Monday, January 13, 2014

On Social Media

Web 2.0. Social networking. YouTube. Blogs. Facebook. Pinterest. Twitter. You get the idea. The beauty of social media is that it allows people to create content on the Internet for other people to see, share, admire, hate, whatever. It helps us connect with people we haven't seen in 20 or 30 years, or in the last five minutes. Or who we've never met. It gives us the instant gratification of being noticed, appreciated, liked. It's addicting, especially for someone like me, who thrives on approval.

There are ugly sides to social media, too. There are privacy concerns, for those who actually are concerned about privacy. There are marketing issues, for anyone who has tried to market themselves and their products through social media. There is the sheer time and effort involved - time and effort that we could, and maybe should, be spending on other things like, oh, I don't know, real relationships with real people. It's time consuming and a little bit risky to put yourself out there, where everyone can see what you did today, what you really thought of that movie or that actress's dress, or what so and so did or said, or what you ate for dinner, or how cute your kid looked on his birthday. But we keep doing it. It's become a part of our culture, who we are, how we define ourselves. And that's one of the beauties of social media: you get to craft your profile, your posts, your persona, just the way you want it to be. It doesn't have to be real or genuine, if you don't want it to be. But that's part of the fun, right?

I'm not saying that social media is good or bad. It just is. Like the internet, television, video games, and any other amoral source of information or entertainment, social media is what we make of it. Sometimes I make too much of it. Sometimes I rely on comments and likes on Facebook, views on my blog, and favorites and retweets on Twitter for my sense of worth and accomplishment. And honestly, that's wrong. As in, sinful. My worth, my identity, my meaning in life comes from who I am in Christ. My purpose is to glorify His name, bring Him attention, impact lives by drawing them to Him. Not to gather my own followers and fans. Reality check.

So I won't be deleting my Facebook account (although don't get me started on Facebook - but I'll save that rant for a later post) or deactivating my Twitter, and there's a good chance that there will still be times when I get carried away with thinking my internet presence is somehow important. It's not. There are moments when it's a good idea to stop, look around, and remember what truly is important. God. Family. Friends. The relationships that last forever. One thing I love about social media is that it allows relationships to grow and flourish everywhere. I just want to keep it real, and keep it all in perspective.

What about you? Do you ever get carried away by social media?

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Hey, please comment! When no one comments I feel like no one is reading this, and then I have to do really annoying things like nag my friends to read it so that I feel like there is some purpose in what I do. Yeah, I am that pathetic sometimes. (By the way, you might want to copy your comment before you try to post it, because sometimes people have trouble with the page eating their comments)