It’s Time For an About-Face on Facebook

facebook-715811_960_720-300x164 It's Time For an About-Face on Facebook

“For years, researchers have warned users about all sorts of problems associated with increased social media use.”

A verdict has just been passed on Facebook, and the news is not good.

A new study has come out pointing out the negative effects of Facebook. This study claims to be much more rigorous than those of the past.

Of course, Facebook has always had its enemies. It is not surprising that there are those who are passing judgment on this popular social media app. Many already suspect that it may not be the best way to spend hours and hours of time. The impulsive checking for notifications has become part of a user ritual that often begins before getting out of bed and extends throughout the day at dinner tables and during conversations.

RTO-mini2 It's Time For an About-Face on FacebookFree Book: Return to Order: From a Frenzied Economy to an Organic Christian Society—Where We’ve Been, How We Got Here, and Where We Need to Go


There are those who defend Facebook by saying it facilitates social interaction. Relationships are all important in the ordinary development of a person. In these times of social deterioration, strong positive relationships are much needed regardless of their nature and source. Thus, it seems Facebook fills a real need. After all, Facebook friends are better than no friends at all.

Thus a debate has raged around Facebook. Many insist that substantial face-to-face contact is the best means of developing relationships. Others say it makes no difference.

No Real Face But a Mask

The new study certainly adds fuel to the fire. It claims that virtual relationships do not have such a good record. Mediated social interaction and small screens often fail to develop into rich relationships. Facebook has no real face but rather a projected mask. Its authors are two researchers that have submitted Facebook to rigorous analysis. Prof. Holly B. Shakya at UC San Diego and Prof. Nicholas A. Christakis of Yale University conclude the more people use Facebook, the worse they feel.

Such news is hard to face especially among those who use the app. For years, researchers have warned users about all sorts of problems associated with increased social media use. It has been found to discourage face-to-face relationships, cause internet addiction or erode self-esteem. One of the most consistent warnings is the fact that people tend to distort reality by posting more positive depictions of their lives. This also leads to self-comparisons with others who have also put up similar posts. The resulting spiral of egos often crashes in depression when eventually confronted with reality.

The Nature of a Study

In a novel approach, the two researchers used three waves of Gallup data from 5,208 adults. The tests included the changes in well-being over time in connection with Facebook usage. It measured the effects of likes, posting and clicks. The study authors even accessed the Facebook accounts of the study participants. They also monitored real-life social networks and the link of these associations to general well-being. Using these rigorous tools of analysis, Shakya and Christakis produced a study, unlike others to date.

The results of the study found that using Facebook affected overall well-being negatively, while real-world social networks had a positive effect. These negative results increased over time. Even the liking and clicking of links played a role in determining this outcome.

Unanswered Questions

Curiously, while the researchers could perceive the adverse effects of Facebook use, they were unable to explain how the social media brought about this negativity. They had expected “likes” to the posting of others to cause negative self-comparisons. However, they found most other activities on the popular app were consistently similar in producing similar unhealthy effects. One clue as to why this happens has to do with the time and effort spent on Facebook. While many have suggested the quality of postings can change the impact, Shakya and Christakis found that the quantity of use diminishes well-being regardless of what is posted.

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Another factor is the medium’s perception among users. The worst thing about the prolonged usage of Facebook is that people have the impression they are not wasting time since they are engaged in what they consider meaningful social interaction, which is not so meaningful.

Cold Hard Facts

The cold hard facts about Facebook do present food for thought. The conclusions are sobering, considering the seriousness of the study. The more the medium is used, the more negative the effect upon lives. Even casual usage can have its negative consequences since it depends not only on the quality of the postings but also upon the sheer quantity of interactions, which tends to grow over time. Constant exposure to the unrealistically inflated postings of others can lead to negative self-comparisons. The idea that social media is social in the full sense of the word is deceptive—since it can discourage face-to-face relationships.

Perhaps, it is time to do an about-face on Facebook. Indeed, the two researchers say it best: “Our results suggest that the nature and quality of this sort of connection is no substitute for the real world interaction we need for a healthy life.”

As seen on CNSnews.com

  • Jose Luis Javier Pelayo

    Facebook… is like the fake virtual life once you are in no way to escape out, fake happy life, real sad life, It take a lot of effort to delete that stupid fake way to live.

