Thursday, July 29, 2010

Facebook Reaches 500 Million Users

If you look at the website associated with this blog ( you will see that we also have a weekly radio program using that same name. When I first got involved many years ago on the air as the co-host, along with host David Virkler, I asked him if we should ever consider doing TV? This was pre-cable and there were more religious programs on the networks. I’ll never forget his, hopefully, humorous response. “We could," he said. "

But we probably won’t since you have a voice for TV but a face for radio.” He may or may not have been serious or right back then. But that would certainly be true today some two decades later. Greeting the bathroom mirror each morning now quickly confirms that painful truth.But in the arena of communications the web has dominated, in its many forms, for the last decade or so. And the undisputed king of it all today is Facebook! It has become the single most popular website in the world. In just 6 years the social networking software giant has reached 500 million user accounts. To compare what that number means, if it were the population of a country, it would be roughly the third largest in our world.

But apparently not all is fully well at Facebook - and not because many also have faces that may disappoint them in their rearview mirror. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Facebook comes in at the level of most typical airlines. Any who enjoy the 'friendly skies' frequently in these post-9/11 times know all about that. So it appears that Facebook is the most loved, hated, and now the largest site on the planet.

The site scored just 64 out of 100 – something that makes me wonder why so many have and heavily use these things. I don’t. I won’t. It’s my personal preference - not just my non-pretty face. Plus, I already spend too much time online to add something like this to the mix. The ACSI survey called site’s performance ‘abysmal’ and stress users irritations with privacy issues, intrusive advertising, constant interface tweaks, and annoying and unwanted applications and updates. Facebook response was simply, “We have room to improve.” So they have indeed achieved a marvelous grasp on the obvious!

As far as Facebook to going bye-bye due to the current problems and complaints – that will probably not happen any time soon. As one fan stated, "There's an investment mentally and emotionally in the site. All my photos are there; all my comments are there. They've got darn near the universe on there and its going to be hard for anyone else to come along and crack that." Another user said, “For a large segment of the modern world Facebook has become a sort of the written history of our times.”

To be fair and balanced, Facebook has some positive features. That's part of why it is #1. But like much of modern technology, it also can be the so-called ‘two-edged’ sword. There are good things, neutral things, and some nasty and even dangerous ones. But if there is one overriding downside, it has nothing to do with software issues and customer satisfaction ratings. It has to be that countless millions spend endless hours on what often amounts to time-consuming trivial pursuit. Again, that is their personal choice. Others may use their time doing different things altogether. But it becomes a problem, and maybe even an eternally costly one, if they neglect to spend any adequate and quality time on the true and all-important record of written history – namely the Word of God.

Unlike Facebook, the Scriptures reveal the ‘face’ of the living Creator God of the universe. He is the one who gave man the capacity to even invent something as amazing as Facebook, not to mention all the numerous modern technological miracles we see and benefit from. But His record never needs updating orimproving since it was perfect since the moment of its completion. It alone displays to a lost world all the data required for the forgiveness of sin (John 3:16, Acts 16:30, Eph. 2:8) And it is never dated despite the dates it was composed. Beyond that, God has provided believers in Christ the wisdom and power to live in a way that pleases Him and achieves His purposes for their lives. Peter wrote, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him…” (2 Peter 1:3)

In 2 Timothy chapter three is found the unique source and supernatural abilities of the written word - the Bible. Verses 16-17 declare, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” As one famous theologian said of this special passage, “The Bible tells us here what is right, what is not right, how to get right, and also how to stay right before God.”

Those, like myself, who elect to resist the lure of Facebook may succeed in keeping our lives a bit more private and hidden than those who elect to share more of their actions and activities through this ever-expanding form of self-expression. But that same concept is not at all the case when considering, and dealing with, the face of Almighty God. He obviously knows every intimate detail of each heart and life and needs no means of modern communication. His preference is sincere, fervent, and constant prayer. (James, 5:16, 1 Timothy 5:18)

A day will come when each will individually ‘face’ their God and maker. In that sobering moment, their lives will be opened to a level that makes the exposure of the most open of Facebooks seem like having the privacy of guarded hi-tech safe-deposit box at an underground nuclear missile site. Hebrews 4:13 describes it this way. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

Having, or being hooked on, Facebook may be fun for some and frustrating for others. Some adore it and some abhor it. Still others may sense a bit of both. But it is all fully meaningless unless a man or woman is ready to ‘face’ their Savior with the confidence of the personal faith He has posted to the entire world in His old-fashioned and supernatural written word. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life , and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:11-13)

The Psalmist alluded to it in the Old Testament in Psalm 80:3. “Restore us, O God;Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved!” In the News Testament, the apostle added the specifics in 2 Corinthians 4:5-6.

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Bill Breckenridge

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