While I’m not a fan of Facebook groups, I do enjoy connecting with people on my Facebook page.
However, from time to time, I’ll look at some of the news feeds of my friends. And I’ll see some of them getting roped into full-blown doctrinal beat downs on their walls.
In like manner, I’ve been pulled into countless Facebook groups – meaning, people “joined” me.
I don’t follow these groups and rarely make a comment.
However, once in a while I’ll get tagged, so I end up looking at the thread.
For the last seven years in observing these groups (I’ve been added to over 100 of them), and I’ve lost count of the knock-down, drag-out, WWE-styled smackdowns over biblical topics and social issues I’ve seen.
The people go back and forth, some ending up being so infuriated that they end up blocking their debating opponents.
In addition, some of the befuddled contentious souls are routinely banned from these groups.
(Oh, these are all “Christian” groups, mind you. Ahem . . . )
Not once during these blood-lettings have I ever seen anyone change their minds.
Lots of wasted time and energy is burned up in these threads. And for that reason, people leave them constantly.
Why, then, do people continue to argue and exchange theological (and personal) blows on Facebook?
These are the thoughts that have gone through my mind whenever I’ve observed these things:
“Has it not dawned on them that their comments are not making a dent in the minds of others?”
“Do they have too much time on their hands, so debating and angering people is a pleasant hobby for them?”
“Do they have a lot of pent up frustration that they are unwittingly unleashing on the pour souls who are part of these groups?”
“Have they still not discovered the other means that actually impact people and change hearts and minds?”
Now, I’m sure there may be a few exceptions to the above. (In life, there are always the .001% exceptions.)
Typically, authors who have loyal followings don’t have this problem too often, and Facebook groups that are tiny don’t either.
But for the rest, it’s pretty much the norm.
Surprisingly, shortly after I wrote this post and put it in my queue, one of my Facebook friends made this comment on his wall:
Facebook is not a place for intelligent dialogue. I have learned very few people can have a rational discussion about just about anything. I look, but have learned to refrain from engaging current political, religious or cultural topics. The vast majority of people already have their minds made up on a given issue and viewpoint. Facebook is merely a place they use to reinforce that viewpoint and anything challenging them is viciously attacked.
My point is simple.
Facebook isn’t the best place to change people’s minds.
It’s a great way to keep up with old friends or — if you’re a writer of any kind — to connect with your readers.
But in terms of real impact and changing people’s minds, there are far more effective ways of doing both.