  • Margaret Jean Longstaff

    I can see where these effects could be true. Not in all cases. But many! It’s an eye opener, for sure! I’m going to start with ‘ME’ and monitor my own usage! I guess it calls for being ‘good stewards’ of all that God has blessed us with!

    • Karl Komara

      Way to go, Margaret. Monitor your own useage. That’s exactly what we ought to do. Practice the Cardinal virtue of temperance and limit the amount of time you consume on Facebook. I think you have an excellent idea there. Good luck implementing a program that limits your time and use of Facebook. You can do it well, Margaret!

  • Richard Dominguez

    There is something very unhealthy about a person who feels it necessary to constantly post every action they take or move they make on Facebook. Do their “friends” really care what the poster is doing at every moment of the day? Not! I believe that this type of behavior is simply a method that a Fb poster uses to fill the desperate need to be virtually seen online. Virtual desperation one could call it.

    • Stewart Davies

      Posting on Facebook has to be one of the asinine of all activities. But I don’t know about “virtual desperation”. Most of them are so dumb that they actually deceive themselves in the belief that others are even remotely interested. It’s not desperation; it’s narcissism.

  • Miguel Acevedo

    Facebook was started by a thief, who stole students identities to start a dating service for students. I have never used it or plan to use it. I won’t legitimize his theft. Millions of people have and many have suffered by having their identities stolen. Facebook now censors or blocks conservative and religious posts. This was evident during the last US election. Dump Facebook, send it into obscurity.

    • B Juniper

      Bless you, Miguel for telling it like it is! It is a tool the “devil’s tool”. I discovered my daughter had an account (she was under 14 at the time) I tried for weeks to get it deleted, they down right threatened me, so I went to the sheriff’s department, what they discovered was much more than me and down right frightening. They had it deleted within hours, and promised prosecution should it ever show up again. When this is what it takes for a parent, NOT GOOD!

  • Mary Alice Hoffman

    As a former FB junkie, I realize now what a complete waste of time and energy it is. I used to post a lot of Catholic topics but most of what I read had little to do with anything constructive. Worst of all, it is a very big hindrance to one’s spiritual life.

    • Lorna S

      I do agree with what you said, it really steal your time that instead of spending your time praying, you are hooked on looking at those photos posted! Really a distraction to our spiritual life!

      • momthree789 .

        Isn’t that satan’s goal…to constantly distract us?

  • Pamela Sue Therrien

    More and more I began to realize Facebook was so slanted and controlling not only in what is presented to the people but also in the use of the product itself and and information gathered about the individual. More and more I found it the information used in ways and made available to those I have drawn limits to so I very rarely use it unless tagged by friend or family and then I keep it brief and uninformative.

  • Bob Gravlin

    The positive, I have contacted old friends I had lost contact with and when my Mother in law was dying my wife could play for her videos of her grandchildren playing. But like anything time needs to be limited.

  • Wolemai

    I have resisted the pressure to join Facebook. I am appalled by how much time people now spend on media and how much they seem to base their lives on what others think.
    One prominent Christian lobby group in my country recently sent our its regular email with important articles in it. However, to view one of the articles they told us we had to go to their Facebook page!
    What is going on here? They can’t even include all their information on their email, instead we are forced to go to their Facebook page. I then found out that apparently you cannot view a Facebook page unless you sign up to Facebook!
    I won’t do that so I will inform this Christian lobby group that I do not like what they have done by making Facebook a compulsory thing.

    • Fernanda

      Last I checked you can view public pages without logging in, but that was a while ago that I tried it.

    • rocky63

      Agree with you 100 percent.

    • B Juniper

      I stopped giving to those that will only let you participate with an FB account long ago.

  • Mom2many

    I so agree. I have gotten on and off three times (meaning I am no longer on) . Yes, it was an incredible waste of time. My last stint I tried not to get many ‘friends” and instead focus on the groups–nutrition, religion, homeschooling, homesteading, etc. But if I posted a question, I hung around and waited for replies–nobody to blame but myself for that.

    However, I had been bullied (oddly enough, by family–we both have very dysfunctional families), and I was also tired of the negative news (even if it was actually true). I got tired of people posting their meal pix, or their cutsie kid quotes. And I was in groups that were full of people constantly wanting to troll, or to be perpetual “victims”, or didn’t allow the use of pronouns because some people in the groups didn’t want to labeled by a gender they didn’t want to accept. Sometimes, there was bullying in the groups with too many snowflakes–and it was just exhausting (I wasn’t bullied in them, but saw it on some groups).

