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Texas advice: Don’t look up all your exes on Facebook

Blogging live from Abilene, Texas
As Erik Tryggestad noted in Monday night’s Samson saluted in Abilene post, we are here in West Texas for Abilene Christian University’s Summit Bible conference.

The logo for this week’s ACU Summit.

Brian Bethel of the Abilene Reporter-News has an interesting story on today’s front page about a session Monday:

Facebook isn’t just a place to connect with friends old and new.
Improperly used, it’s a place that can shatter even healthy marriages, a speaker at Abilene Christian University’s yearly Summit Bible conference said.
It’s a topic that has captured the interest of everyone from therapists to attorneys, said Diana Walla, a marriage and family therapist in private practice from Tyler, who spoke to a full room Monday afternoon about “Facebook and Adultery” in the University’s Biblical Studies building.
Citing a story on CNN’s website, Walla said a recent survey of attorneys by Divorce-Online.com said Facebook is mentioned in about 20 percent of current divorce cases.
There’s even a website, FacebookCheating.com, for people who have been cheated on, or want a confessional for having cheated, through the popular social media site.

Read the full story.
Questions for Chronicle readers: Do you use Facebook? If so, what steps do you take to assure appropriate boundaries? What do you see as the positive and negative aspects of Facebook?

  • Feedback
    I have been using Facebook; however, I don’t use it much because it and my big mouth has been getting me in trouble lately. So I have been limiting my access to not only Facebook, but other electronic media content(television, Internet, etc.). My boundaries are that anything that takes me away from time number one priority with God, is a problem. I don’t get too personal with my information because everyone and their grandparent can see it on Facebook and I’m being very careful with what info I do post on the site if I go that route. The positive aspects of Facebook is that you get to catch up with people you have not seen in many years and you get to keep in touch with friends that you otherwise would not be able to do. Negative aspects: somethings that you post or do now could come back to bite you later if you’re not careful.
    September, 21 2010

    Hi I think you will find that the survey was published by www.divorce-online.co.uk and not divorce-online.com. Thank you.
    Mark Keenan
    September, 21 2010

    Funny you should ask.
    Just last week I commented on wall posts by a recently departed (and obviously marginal) member of our congregation that described her intent to get drunk over the weekend followed up the next day by another post on the severity of her hangover.
    New technology (like Facebook) has a way of catching old-fashioned immoralities by surprise.
    Bill Brewer
    September, 24 2010

    We use it at Woodmont Hills Mission Committee (along with twitter, identi.ca, skype, blog, newsletters, flickr, youtube) to communicate with both our missionaries and potential funders in the congregation (Mission Sunday, November 7). We also use it to promote potential missionaries for whom we do not have current funding but for whom we want to give an endorsement–to encourage others to fund them. We hope to do more with both mobile (health, money) and online video) in the future.
    Ed Dodds
    September, 24 2010

    Things entered on Facebook are only “out there for the world to see” if–when you set up your account–you specify that option. One other option is to make your posts available only to people on your Friends list.
    Don’t just assume that your membership is set the way you want, though. I recently looked up the profile of a member of our youth group whom my daughters, wife, and I talk to on a regular basis, and her whole profile was available for me to read…again, because she hadn’t limited its visibility to people whom she had authorized by putting them on her “Friends” list.
    …just another thing for internet users–AND parents–to watch for.
    Russ Sharp
    September, 24 2010

    I use Facebook to publicize my book, �Non-Prophet Murders: A Grit and Grace Mystery�, so my profile is public. Anything I don�t want posted, I �message� to individuals.
    <abbr title=”Becky Wooley”>
    Becky Wooley
    September, 24 2010

    There is another danger with Facebook. Say you get someone angry – as preachers often do whether meaning to or not – and that person decides to try and take revenge on you. I’ll tell you what happened to me – an anonymous source went to my Facebook page, gathered information about who my friends were from my friends list, and sent false rumors about me to my friends, especially those who were members of my congregation.
    Now I had thought I had everything turned to “private” – in fact I am very sure I did at one point. Apparently Facebook changed its privacy controls and it ended up resetting mine to where my name and my friends list was public again. It was incredibly easy for someone to search for me, get my list of friends as contacts, then make up a fake profile to spread their venom.
    Worse – there’s not a thing I can do about it … Facebook would have to be subpoenaed to give me the records they have, which only gives me an IP number. Assuming no proxies were used, then I would have to subpoena the ISP to get the name. Even then, it could have been done from a library or any number of public access points. And after all that, say I did find out … so what? What could I do about it?
    Now I will say this – people who believed the lies about me bear some blame. They accepted the word of someone that won’t even give their true name or information over me, something I do not believe a Christian should ever do. However, had it not been for Facebook and my own carelessness with my information there (and some other places … apparently one was being too trusting of somebody and I don’t even know who they are yet), the damage could have been limited and controlled. So be careful who you trust and what you make available to people.
    Vincent Eagan
    September, 24 2010

    Facebook can be a great thing, but it can also cause LOTS of trouble in your marriage if you use it incorrectly. Funny the following post I wrote on “10 Facebook Rules for Married Couples” continue to be one of my most popular posts.
    Trey Morgan
    September, 25 2010

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