Practitioners Should Be Careful in How and Why They Use Facebook
(Minghui.org) I avoided Facebook for several years after it launched, as part of an habitual rejection of pop culture. But after receiving many requests from old school friends and contacts from my past, I realized it might be a good way to clarify the truth, so I created an account.
For the first year or so, I spent most of my time searching for and connecting with people from my past, and clarified the truth to them directly. I found the platform to be a very positive tool.
As time passed, I connected with more and more practitioners, and within a few years I had more than 1,000 practitioner “friends” in my list, compared to only a few hundred non-practitioner “friends.” My news feed was filled with posts about Falun Dafa, Epoch Times, Shen Yun, etc., with only a smattering of content from my non-practitioner contacts.
I assumed that my everyday people contacts probably also increased their connections and were seeing fewer and fewer of my posts to clarify the truth, because they slowly stopped responding. I noticed that many of them disappeared completely, and I discovered later that this was part of a social trend of people moving away from Facebook.
Despite my observations and stopping using Facebook as a truth-clarification tool, I continued to use Facebook. I was isolated in my life and my job, and spent countless hours on the computer every day.
When I was bored or tired, I turned to Facebook for entertainment, stimulation, and friendship. I watched intently to see if people liked my posts, and felt really good when I saw a large number of comments or likes. I also felt disappointed when my posts didn’t get noticed.
Checking Facebook was the first thing I did every morning after waking up, and the last thing I did before sleeping at night. I even told my family that I was too busy with work to do simple things with them, and yet when I calculated how much time I spent on Facebook throughout the day, it added up to around 1-2 hours!
Beyond my personal use, I also used Facebook as an official marketing tool for my truth clarification project, and spent countless hours, and even money, to promote my page. At first I felt a great sense of achievement, as my likes went up, and I felt that I was really achieving the goal of saving people.
It was only later that I realized that the number of “likes” didn’t necessarily represent the true impact of my project on saving beings. Facebook also modified its policies so that without spending more money, I couldn’t keep in contact with the people that I had already connected with, so I couldn't keep those who had truly supported my project informed and engaged. In the end, I wasn't sure that the time and money spent on Facebook was well justified.
I decided to pull back from Facebook. I noticed that every photo or update was related to showing off and trying to make oneself look good, as though one is really living the good life.
I noticed how jealous I felt when I saw people’s beautiful homes, fancy cars, and happy families. Most of all, I felt that others were living a better life than me because they were constantly doing all kinds of exciting things, and I was just doing the same old thing every day. Thank goodness I finally saw through this, and realized just how far this was from the truth!
Recently, after taking a break from Facebook for many months, I decided to post a status update. Within a few hours, I had received around ten comments, and several likes. What I found quite sad was that every response except one was from a practitioner.
Most of my non-practitioner contacts now spend very little time on Facebook and mostly use it to keep in touch with family and close friends. Yet scrolling through my newsfeed, I see that my fellow practitioners are as active as ever, constantly complimenting each other, commenting on each other's posts, and sharing status updates and photos, even photos of their food each day. But there are almost no non-practitioners involved in these conversations!
Do we really need to have so much sentimentality between us as practitioners? The more time practitioners spend on Facebook, the less time they spend saving sentient beings. Wouldn’t we be better off just making a phone call to a local practitioner to see if they need some support, or go out to practice the exercises with a fellow practitioner and study the Fa? These are the meaningful connections, the ones that truly matter.
I wrote this sharing in hope that it would encourage practitioners to carefully consider their motivations for using Facebook, and make sure that it’s truly for the purpose of saving people. There is very little time.
Category: Improving Oneself