7 reasons Christians should ‘just say no’ to social networks (not!)

by Toni Birdsong

Okay, now that we’ve got your attention: Here are some eye-popping stats that affirm exactly WHY Christians NEED to be speaking into the online conversation . . . and a little humor (in red) to help you stay mission-focused.

Here we go!

1. More than 500 million people are on Facebook.* More than 175 million are on Twitter and YouTube attracts more than 2 billion people a day. This patch of virtual land is prime real estate where our collective psyche now lives. It’s where the enemy finds unlimited joy  multiplying lies, division, and confusion—at warp speed. So, just say no: We can’t stop this train and no one is listening anyway. Why not just let the enemy have that whole digital, cyberspace thingy? (Oh, and pass the remote, while you’re at it—The Bachelor is coming on!)

2. People share more than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) on Facebook each month. There are 95 million tweets a day and more than 24-hours worth of video content uploaded every minute. So just say no: Why should the flood of information include life saving, eternal truth? People can go to church if they want to hear about God stuff. Can we just keep things light online? (Hey—wanna meet me in Farmville and brush my baby calf?)

3. Among the most “liked” fan pages on Facebook in 2010: Lady Gaga, the Twilight Saga, Starbucks, Southpark, and Mafia Wars. So just say no: Haven’t the people spoken? Don’t rock the boat—I say live and let live.

4. Among the “least liked” fan pages: Religious Organizations ranked No. #1; others include Education, Pharmaceutical companies, Health, and Libraries. Enough said.

5. Among the Top 10 status updates for 2010 on Facebook: movies, the World Cup, the iPhone and Justin Bieber. So just say no: C’mon, isn’t that enough fodder to ignite people’s hearts to the things of God?

6. People now spend 110 billion minutes a month on Social Networks. That’s nearly 2,000 collective years each month (walk backward and that puts you in the years right after Christ walked the earth). So just say no: With all that clicking and surfing, do you really think people have time—or the attention span—to talk about spiritual things? Anyway, I really don’t want to get defriended.

7. About 70% of Facebook users are outside the United States. Two of the regions embracing social networking the fastest: The Middle East and China, countries traditionally hostile to the gospel. Just say no: Do you really think I need to “add” more friends to my  life? And those people in other countries—aren’t there missionaries for that kind of thing? (Hey, have I ever shown you a picture of my World Vision kid . . .)

Okay—we’re sure you get the point. We wrote this blog in
jest to make the very sober point:
If not us, believers, then who?

The numbers don’t lie: time spent on social networks jumped 24% in the past year and those numbers continue to climb.The world is officially and irrevocably connected in online social communities. For Christ followers it’s a time of answered prayer. As we determine to share the gospel, we now have the Internet, which is fast proving to be the main communication artery to people’s hearts and minds.

And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. – Romans 13:11, NIV

The gospel clearly outlines our charge. No more excuses. Wake up, believer. It’s time to go here, there, and [digitally], everywhere. So are you in?

Does your faith fold into your online conversations? Why or why not?

Post/Tweet this today:
No more excuses. It’s time to wake up and speak up—here, there, and [digitally] everywhere. Are you in? #LiveSticky

* Sources
Facebook Stats: Facebook.com
Twitter Stats: Gartner Symposium
Like/Unlike Stats: Hubspot
YouTube: Web Site Monitoring Blog
Time Stats: Nielsen Wire

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  • Trinamorgan88

    This is very confusing. So, because my tweets are not only Christian based, I’m not a good. Lord forgive me, but I found you by Twitter and follow your blog. But I guess, since I’m not only a Christian online, guess I’m not welcome here.
    Do I lust and covet more then I should on Twitter, yes. Do I fall on my knees and pray to the Lord for forgiveness, yes. I’m not perfect and my flesh is very weak.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    My faith definitely folds into my online conversations. I don’t try to use social media as a platform to evangelize but since Jesus is so prominent in my life, it naturally comes out in my conversations.

    I can get a little exasperated at those people who use social media “only” to tweet pithy Christian quotes. I’m online to “interact” not get preached to (along with most others). Showing me how much you know doesn’t translate to how much you care.

  • Anonymous

    Tony, you’ve made my day! You need to do a blog on that: “Showing me how much you know doesn’t translate to how much you care.” What an EXCELLENT comment! That our faith “naturally” comes out is the daily prayer.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    That’s a good idea. I may have to give that some thought. Thanks Toni! :)

  • Anonymous

    Trina, I’m so glad you found us and took the time to comment—thank you! Everyone has different reasons for being on Twitter (all social networks) and ours here is to encourage (today with humor) one another to share the love and hope of Christ (exponentially) as we move and connect through various social networks.

