I was part of a conversation with a few other people a couple weeks ago about social media. In fact, it was such an intriguing conversation that I do not recall any of us being on our cell phones, which sadly in today’s day in age, is a rarity. For instance (because it is fresh in my head) in line behind me at the supermarket last night was a mom with her son and daughter. I hear sister say to brother “Why are you taking a selfie of yourself?” Brother responds rather comfortably and without an ounce of shame in his voice with “Because I want to tweet it, duh.” Almost like, come on sis, pick up your game. Not to mention both sister and mom were on their phones also.
That is our world. During our conversation , many excellent and valid points were brought up regarding both the pros and cons of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. At first I found myself very much in favor of social media for several reasons. They serve as a very user-friendly platform for people to stay connected and informed on the lives of those people they may not see very often. Facebook messenger, for example, is an excellent method of communication with friends that we may have overseas. My husband uses it all the time to talk with his friends in Europe and the communication is flawless. Breaking news, sports scores, and weather updates are spread instantly. Those are all really great things, right?
I hesitate to say yes. Ever since that conversation about 3 weeks ago, I have been thinking about it almost daily. And I am not thinking about those pros that I just discussed, but rather the cons which our friend Andrew brought up. He made some really good points that have stuck with me. He talked a lot about what types of things people are posting. For the most part, we post about the best things going on in our lives. Social media allows users to sit behind a computer or cell phone and share what they CHOOSE to share.
So that is the point of it right? It is our personal page and we can choose whatever we want to share. Sure, some people reach out for thoughts & prayers and I do empathize with them. And I have seen the benefits of posting a question about something we need advice on. But for the most part, we post the picture that looks the best, or the picture the little kid looks the cutest in, or we create a status update which highlights something that happened during our day.
The thing I have thought about most since that day, and something that stirs in my heart, is the reason behind posting on social media. It can be to benefit other people, but the more I have thought about it, the more I realize it is about how many “likes” we get. I don’t know about you all, but it feels really good to see that little “1” in your notification box. Or 2, 3, 4, etc. As with other addictions, those likes and comments only fuel the urge to post again. And again. I remember reading an article in Psychology Today about a study in which they found that people had a harder time quitting Facebook & Twitter than giving up smoking or alcohol.
Until we realize, that is the most ingenuine form of self-worth we can acquire. It is because anytime we do something out of selfish ambition (to get those likes) that momentary gratification is fleeting. It doesn’t really make us feel like awesome people. For me personally, I would feel so much better about myself if somebody else posted something about me, and then it received attention. Simply because it wasn’t my own doing.
Lately I have been comparing how I feel about myself after I spend an hour perusing through my social media sites versus how I feel after an hour of reading my Bible or a really great book. Or even after I spend an hour watching a Ted talk or reading educational articles. Even watching a pretty tragic story on ESPN the other night, made me feel SO much better than when I sit on Facebook and see the best of people’s lives. I see pictures of their vacations, babies (which as a newly married person that isn’t good ha), and any other awesome thing they did.
I am guilty of it all. I posted my wedding & honeymoon photos, post about my blog, and whatever else I think would make my life looks super sweet. You won’t find me posting a picture of a really crappy meal I just ate. I would want to share a gourmet feast instead! But what I have and am realizing is that my life is the sweetest without social media. I am not saying whether or not I will get rid of Facebook or making any decisions right now. I do like to see pictures of people I knew 10 years ago and keep up with their lives. But, without any personal relationship or conversations, it just feels empty to me. I do cherish every picture I see of my precious nieces and nephew, but that is because I have a real relationship with them.
I read blogs and really love the authenticity in the blogs I read, but I started to realize that I read these blogs, but never comment or thank them for what they are doing. I have started to reach out to the women who write these blogs and thank them for pouring their heart into words. I have been blown away with the genuine responses and have learned that these people behind these blogs truly do it because it fills them up. Which is exactly why I started a blog and am continuing to write.
My blog doesn’t receive many “likes” or comments, but I feel like I am learning about myself and using what I know to maybe impact somebody else. My identity is not rooted in how much attention or feedback a picture can get. My identity is rooted in something so much more firm and solid. I can hear Jesus saying (unless our posts are glorifying Him) “You are crazy, you don’t need that Twitter or Facebook stuff to be accepted. You are already love unconditionally by an Eternal father.” When I think about it that way, it makes me have no desire to get on Facebook.
I know that this may rub some of you the wrong way, and I am okay with that. I am thankful my friend made me more aware of social media’s addictive and at times empty nature. For so much content on those pages, it honestly leaves me feeling like my life isn’t quite as exciting or terrific as some other people’s. I am beyond blessed, and I am learning the importance of filling my spare time with more fulfilling things. I am learning how necessary it is to not look at my phone for a few hours in the evenings when Jordan is home.
That is all for now. I hope you have a blessed and relaxing weekend.
Sending my love!
PS. If you want to read a great article that came out recently about social media, check out this one! http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/tech/5-questions-ask-posting-social-media