Why did I write a blog on social media? Well, maybe the better question is, why not? Social media has become, and is quickly becoming more and more, something at everyone’s fingertips. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and the list goes on and on. I enjoy having social media, and I enjoy being able to see what everyone is doing. Most of us can relate to social media in some way, and some of us don’t know how to get off of it. As a Christian, I’m always trying to ride that tension of using the resources that I have in a way that pleases and points to God, and its tough!
Is social media a good thing? I think yes, but also no at times. I’ve had a difficult time figuring out what a healthy social media groove is for me, which is what led me to this blog.
Here are my personal current thoughts on pro’s and con’s for social media as I process these things:
- It keeps me connected to people.
I’m an extrovert and a people-person. I like to be connected to people and know what’s going on. It’s the way that I’m wired. I recognize that this is a good thing for me and a gift from the Lord because it is the way He created me. I don’t meet a stranger and I really want to know what is going on in people’s lives, especially with my friends and family that live in different places.
- It can be used to inspire and encourage people.
Because just about everyone is on social media, everyone can make the decision to post encouraging and inspiring things. So much time is spent scrolling through a news feed, and I know that we would all prefer to read and see things that lift us up, rather than bring us down.
- It’s helpful and necessary for certain things.
For some people with certain jobs, types of social media are necessary. It may not be always required for a job or vocation, but it can usually be helpful in some way. It can be used for promotion, marketing, networking, advertisement, event planning, invites, groups, communication and more. It’s one of the best ways to communicate with people these days personally and professionally.
- Comparison and Discontentment
This is such a hard one, and one of the most difficult for me. Most people don’t put their worst on social media, but rather their best. When we see everyone’s best, we begin to think that our best doesn’t measure up to theirs. I know that I have SO much to be thankful for, but social media can rob me of that joy if I’m not careful. Its often easier to envy others rather than celebrate with them. When I compare, it leads to discontentment, which is not God honoring or even enjoyable.
- Once you post it, it’s out there.
We need to always think twice before posting anything. Once we post it, it’s out there. I’m sure we have all had regrets for something that we posted. As I mentioned previously, we all have the decision to make of what we post. If we have mixed feelings about a post, we probably shouldn’t post it. If our posts are going to send more mixed, confusing, or negative signals (that’s another blog!), then we probably shouldn’t post it. Others are watching, and others are effected by what we put out there, whether we want them to be or not. It does matter!
- It can be addicting and distracting.
If I took a vote, and asked everyone reading this how many people have found themselves on social media for a longer period of time than they meant to be, or have also been distracted from their school work or work because of social media, I assume that most hands would go up! Productivity and time management can be harmed by the amount of time we spend on social media.
So, now what?
- Evaluate how you use it and what you use it for.
I know for me, I’ve had to think a lot lately about how I use social media. Do I use it JUST for my own gain, attention and benefit, or do I use it with other people in mind? How have I used social media in the past, and how can I improve on how I use it moving forward? I think those are honest questions that we can all ask ourselves.
- Find a healthy rhythm.
I’m pretty sure this is probably the hardest next step for me. What is a healthy social media rhythm? I’ve tried not getting on after dinner, taking one day off a week, taking the app’s off my phone, only using it when I have wi-fi, etc. A friend of mine has an 8 to 8 rule, only getting on between 8am and 8pm. Whatever that healthy rhythm looks like for each of us, we need to develop it and stick to it!
- Think twice before posting.
What we post matters and people ARE watching! Let’s use social media for the good. Yes, we need to be real (and transparent at times) and not fake, but I also believe that there is a time and place for posting certain things. We must be wise and be discerning. Everyone does not need to see everything all the time, nor do they want to!
I hope that these practical thoughts get us all thinking about how to take more steps in the direction of using social media as an avenue to encourage one another and glorify God!