    No one is perfect, so very far from it but we hope that by looking to God and what the bible says about how we are to communicate—that at the end of the day, we’ve reflected His heart online. It’s a daily struggle and a daily prayer of every Christian to see things through God’s eyes and then respond the way He would respond. It’s a journey of “getting there” and one we need God’s help with daily.

    I sure hope you’ll come back by Trina, everyone is welcome here. It’s our mission to write about the social networking culture from the Christian point of view and that will not change—but, part of that mission that the door be open & welcoming for all views. Yours added to our conversation today and I’m grateful. Tweet on, friend!

  • http://twitter.com/zioneyemedia zioneyemedia

    Hmmm… this is kind of like a question that Digital Disciples asks of it’s daily disciples: “How does your faith get stronger or tested through technology?”

    My answer to this article is in the same vein as Tony’s answer. My faith, my passions, my love for Christ is in me, and wherever I go, there He is in the midst — whether that be in the restaurants, in gas stations, or online. We are called to disciple the nations and to the ends of the earth, and in our calling we are also to be wells of living water overflowing of the Holy Spirit. As living waters, I don’t have to be “preaching” per se to share God’s Word and my testimony to someone; rather it should naturally flow through me BECAUSE of my abiding and abounding in Jesus.

    With that said, social media is just that: mediums that we can use to build relationships, discuss, converse, and share on any and every topic. As a Christian in the workplace, it is my job to not only be a servant to others (in this case, providing digital/online resources through SMM), but also to uplift, encourage and exhort others in the name of Christ, both to believers and non-believers.

    Social media is a tool, like this blog, to share, uplift, encourage, and discuss the glory of God and how we can advance His kingdom using the time, talents, treasures, and tools that have been given to us.

  • Anonymous

    Well said David and I really like the question: “How does your faith get stronger or tested through technology?” I am SO grateful that “He is in the midst” of everything I do from writing to washing my dog. He is never far and I’m grateful because I am an absolute misfit on my own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Austin-Gravley/1133100652 Austin Gravley

    A few weeks ago I tweeted something, and another user who didn’t follow me saw it, retweeted it, and brought quite of bit of atheists to come and bash me for what I said. Yet I took the time to respond to each person; some were just wanting to take cheap shots, but others were willing to talk. I have been sustaining at least two meaningful dialogues with atheists about the existence of God. As an apologist, the internet is both my greatest ally and greatest enemy, as internet atheism is both thriving, vibrant, and agressive, yet very clueless to even the most basic facts. However, to His Glory He used a simple little tweet to turn Twitter into a mission field.

  • http://twitter.com/zioneyemedia zioneyemedia

    I like that… “absolute misfit.” That’s a total band name! Inspiration is found in the least of places 😉

    Thanks, Toni!

  • Anonymous

    YOU, my friend are an excellent example of how to #LiveSticky and bring the best of what we’ve got to our online time. I’m thinking Abba Father is smiling at your dialogue. I pray God’s steadfast hand infuse your spirit, guide your tongue and take all thoughts outside of Christ captive in the power & name of Jesus. May we all be such magnets for salvation. I know another guy who brought a lot of critics by speaking the truth—they put Him on a cross. The truth is not always popular. We’ve got to be armed & discerning in every digital step. AND, as the body, we’ve got to encourage and lift one another in this mission. Bless you, Austin.

  • Kmac4him

    Yes my faith unfolds into everything I do. I don’t compartmentalize my life, it is all Jesus. The Omnipresent part of our God is something I take advantage of every single day. I believe now is a great time to be online to share about Jesus, to be hope, light, peace and wisdom! We have everything we need to shine! So Tweeter… start Glory Dusting! Tweet, Tweet! Glory Dust is sticky and it shines forever! LOL!

  • Anonymous

    Kim—you are on the money. Glory dust! I love it! No compartmentalizing allowed—all Jesus, all the time, in HD and 3D if you prefer. Thanks for weighing in! :)

  • guest

    The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Social networks are ideal picking grounds and platforms to spread the Gospel of Jesus, His love, and His grace.  It’s the perfect setting to show that Christians are people too and can live godly lives.  Jesus commands us to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. What a better way to do this than the WORLD WIDE WEB. The only problem is we don’t have enough rooted, strong Christians who will not fall into sin, idolatry and narcissism that can be birthed as a result of using social networking.  It’s wrong to pre-judge people and suspect that they won’t accept the gospel and use that as an excuse not to use social networking sites.  If you have that attitude, no one will be saved.  If all Christians had that attitude, many of us wouldn’t be saved because no one would waste their time witnessing to us.  My point is social networking, though it has its problem, should be used and fully exploited a venue or bully pit, if you will, to reach the lost and witness the graceful Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.

  • http://opiepride.com/ Michael

    You know there is new, weird faith based social network… OpiePride http://opiepride.com