    Mostly, I had to ask myself if I spent equal amounts of time working on my spiritual life–and realized I just didn’t. Sad–but again I blame myself and my weakness of will to just turn FB off.

    There ARE positive aspects to FB, but there weren’t enough to keep me there due to the negative aspects. I have missed it a few times–but mostly due to some of the great and informative groups I was in. But I still have Google to help me along–just not in real time. 🙂

    • T. Bergenn

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply and delving down and revealing what you really found and engaged with… in the relationship between your social media use and your spiritual life. I appreciate that.

  • Paul

    So why does Return to Order still have a facebook presence? Like others commenting here, I have never subscribed to facebook for the reasons already given by others. Maybe RtO should cancel their facebook presence.

    • Patrecia Jacobson

      Sr. Helene Burns, Daughters of St. Paul, of HellBurns (pun speaks truth and makes it memorable for users) helped me to have a better understanding of the cultures of the internet. I thought all media was the domain of the Enemy of our souls. Not so according to Sr. Helena. Rather than try to shelter my children and myself, she encouraged me to view media as a culture (or cultures) in need of evangelists. Media are tools. Tools for good or ill. Just as reading can be used to access books of saints or filth and smut, so to with any of these tools. That being said, I fasted from FB this lent and am so refreshed that I am considering extending the fast indefinitely. I don’t have many friends anymore anyway since I post so many prolife posts. Yet, being a people person, I enjoy knowing even superficial information about a wide number of people and I use FB as a tool to pray for the needs of others.

      • Bill Werner

        Patrecia keep the pro life posts going if nothing else, the babies need all the help they can get. The youth out there need to see your post and guide them away from the abortion minded media, hopefully to choose life from womb to the tomb.

        • Patrecia Jacobson

          Thank you for the encouragement. May God bless you in your prolife work.

  • Tricia

    Regarding FB, I always think that when we stand before God we have to give an account for every moment of our life. Can there be constructive “moments” on FB? Sure. But for the most part, it is useless chatter and links to information that fills our brains that disturbs our natural peace and order.

    • Lisa Abrusia

      Nicely put Tricia! We all need balance, we all need peace and order.

      • Karl Komara

        We all need our cross.

  • Singalong

    Some people have no idea how to have a real face to face interaction with a live human. I do not do facebook and never will. I wonder what would happen if some super sun block or other occurrence happened and disrupted the internet.

    • Phoenix Sun

      The “super sun block” you mention would be an EMO, electromagnetic pulse from the sun.
      The last big one was about 150 years ago. They are big enough to take down 80% of the electric grid (elec co’s say) and certainly the internet. We are due.

      • Singalong

        Thanks.

  • Jeanne Watkins Zeltner

    I am elderly and bedridden. The only friends I have on Facebook are my good friends and my family. Since four of my five children live far from me and all of my ten grandchildren are scattered all over, even out of the USA, it is a way for me to stay in touch with everyone. I do look forward to the correspondence and photographs I receive. FB has opened the world for me. I do not have any strangers who want to “friend” me. The couple of times that happened I declined. I am a religious person and, as such I receive many uplifting posts. I would be bored out of my mind if I couldn’t keep up with my loved ones.

    • deb g

      Hi Jeanne! Sounds like it’s the perfect way for you to stay connected with your family & loved ones! I am sure your family and friends often receive uplifting words from you as well. God bless you!

      • Jeanne Watkins Zeltner

        Thank you, Deb. I appreciate your kind words

    • James Blain

      I also have friends/family scattered far and wide, since where I now live has nothing to do with where I was raised or family but is for work. I say carry on!

    • Chloesmom123

      This what I just shared in the general comments 🙂 (p.s. God Bless You!!!): “…I use facebook to spread awareness about you fine folks & Return to
      Order, ProLife, ProFamily, [ProCatholic ProChristian].. as well as a vehicle for “counter
      propaganda” concerning abortionism, liberalism, etc. etc. I also keep in
      touch with like minded conservative Christians, Catholics, etc. &
      like to share encouragement utilizing beautiful images & prayers. I
      also remind people to pray the Holy Rosary of the BVM for ProLife,
      ProFamily & world peace. …”

      • NancyD

        I’m 100% with you, Chloe’smom123. You covered everything for me

    • Fernanda

      It sounds like you are using Facebook as a tool to serve you, and that’s the difference between your use of it and what the study is reporting on. The problem with Facebook is that it can become a master rather than a tool, and I think that’s where the issues come up.

