Before you disregard the possibility this subject could apply to you, consider your desire to get to the point and/or just read the title and move on, thinking you already understand the point, as an indication of the very thing I'm about to expose. Many of us, including myself, when I allow the autopilot to engage, allow our lives to feel like a Facebook feed. I've even caught myself scrolling through verses in the Bible as if it were an "app". God help me.
This isn't meant as a guilt trip. It's meant to make you stop and take notice. If you do, I think you'll realize that the effect social media has on our lives can be insidious and very hard to reverse. This is not to vilify social media either- it is neither inherently good or bad. In fact, technology, in general, serves a great many purposes which I need not address here. The point is that once you begin to serve technology, rather than it serving your benefit, you have gone down a very dangerous path.
So, if we're past the generalizations about good or bad, guilt or freedom, and all the other hang ups we can use as an excuse to stay "asleep" as we weave our way through our lives, we can do ourselves a great service by paying active attention to how social media changes our perception and interaction with life. This may be far easier for those of us old enough to remember a life with less intrusive forms of technology.
Consider these things- do you become impatient with your kids if they interrupt your "browsing"? Do you find yourself looking for shorter and shorter YouTube videos because you just can't imagine stopping to think versus consuming? Have patient and thoughtful conversations with friends and loved ones lessened as you've become more involved in social media? Have you noticed yourself being treated more like a 'avatar', a number, by others- thing customer service, job hunting and the resume experience? Do you sometimes get down on yourself when viewing the seemingly perfect lives of others via their posts to social media Think about the areas of your life, you now take as normal, that weren't so normal before people began the social media engagement craze.
It may take a short time, or a very long time, depending on the person, to realize that we are all de-humanizing one another. This isn’t just happening in some online life we can detach from. It is creeping into the most intimate parts of our real, everyday, lives. I remember joining Facebook just so that I could connect with friends and family and see pictures and hear great stories etc. Somewhere along the line, we began expanding friends in the thousands, using one another for 'hits' and 'follows'. I hate to break it to you, but you don’t have 1,000 friends.
Take one week, one day even if that’s too hard, and simply be aware of how you interact with social media and how it affects your day to day life. Don’t judge, just be aware. Notice when you go to your phone to check Facebook during a lull at work rather than think about your significant other, your kids, or simply be in the moment with whatever it is that is primary in your mind. Decide if you are really using social media to enrich your life, or for something else.
Slow down and use all these technological wonders to humanize each other. Use them to bring people together, understand more deeply, expose yourself to thoughts and ideas you might not have ever had access to before. Like most anything in life, our technological advancement can be used for incredible improvements in our lives. Connection can be a source of joy and love, just as in a healthy marriage. But just as in an unhealthy marriage, connection can also bring pain if you allow it to be a doorway for negativity to come into your life.
God's Grace be with you- Pastor Rob