Is social media helping us or hurting us today?
I admit that I enjoy social media. I am on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. But I don’t know how to tweet, and I don’t use Pinterest (I know – some of you are in shock!). I just recently got on Facebook after years of saying I never would. But I wanted to stay in touch with friends and family and reconnect with friends all over the world. Facebook has allowed me to do so.
There are definitely benefits to social media (and I’ll refer mainly to Facebook in this post, for simplification). Some of the benefits are:
- Keeping up with friends from years past on Campus Crusade staff; disciples, disciplers, coworkers
- Keeping up with friends and ministry partners all around the world
- Keeping up with what’s going on in my home town
- Seeing pictures of kids and grandkids of friends and family
But, there are also negatives to social media if we aren’t careful. For instance:
- It can monopolize our time and hinder us from getting important things done.
- We can become consumed with how many “likes” or “shares” we get from our status, and those things begin to give us a false sense of worth (or worthlessness).
- We can portray ourselves on Facebook in ways that aren’t true to who we are or how we’re really doing.
- It can give us a false sense of community and keep us from building real community – face to face. I heard recently about a woman who committed suicide because she was so lonely. She had over 2000 Facebook friends.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Facebook. I’m not writing this to condemn Facebook or any other social media tool. I see the benefits. But I also see the dangers that can come from allowing it to get out of control.Some questions to ask ourselves to help keep things in perspective:
- How much time do I spend on social media in a day, and does it take away time from doing something that is more of a priority?
- Is it hindering my productivity?
- Why do I spend time on social media? What am I wanting to get out of it?
- Is it helping me connect with friends and family or hindering me from building face-to-face relationships?
- Do I spend more time communicating through social media than I do talking with people face to face? Is it helping me develop real authentic relationships, or hindering me?
I don’t plan to quit Facebook or Instagram any time soon. But I need to keep evaluating my motives and the time I spend on it.
What are some helpful parameters you’ve set for yourself concerning social media?