    • Donna Willey

      Hi Jeanne. Your situation is a rare instance of the pearl of good lodged inside FB. For most, though I think it is an unhealthy situation, esp. for the young who have not developed a firm moral base and quite frankly, talk too much and don’t seem to be able to reason very well.

  • happygael

    I use it to stay in touch with my family. I also use it in defense of traditional marriage I am pro Life and also pro American. If you can come up with a better way for me to do all those thig I will be glad to do it.

  • mark yanga

    Never liked Facebook. But I do have Twitter and Instagram. Does the study being spoken of also apply to other social media?

  • Ed Graveline

    I use Facebook to evangelize and to pray for those who need it. I have explained the Catholic faith to hundreds and have had many tell me they appreciate what I do. I know Facebook is run by liberal left wing ideological nuts, but they seem to leave me alone to share the Gospel.

    • Karl Komara

      Me, too. Ed. I’m there because then Pope Benedict said Christians ought to have a presence on social media. I read that in an article and there I am, but I limit my use.

  • Wallace Klinck

    I believe that FaceBook its merely a tool and that its value or utility depends upon the literacy and intelligence of the participants. There is a plethora of irrelevant even degrading minutiae on the site and although registered I seldom actually participate in the adumbrated, abbreviated and often illiterate exchanges. A user can limit correspondents to a predetermined list for a more meaningful discussion. However, as one of your commenters observed, FaceBook, Google and YouTube are all owned by what is essentially an integrated monopoly which is obviously advancing a common agenda of its own, making an increasing mockery of the Internet as a genuinely unbiased source of open information. More recently these services have seriously and widely damaged their credibility and integrity by resorting not only to subtle but increasingly blatant censorship–demonstrating thereby their lack of respect for the rights and intelligence of their viewers and participating individuals.

  • jrj90620

    Only use to get coupons or otherwise contact companies.Have no other use for it.

  • VirgoVince

    SHUT DOWN fb AND zuckerboob!! he got rich off STUPID users!!

  • Julia Grana Navia

    I really don’t like facebook much but for me is the only way to keep in touch with friends I do got to know through facebook that they are devoted christians and they post really beautiful things that sometimes lift me up I do not like in the other hand many things going on here and I do tried to sign many petitions and joined groups here which are very uplifting for me I could not have the possibilities in other ways I have very wonderful friends and I chose them myself and I do love them from sincere heart.. I do post sometimes about animals and also other things which I know my friends will apreciate. I do not like to stay too long because my life is busy but I do nourish my friendships and I do take care of some people deeply.
    Have a lovely day and thank you so much for this post I love all the articles and I do support Return to Order a wonderful way of living. God Bless you !!!

  • Leonard Churilla

    I think the researchers hit on something though in a round about way. As one person being bedridden said, it was a way to connect with family and friends over long distances. Still, I find that checking face book often to see where people have vacationed, what they are eating and what their kids are doing every minute can be depressing. One feels a need to “keep up” with the Joneses and takes time away from real life interactions. Also, receiving comments from people we don’t know or have little contact with is disturbing

    • Legoge47

      I used to be a Facebook addict but I got over it. Thank God!

  • Legoge47

    I’ve been pressured to join Facebook by some commercial companies who purport that Facebook is how you are supposed to contact them. If I can’t contact them by phone, postal mail, email, or in person, then I don’t want to be in contact at all. I had a Facebook for a while and I was so addicted to it that I couldn’t get anything else done so I dropped it and refuse to go back.

    • Joanna S

      Hi Lego. I’ve seen your comment asking about me. Thank you so much my good friend. The truth is that I have been more sick than usual, so I could use a few Hail Mary’s for that intention. But the reason why I haven’t commented on CM is because I was banned from their channel a few weeks ago. They said that I was rude to somebody, but I don’t think that was the real reason. I noticed that my standing up for the pope was not inline with the views of some of the CM staff. Oh, well. Only God lasts forever. I really appreciate your concern. You are such a wise and awesome human being. You remind me a lot of my late father. I stay in a once a few weeks contact with a few of the CM commenters, only a few, via email. If you don’t mind, please email me your address to stafish(dot)family(at)gmail(dot)com. May God bless you, and please, pray for me.

