Monday, 18 May 2009

has facebook normalized stalking?

Facebook has normalized stalking. Five years ago, if anyone was caught hoarding 300 pictures of one specific person, you would think they were pretty strange. Now, this is simply part of most people’s daily experience. You only have to catch sight of laptops in workplaces and universities alike to see people scrolling through picture after picture of people they have probably never even met. We are a nation obsessed with stalking. And it’s right at our fingertips.

Back in the day, when my parents got together, my Dad did not sit and look through 500 pictures of my Mum, he did not check her ‘status updates’ and he did not see who else was writing on her ‘wall’. He actually spoke to her in real life, because reality was the only realm in which communication was possible. Whilst on some levels it has its benefits, there is most certainly a point at which a line needs to be drawn with this parallel world, where for some people ‘friends’ are people we might have seen, from the back, once, or friends of friends of friends.

In accepting someone as a Facebook friend then, what we’re basically saying is ‘I’m happy for you to stalk me’. Not only is stalking now ‘normal’, we actually give people permission to stalk us. I suppose that’s what makes it ‘ok’. Of course then, one must be sure to be represented as well as possible by their Facebook profile, since this is the only version of our ‘self’ that the majority of our Facebook friends will encounter.

here are a few conclusion:
- Its a sad story when people sit round on Facebook instead of engaging in real life communication
- The idea of random people i hardly know scrolling through numerous photos of me freaks me out.
- Given that I have 6000 words plus a presentation to write in 8 days, I am clearly procrastinating.

the end

power of agreement . . .

I’ve been challenged in the past year or so about my words and the power of agreement. Proverbs 18:21 says ‘The tongue has the power of life and death’. Scary but exciting truth. I wonder, if it were possible to count up all the conversations I’ve had and set them against each other in categories where I’ve spoken either ‘life’ or ‘death’ (about both myself and other people), which one would outweigh the other? Perhaps that’s not something to be pondered too much, but it challenges me.

It is important to talk about the stuff we are struggling with and acknowledge that it’s there, but this has to be accompanied by declaration of God’s truth. All too many times I’ve chatted with friends about how rubbish I feel about myself, which in turn has reminded them of their own insecurities, and before we know it I’ve succeeded in dragging them into my pity party. For some bizarre reason, wallowing in woes feels quite good - I’m not going to lie, its comfortable to indulge in a bit of self pity, it’s nice to feel justified in our struggles and squeeze sympathy out of people, but there comes a point where we have to make a choice about whether or not we’re going to stay there.

If our words contain the power of life and death, in conversations we’re essentially embracing one or the other. I find this really exciting because in speaking life we both counter the agenda of the enemy and agree with an awesome and powerful God all in one swift move. When we notice the potential others have and tell them what we see in them, we agree with God who made them in his image, and when we agree with him, earth is in agreement with heaven, and when heaven and earth come into alignment, the kingdom gets released, because people are walking in their true identity – sons and daughters of God, rather than in a lie.
Spot the lie, and counteract it with the power of life in the tongue.


‘You always fall for the ‘alpha males’, but you’re just going to end up orbiting around them and they won’t even notice’. Great, so what, this is my destiny? To be ever more orbiting, invisible around attractive holy men who will fail to acknowledge my existence? And what is an ‘alpha male’ anyway. My friend’s response to my feelings towards the latest guy on my radar didn’t go down too well. Fair play, sometimes one needs to hear the truth, but it didn’t feel good.

I’ve been single all my life minus a fleeting few months in my nineteenth year and besides this anomaly, my ‘love life’ has consisted of multiple rejections, so my friend’s words were gutting but familiar in equal measure. Whilst I readily accept my current status as single, and need to acknowledge it and move on when someone appears uninterested (however difficult that may be) there is definitely a place for refusing to define my future based on my past, because if my past is the lens through which I view every new situation, 1) I’m not trusting God and 2) I’m being hopeless not hopeful.

Where therefore, is the line between maintaining this desire and hope for a relationship in the future whilst being content in current circumstances? Being a person of extremes I’ve found the balance hard to strike; either I’m proclaiming my feelings to the world or if no one’s on the scene I completely squash and deny my desire for a relationship, pretending I don’t even care. Neither of these mindsets are helpful.

I’ve been advised multiple times by a variety of different people that wearing my heart on my sleeve (or facebook status, I haven’t done this but some people do . . .) is not cool. When you think/talk about something (or someone) over and over it essentially acquires more authority in your mind, and that, (it was pointed out to me) is meditation. Great for God’s word, but when you realize you've been meditating on men....oh dear. On the flip side, denying a desire doesn’t make it go away, it simply pushes it down and gives it space in which to brew bitterness. . . There is a middle ground, somewhere.

Whilst I do not have the ultimate answers to the turmoil of the single life, what I know for a fact is that we are robbed of what has massive potential to be an extremely fruitful time in our lives if we continually repress or obsess, focus on an absence and don’t trust. It must be frustrating for God, who has put the resources of heaven at our finger tips, to see his kids agonizing over something he has in his hands already. ‘Chill out, it will be fine, just look at what’s in front of you!’

Easier said than done, but if we want life, and life to the full, it’s about taking hold of what we have now and running with it, rather than sitting around waiting for something better to come along. As soon as we have the ‘once this is sorted, then my life will begin’ mentality, it only takes us to find the next thing we don’t have for dissatisfaction to take hold yet again.

The question I’ve started to ask myself is ‘what has God given me NOW (and there is a very long list, he’s pretty generous you see), and how am I using it?’ This is where FAITH grows, it squashes discouragement.