Social Media can serve many good purposes. Thanks to Facebook I now “know” people from High School I would probably only remember by looking through my year book. I am able to keep up with friends I have met in other counties. I can stay connected with friends and family who I rarey get to see, in a fun and even every day sort of way. These are good things. There are many more.
But, of course, there are many ways social media has impacted us negatively. While in some senses we are “more connected” than ever before, we are also more disconnected than ever before. Sometimes we are so busy trying to capture a moment that we cease to actually live in it. Not only that but we even “set up” moments that would not actually exist, if it were not for posting about it. We can be sitting in a room full of people on their phones, completely disconnected, yet once we get home we post about how wonderful our time was together. Before we know it, we are filtering our lives through social media… How can I turn this real life moment into a pretty picture? A funny status? A clever tweet?
I am guilty. Guilty of all this. If this blog is for anyone and about anyone, it is ME.
Just a year ago I had never had a smart phone of any form. I think there is something about having a phone that is only capable of calls and texts that makes it easy to put it away and forget about it for a while. You know, to actually put it in your purse or pocket and not get it out for a few hours. I think that with smart phones, even if we are not “on” them, we have them by our side at every moment because of the instant connectivity they provide. What if we miss something? So we are constantly checking them. It is just habit. We don’t even know why we are looking at them… again. 5 minutes later. I used to resent people for always being on or by their phone. How quickly I have joined the “smart phone trend.” Sadly, this trend is much more than simply owning one. It includes our attachment to it. All. The. Time.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, recently my husband and I set up parental control on my phone to limit how often I can be on Facebook each day. Yep, it is that bad. It took doing that. But I have a hunch that I am not completely alone here. That maybe together (with varying degrees) we have let Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram become more a part of lives than we would like to admit. We might be pretty embarrassed if someone tracked how long we were on certain apps or sites each day. I, for one, have never gone to bed wishing I looked at my phone screen for longer that day. So, I decided to list some questions that might be helpful for us to ask ourselves when it comes to this thing that has captivated so many of us-
- Do I own it, or does it own me? Am I in control, or is it?
- Could I give it up for a greater purpose if I needed to?
- Could I go a day without it?
- Is this enhancing my life or hindering it?
- Am I using it for the good of myself and others?
- How often do I actually want to be on social media each day?
- What are the times I need to put my phone down?
- What do I need to actively do/change in order for social media to be what I want it to be in my life?
- What is my purpose behind posting this? Why, really why, am I posting this?
- What message am I sending? (about life, reality, beauty, body image, mankind, social issues, politics, worldview, relationships?)
- Would I say this in real life?
- Does it matter to me how many likes this gets? Why?
- Does this person actually want me to post this about them?
- Is this feeding or bringing out any weaknesses I have? (Laziness, escape, envy, nosiness, need for affirmation, slander, pride, insecurities)
- Is it hindering real (face to face) relationships?
- Is this the very best use of my time, in this very moment?
- Am I being intentional or aimless?
- Is this truly me and my life, or the way I want people to see it?
For Christians specifically:
- Am I speaking in a way that is not corrupting, only good for building up, fits the occasion, and gives grace to those who hear? (Ephesians 4:29)
- Does it cause me to think on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise? (Phil. 4:8)
- Am I adorning the gospel? (Titus 2:10)
- Does posting this promote/take part in senseless quarreling? (2 Timothy 2:23)
- Ultimately- Am I delighting in God, glorifying God, and loving God and others more by doing this?
Now, let’s sign off for the night.
Eat a bowl of ice cream.
Read a book.
Enjoy the people around us.