  • IMO, if used in moderation, it’s a great platform. Too much TV, or following sports teams, or playing poker, will have similar results. Big difference is that addicts think they’re being “social” on a social network, when they’re really not. It should be viewed as a source of entertainment and thus be consumed in moderation and not interrupt or replace meaningful activities, including real interactions with people.

    • sleepy

      every morn, i am on facebook… i am homebound with a stroke-derived permanence, and my home time is alone time all the time… i cannot speak, i cannot walk, i cannot remeber without my conversations being in words on written platforms – i am not left-handed, and since the first stroke, i cannot pen my thoughts well at all with my right-hand being so useless…

      i would not even know as much about my Church as i have learned through facebook – even this website would be absent from me without facebook…

      i post various doins of the Church to each person who deigns to view my page… both local and the Church at large… i post our Papa’s statements… i post those things more frequently…

      i pray – my days are consumed in praying… i would cry so much more often if not for facebook and it’s various non-Catholic or non-Christians who really need praying…

  • Debra Babin Kerner

    I use Facebook to share my Catholic faith, the Mass Readings, the Saints, and Mother Mary. I use it to ask for prayers for others and to pray for others. I use it to encourage others as much as I can. I want to be positive and help others, Words can be healing and uplifting. I do not use it to fight or complain .Pope Benedict XVI said use social medias do it to evangelize.

  • Rob Hulbert

    Recently I was ‘forced’ to join facebook to satisfy another site, but now I regret it because I know it’s very difficult to unsubscribe.

  • Gerald Donahue

    it seems to me the gist of this article is; don’t allow FB or any ‘media’ be a complete substitute for human interaction. FB and other ‘media’ are good to keep in touch and even vent. take everything with ‘a grain of salt’ and keep your mind in the actual world.

  • Chris Whittle

    I’ve never used Facebook and will never consider it.

  • Jean Fedison

    I ENJOY FB……
    …..I AM 79 YEARS OLD…I HAVE BEEN COMMUNICATING WITH MY NEPHEWS AND NIECES AND COUSINS AND FRIENDS THAT I WOULD PROBABLY ONLY SEE AT FUNERALS OR WEDDINGS…I ENJOY SEEING PICS OF THEIR CHILDREN AND I ENJOY SHARING ALL MY OLD PICS WITH THEM….I ALWAYS WONDERED HOW I COULD SHARE MY MOMS ALBUM PICS WITH MY NEPHEWS AND NIECES AND THIS WAS IT….ALL THE OLDEST PICS HAVE BEEN SHARED WITH THEM…I HAVE ALSO FOUND COUSINS ….LONG LOST COUSINS ON FB…IT HAS BEEN GRRRRRREAT FOR ME…I LIMIT MY TIME ON IT…..I MAKE SURE MY PRAYERS AND GOD COMES FIRST……..I ALSO POST POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS AND TRY TO EVANGELIZE …..ONE NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL NOT TO GET ADDICTED TO BEING ON IT….BE WISE AND CAREFUL HOW MUCH TIME
    YOU PUT INTO IT

  • Chloesmom123

    I use facebook to spread awareness about you fine folks & Return to Order, ProLife, ProFamily… as well as a vehicle for “counter propaganda” concerning abortionism, liberalism, etc. etc. I also keep in touch with like minded conservative Christians, Catholics, etc. & like to share encouragement utilizing beautiful images & prayers. I also remind people to pray the Holy Rosary of the BVM for ProLife, ProFamily & world peace.

  • Ethel Grimes

    Sometimes I wish I could dump my Facebook account, but that’s my main contact with some of
    my relatives. (In fact, I reconnected with a long-lost cousin that way!) And I’ve made some amazing
    friends at the site. On the other hand, there are the creeps and jerks. In that case, I’ve limited my contacts to close friends and family. Still, it would be nice to get a real letter from someone now and then.

