My 4037 Extremely Close Facebook Friends

post date: August 26, 2011

In the beginning I was not a believer.

At first I thought Facebook for was the kids, meaning the college-age crowd, which is in fact where it started out. Somewhat reluctantly I joined the Facebook revolution not quite two years ago. 

As of this moment, I have 4037 friends. 

That’s impressive, I suppose, until I look at the list and realize that I don’t recognize many of the names. That happens because everywhere I go, I invite people to become my Facebook friends, and I rarely turn anyone down.

Here’s what I have discovered. Facebook does indeed connect people in amazing ways. I’ve heard from classmates I haven’t seen in forty years. And I’m able to keep up with friends around the world. 

I know some people are social media skeptics, and I was one too, but not anymore. Today there are over 750 million Facebook users. That’s more than 10% of the world’s population. PCMag.com reports that 65% of all Americans on the Internet use a social networking site, such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. 

Within a few months of going on Facebook I noticed that the number of comments on the Keep Believing website started going down. I would guess that I probably get something like 20 comments on my Facebook page for every comment on the KBM website. I know that our website and Facebook serve different purposes so that ratio doesn’t bother me. 

It’s just a fact of life. People love social networking in general, and they really seem to like Facebook. I think it’s a function of this fast-paced, high-tech age. People are looking for ways to stay connected with each other. So while we were driving to Chicago today, I was updating my Facebook from our car (using my iPad!), taking pictures in a gas station, in the car itself, and at Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, MO. (BTW I find that food pictures often draw the most comments, probably because food is a common denominator. We all have to eat.) Some days I mention our alphabet prayer list, often I’ll answer questions on biblical topics, and sometimes I find a pithy quote or an inspiring thought. Often it’s just a random comment on the passing scene.

Some people have the gift of making us smile by the way they write their updates. Almost every day I’ll hear Marlene laughing about a status update from Debbie Lucien in Pignon, Haiti. 

I don’t have a huge conclusion to draw, except to note that I am continually amazed at the power of social media to draw people together from vastly different backgrounds and scattered across the globe.

So, yes, I’m a true Facebook believer, and I count the several hours I spend each day on Facebook as productive ministry time. I can’t believe I just said that, but I did, and it’s true.  

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Ray Pritchard
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