Facebook and all social networking sites are wonderful tools that enable us to connect with people we love, discover and promote interesting and helpful content, and spread important messages.
But there are some really important things you can’t accomplish on Facebook. I’ve come up with five of my favorites:
1) You Can’t Love Your Wife. It’s really cool to post love notes on your spouses’ Facebook wall (though it makes all your other friends uncomfortable). It’s even good to post brags about the greatness of your spouse. But honestly, she probably would give those up if you’d come home with flowers or took her out for a smartphone-free, Facebook-ignoring, Twitterless date where you can engage in a famously old-school activity: talk. Your spouse doesn’t need your digital love. She’d love your real affection.
2) You Can’t Hug Your Kids. I know you can pass digital “hugs” to your loved ones and you can even paste those silly emoticons on their walls, but seriously, your kids need the real you, not the digital Facebook you. So it’s important to put down your smartphone and give your kids a few hugs every day. They need to know that their parents are not actually permanently connected to something manufactured by Apple.
3) You Can’t Enjoy Coffee with a Friend. Yes, I know you can “gift” a fake Starbucks on someone’s Facebook wall. But that is really pretty lame, isn’t it? The digital world has given us many opportunities to express appreciation for our friends but nothing developed in Silicon Valley is as wonderful as an old-fashioned get-together over coffee. Seriously, don’t make all your friendships 2-D and digital. Invest in the 3-D experience of being present with people you admire.
4) You Can’t Do Church. Sure, you can now “attend” some churches online and on Sundays people like to post Scriptures, links to Christian articles, and positive experiences from church. But even if you’ve limited your “circle” to Christians, it resembles nothing of the called-out community taught in the New Testament. Attending a church with flesh-and-blood saints is how God helps us grow in our faith and express his glory in the world. Getting dressed up and physically going to church on the weekend is one testament to your commitment to Christ.
5) You Can’t Enjoy Nature. All of the scenic landscapes on your screensaver or computer background won’t compensate for the sights and smells and wonder of actually just walking outside. Those of us who work at a desk for a living have to remind ourselves to get up and take a walk in the great outdoors. Smell a freshly cut lawn, view the beautiful colors of Fall’s changing leaves, hear a dog bark, feel the rain on your skin. God created a beautiful world for us to enjoy. And you can’t do it with a computer on your lap.