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  • sfh

    When I had facebook I justified my using it by “keeping in touch with family and friends I otherwise wouldn’t hear from.” ….I realized how ridiculous that was and deleted it for good. If the only time someone(myself included) makes an effort to keep in contact is by the leisure and convenience of facebook, they probably don’t care a ton about keeping in touch. It’s EASY to “like” someone’s picture and feel connected to them but you’re really not. I thought about going to my 10 yr high school reunion in a few years and realized I wouldn’t have a thing to talk to anyone about because I’ve read their posts since graduation. Everyone knows what each other has been up to without being bothered to speak. I think that’s creepy weird. Also, how much time is wasted just scrolling through the news feed to see all the edited pictures of extravagant vacations and people’s achievements or maybe just a close up of their face. What are we trying to prove when we post all this stuff? I don’t miss facebook even a little bit. My self esteem is better, my heart feels better, I don’t feel guilty because I wasted an hour online or because I judged someone I haven’t seen in years based on a snip it of their opinion expressed through a facebook post. I’m happy not reading people’s negative comments arguing about something they clearly don’t want to resolve or understand the other side of. I’m happy not being subjected to people putting their children on parade doing something “cute” (when the children have no say in the matter and it will be lingering on the internet FOREVER) or wearing their swimming suits or sometimes even unclothed entirely. Yikes. I clearly have a disdain for the facebook….

  • Daniel Rory Lally

    I do try to put meaningful photos on Facebook as do many people. Some people say silly things. Most of my Facebook friends are people who I have known in the past. Some strange people send me friend requests, but I often ask them to meet up with me first in order to avoid exposing people whom I have known. Two of my picture files are marked as ‘friends only’ since I have pictures of other people in them and I avoid tagging people who are not on Facebook. Feel free to examine my profile and ask me questions.

  • Sandie Webb

    I do not have any Facebook friends on my Facebook that are not real friends or family !

  • David Zanoni

    I disagree with the negativity surrounding Facebook. The website is a place to gather and you choose who to connect with. I have family and friends that live all over the country and Facebook provides a great way to stay connected. Of course, it would be great to see my closest friends and family in person, but it just isn’t practical.

    I think Facebook is what the users make it to be. My posts are positive. I do my best to be a good Christian on FB just as I do anywhere else.

    If you feel negative after seeing someone post their vacation pictures, then you have the issue, not the website. Of course, moderation is key just like with TV, radio, video games, etc.

  • Leo Kronberger

    Could you be so kind and provide the reference of this study including Title, Journal and Year.
    I would be very grateful for your support.

  • Mary Stuart

    I believe social media in general is unhealthy, because it has made many socially inept. People become enraged at others because they do not agree with their opinions. When you communicate in person you are able to read the emotions in someones face etc. Social media has become a breeding ground for displaced anger. A Priest at my parish gave a homily on this, saying that FB friends are not real friends he was right. People need to communicate in person. Have a deeper connection. FB is also dangerous in many ways because it is very easy to hack into. In Short F is for FAKE!

    • Jennifer DeFillippo

      Mary ~ Yours was the first post here that I thought to answer. I, too, found out about the recent death of a close family member thru FB..or rather, I received a phone call from my daughter who had seen it there. So, I feel for you.
      When my late husband passed away *nearly 3 years ago now* the first thing family members thought to do was post it on FB…UNTIL, thank God for this, my daughter instructed them to remove all posts!! They did, thank goodness, but not without asking “why?” Why indeed?!? Seriously??! Without a thought to how I was feeling at the loss of my beloved life’s partner, how I wanted to keep the moment PRIVATE at least for the day?!?
      I check my own FB account perhaps ONCE a day, merely to see what family members have posted, perhaps pics of the grandchildren? or a bit of news from those who live far away? That’s it. But I find that FB rarely holds any real fascination for me anymore.
      I would much rather spend time before the Blessed Sacrament or praying my daily Rosary.
      The world is indeed in a sad state…..

      • Mary Stuart

        Thank you for your beautiful response, I truly understand what you mean “Private”
        The Rosary and the Blessed Sacrament are our weapons, May God Bless You!

  • Fernanda

    I don’t have a strong opinion one way or another, but my experience is that since I made myself scarce on Facebook (I still have my account and do occasionally log in), I have been much happier. I don’t know if it’s totally attributed to being off Facebook or if it’s because the reason I’m not on Facebook is that I’ve become busy with what I would consider to be truly meaningful work. There are confounding factors to be sure. One part of Facebook I do use is the groups function and there is an iPad app that allows you to monitor your Facebook groups and nothing more. I’ve found it helpful with a particular group I’m part of. I post and interact there but nowhere else. The group is set up for educational purposes, by the way, and there wasn’t another option.

