Thursday, January 17, 2013

Will You Be My Facebook Friend?

Will You Be My Facebook Friend?: Social Media and the Gospel by Tim Chester

"Social networking brings many benefits" (pg. 9). "But it readily gets perverted by our sin, and used for selfish ends" (pg. 11). Have you ever asked yourself: "Why do people spend so much time on Facebook? Why do they feel the need to check and recheck their social media? What does it do for them? What does it offer" (pg. 15). Or perhaps you've considered why you feel drawn to social media yourself. Tim Chester considers these topics and more in his newest book, Will you be my Facebook friend?.

On Pages 17-18, Chester writes:

"For countless people, of course, using Facebook is not a problem. For many it is all blessing. But there are some dangers in social networking, and here are some possible warning signs:
  • Do you check your Facebook page more than once or twice a day?
  • Do you spend more than twenty minutes a day on Facebook?
  • Do you find it difficult to imagine a day without technology?
  • Have you ever read a text or gone online during a church gathering?
  • Have you stayed up beyond your normal bedtime because you were on Facebook or playing online games?
  • Do you use your mobile phone during meals or keep it in the bedroom?"

If you can answer yes to any of the above questions, you should probably consider reading a book about the effects of social media. Will you be my Facebook friend? is a thought-provoking introduction to this topic. Tim Chester is gifted at writing concise books that "pack a punch", and this book is no exception.

Those who regularly make use of social media ought to carefully weigh the benefits and problems of this technology so that they are better equipped to avoid the problems and glorify God in this realm. Tim Chester familiarizes his reader with several sinful heart issues that drive social media usage. "Image, identity, idolatry, and self-promotion are just some of the challenges that social networking can present" (Back Cover).

Regular readers may remember that I reviewed (and highly recommended) Tim Challies' book, The Next Story, last May. I have to admit that Challies' book is still my favorite on the subject, thus far. At around 200 pages, The Next Story offers a more balanced, thorough treatment of the subject, with a stronger Biblical basis and useful "Questions for Reflection". However, Tim Chester raises some issues not explicitly mentioned by Challies. Consequently, Will you be my Facebook friend? is a welcome addition to and continuation of the "conversation" concerning digital technology. Your attention span may determine which one you read first, but I think both deserve a place in your reading "queue" if you are a regular user of social media.

*Many thanks to Cross Focused Reviews for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

1 comment:

Shaun Tabatt said...

Elizabeth,

Thanks for being part of the blog tour. Chester's book is a great addition to the growing conversation about social media and the gospel.

Shaun Tabatt
Cross Focused Reviews