Status update. Liking. Sharing. Timeline. Newsfeed. Friends. Tagging. Check-Ins.
Do any of these words sound familiar? If so, then you must have a social media account. Here are some more words related to social media: overshare, TMI, stalking, privacy (or lack thereof).
Someone once asked me what was the use for social media? I answered, “Nosiness and narcissism.” Let’s face it, social media is a great way to keep up with the goings on with our friends and family, but deep down we may just be nosy and interested in what other people are doing. We may also be comparing ourselves to them or trying to get attention. It’s OK. That’s just one more human weakness that we might share. It’s when our social media time goes beyond being a communication tool that we need to be cautious.
Social media can have a purpose. It connects us and allows us to share our lives in a fun way when we’re all going a million directions at once. We can network and support each other and, for businesses, it can be an invaluable tool for connecting with customers and clients. I enjoy logging on to social media and seeing what my friends are up to. Many of them post hilarious pictures and videos and say the funniest things in their status updates. I get to see their kids grow up even if they live clear across the country and I can enjoy the assistance of others when I need help.
There is such a thing as a “social media addiction”. Do you think you have one? It’s very possible that you do if you’re hopping on social media multiple times per day. It’s a great way to procrastinate or kill time or just goof off. As a true addiction, it would have to hold a place in your heart that pushes your real life out of the way. If you’re sacrificing time with your family or letting critical tasks go by the wayside, then you might want to take a step back and evaluate your use of social media. I admit, there is a rush you get when you’ve posted some exciting news and a whole bunch of your best friends like your status. You feel loved and encouraged. However, a red flag should go up when a status update has been posted just to get attention. Thankfully, I don’t see this often and, in most cases, everyone I know is sharing some fabulous and fun stuff. In a caring environment of good friends and family, social media can be a lifeline in an otherwise frustrating and lonely world.
We’ve all seen it: the inappropriate posts, the cuss words, the strangers that post horrible comments in a large forum, the fake shares that pull your heart strings. For example, “Help! My sister’s son has been abducted”, OR “My daughter has cancer”, OR “Bill Gates will give us each $10,000 if we like this page”. If you haven’t locked down your privacy settings, then a lot of your page will be seen by the public. If your teenage daughter is sharing pictures of her latest outfit, she might be devastated when a mean girl makes a comment about her “tacky shoes”. Your children may feel pressured to join virtual groups that are not good for them just like they might on a school campus. Social media has become another scary minefield for our kids to navigate and sometimes with tragic consequences such as physical attack, death and even suicide.
What does the Bible say?
The good news is that it’s all about balance. We all have lots to do on any given day and although socializing in person or on the internet is an important part of our culture, it can’t be done at the expense of our God-given purpose or our family. God has quite an agenda laid out for each of us. We don’t have the luxury of goofing off too much of the 24 hours He’s given us every day. It’s okay to relax but try not to fritter away too much time on social media.
Here are some Scriptures that can help restore balance:
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” -Proverbs 17:17
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and WE TAKE CAPTIVE EVERY THOUGHT TO MAKE IT OBEDIENT TO CHRIST” (emphasis mine). –2 Corinthians 10:5
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8
When you’re going about your daily life, evaluate what is important and especially consider what is important to God…you! Make sure you’re finding balance through the Word of God and spending time with the closest friend you have…Jesus Christ.
In all things, give glory to God!
Paula Aiton is a local freelance writer, musician and artist. She is a member of Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA and can be reached at 559-582-1528.