    Back when I was using Facebook more, I noticed this curious thing. Sometimes I would feel like I should log in, so I would. Then within ten minutes I would have a meaningful chat with a friend or read an article someone posted that I really needed to read (it spoke to me in some significant way), or I’d learn something important about one of my friends. Whatever it was that I could attribute as the “reason” for the urge (from the Holy Spirit?) to log in always happened within ten minutes. If I’d just log off at that point then I’d be ahead. But of course I would get sucked in and two hours later, I’d feel like I’d wasted a lot of time.

    Regarding Facebook evangelism, to be honest I’m skeptical. I think evangelism is best handled face to face, but that may be simply because that is the kind of evangelism I’m called to. Posting something “evangelistic” on Facebook just seems too much of a mass consumption thing, but with that said, there is plenty of historical precedent of saints preaching to large crowds and converting many, so I don’t want to judge. Plus the Church has told us to make use of modern media in order to evangelize. I’m not sure what the most effective Facebook evangelism format would be, but I don’t think it’s posting Christian memes.

    Like a lot of people here I’ve connected with old friends and new friends through Facebook that I wouldn’t be connected with any other way. I look at that as positive. But, weirdly enough, I don’t really mind not being connected to them now.

    One time I was on Facebook and learned that some of my friends and their kids had gotten together for a group playdate and didn’t invite me and my kids. I’m sure there was nothing malicious intended but I felt hurt anyway. I realized that without Facebook I wouldn’t have even known about the playdate and maybe that would have been better.

    I think how one deals with Facebook is probably very intimately tied with the state of one’s soul and one’s emotional state. I think Facebook can magnify whatever insecurities or other weaknesses are already there. So theoretically there would be a way to use Facebook as a tool and enjoy all the upside and none of the downside. But so many people are extremely broken these days and that brokenness gets spread around on Facebook and that probably makes it worse.

    Finally, I personally have found the way Facebook has changed over and over to be annoying. It got to where I just couldn’t keep up with the changes in privacy settings, algorithms on how the feed was laid out or how what I saw was chosen. I liked it much more in the early days when it was pretty straighforward–you read all your friends’ posts in the order in which they posted them. I know there is a way to tweak the settings to see that now, but after a while I just got tired of having to figure out how to tweak the settings and then had better things to do. Facebook and I just drifted apart I guess.

  • salesgirl

    Facebook can be a good tool if you limit yourself to a network of friends whom you actually know offline, and avoid posting on public pages or groups that haven’t weeded out “trolls” – people who go around attacking others. Keep in mind Facebook does NOT allow priests and consecrated religious to use titles like Father, Monsignor, Brother, Sister etc….and it has been known to censor posts touching on Christian truths FB powers that be don’t like, such as pro life, pro family, pro marriage, God etc. They call it hate speech. Meanwhile they allow ACTUAL hate speech in the form of FB pages that profane Our Lord and Our Lady in thr vilest terms!!!

  • Donna Willey

    I don’t think much of it. I used it very slightly to get Trump elected. But I really cannot stand it. I find it invasive & repetitive with little gratification. If you post something substantive it can be easily misconstrued. I’m in my 60s however, and I really don’t think it will catch on w/ my age group. The other thing is I don’t believe in giving alot of information about myself; best to stay below the radar, pray, pray and help others to find Jesus Christ.

  • Michael Peters

    I reluctantly joined Facebook a year ago. My family used to have a private site but nobody wanted to keep it going since there was a cost to keep it going.

    I’m amazed how FB can detect “people you may know”. It’s scary how it found someone I know from work who listed his employment as “self employed” (not exactly a lie, he does have a business on the side). I saw him and asked if he ever searched for my FB page, he didn’t.

  • Joseph

    Facebook has had a mostly positive side for myself as it allows me to share not only my experiences, but to post positive Catholic messages, mass times, devotional times, and special events occurring in my particular parish. I do not use it to meet people but to evangelize to those who do use it. I am also the administrator for my parish Facebook page, and as to whether or not somebody “likes” something posted is of no concern to me. Since I am using it in a Positive Way, God is pleased with my work.

  • I always warn people to avoid any site that encourages, or even allows, anyone to post real-world identity or contact information for private individuals–especially children.