create a Facebook group for people who had worked at a special iconic building—it was a place with a great history and we were very sad to see it demolished.


Laurie unearthed some wonderful historic photos of the building and its workers, and decided to start an invited Facebook page with group of people who had worked there. 


Word of mouth soon spread, and very soon there were more and more people joining because they had a nostalgic feeling for the old days and the people with whom they had worked.


I had the joy of discovering three wonderful friends with whom I had lost touch, and through the magic of Facebook I was able to reconnect with them.


And it didn’t stop at Facebook—since we have all found each other again we have enjoyed real human interactions, with lunches and dinners and lots of chat about the people we remember and the antics we got up to as radio people.


Like the story of the prodigal son in the Bible, these friends had been lost to me but were now found, and my life is the richer for Facebook being the tool to find them again.


As Jesus said, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no-one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John chapter 15, verses 12–14).


Thankfully we are not usually called upon to lay down our life, but loving our friends and catching up with them is something that enriches our lives and that no amount of money can buy. 

 

Tags: Salvation Army Australia

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