Facebook is a
Powerful Tool for Pro-Lifers
By Jonathan Rogers
The social networking
web site Facebook may be one of the most powerful new tools
available to the pro-life movement. While other mediums (blogs,
YouTube, Twitter, etc.) have considerable value, Facebook has a key
advantage: it mirrors real-life social interaction. Let’s see how.
For those unfamiliar
with Facebook, users register to create a profile page of themselves
and connect to other users through “friending” each other. Profiles
You can offer as
little or as much personal information as you wish—everything from
church affiliation and character descriptions to favorite movies,
music, books, hobbies, etc. Users interact with their online
“friends” by sending messages (similar to e-mail), posting on each
other’s profile pages, and updating their status (a short message
displayed at the top of the user’s profile page, anything from a
funny anecdote, thought of the day, or what that person is doing at
the moment). In addition, users can create “groups,” which are
unique pages geared towards a specific cause or organization,
ranging from political groups, sports fans, discussion forums, to
the random and miscellaneous.
connection to the Movement is that the majority of users on Facebook
interact with people they already know in real life. If users
“friend” someone they do not already know, it is almost always
because of something the two users have in common, such as a mutual
friend or a mutual cause. While the “friend” status of users on
Facebook might not always signify the same sort of relationships we
have in real life, Facebook friends do connect because they want to
share things with each other as individuals, just as if they were
having a physical conversation.
There are two
important advantages for pro-lifers worth highlighting. The first is
that it is easier than ever before to reach out to other pro-life
individuals, to communicate with them, and organize.
For chapters, a
Facebook group can help with many activities. A group page can
enable quick messaging to members, planning and discussion of
events, free advertising for individuals looking for a group in
their area, and an entire contact list readily available at a
But for any pro-life
individual, whether active in a chapter or not, Facebook can be your
own small contribution to building the culture of life. Plenty of
active pro-lifers constantly post news articles or stories about
abortion they find interesting and worth sharing. By posting news
stories, or the latest important legislative alerts going out, you
can in turn help spread the word to everyone you know.
Internet is renowned for dramatically lowering the bar for civility
and accuracy in discussion and dissemination of information.
It goes without
saying that the same rules for fact-checking and decorum we use in
real life apply online.
This is doubly
important because many of your Facebook friends will be people you
know in real life. They will be more likely to trust the information
coming from you, rather than from a generic media outlet, which
makes the obligation to be extra careful all the more imperative.
We must never forget
that at the end of the day, there is no substitute for the honest
work of face-to-face meetings and events to spread our message. That
is why we should always keep in mind that Facebook is a tool, not a
wonder weapon, and that what is posted is for the world to see. And,
of course, while extremely valuable, Facebook should not be seen as
a magic cure-all for pro-lifers.
But Facebook is a
wonderful way to network with pro-life friends and to send a
life-affirming message out to a wider audience. If an individual
isn’t pro-life yet, you’ll be exposing them to the pro-life message
every time your status updates and postings show up in their news
Consider how many
pro-lifers came to into the Movement through the happenstance of a
conversation with a friend or a casual perusal of a pro-life news
article. One’s Facebook profile can significantly boost the reach of
the pro-life message.
A daily discipline as
simple as posting NRLC’s Today’s News & Views article to your
profile might end up recruiting a new volunteer, or, more
significantly, saving a life.