The Importance and Proper Use of Words: Facebook vs. Face-to-Face

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This 2017 series on the importance and proper use of words attempts to articulate the ways in which language influences how I mentor and lead this youth company. Whatever one’s worldview or quirks, may these topics serve to edify and challenge.

I’ve never had a Facebook page. This isn’t necessarily due to a moral aversion to it (although the gossip-oriented origins of its founding should give one pause); I just know that my personality is too obsessive to dare to have one, at least amidst my intense people-oriented career. I’m the only one of my siblings on both sides of the family who eschew Facebook, and I think all of my Millennial nieces & nephews have one even as other venues of social media are more in vogue with the under-35 generation (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat…I’m sure I’m forgetting some ;-).

I do know of some Millennials who are at least cautious in their use of Facebook, wisely noting that once something is posted online, it may be permanent. Posting photos of oneself in embarrassing situations or engaging in groupthink political rants may appeal to one’s friends, but it is dangerous when it comes to job prospects and losing others’ respect due to digital versions of TMI. My nephew was recently granted a phone interview with an exciting new job prospect. Nice, but the real prize was his follow-up in-person interview. A Facebook minimalist, he has nothing to hide online from his potential employer, and his current customer relations career surely served him very well in that interview.

As for me, I am face-to-face every day. Yes, I email and text, but to be present in a conversation seems sadly rare, and that’s an advantage of having a brick-and-mortar location for our juggling clubs in our age of increasingly doing business and communication online. Even though technology helps our lives in innumerable ways (just ask the Floridians currently out of power for days or possibly weeks), it can also become a barrier to real, flesh-and-blood relationships for which we’re designed.

The Apostle Paul ends his famous “love chapter” this way: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). Real life ultimately beats digital life every time.

We as humans need to know and be known. Choose face-to-face over social media whenever possible. That’s one of the benefits of JH. I thank you all for empowering your kids to pause their devices and “like us” by having human interface through the excuse of juggling and growing together, in person.