Monday I posted on the challenge of of soul detox and specifically, the impact of social media. For some of you this isn’t relevant and you can stop reading, but many are asking things like:
- If a tree falls in the forest and no one posts about it has it still fallen ?
- If I don’t post pictures of all my child’s “firsts” do they still have a chance to get into Harvard or will they be in therapy?
- How many cat pictures are too many cat pictures?**
This month, Andy Crouch, the editor of Christianity Today wrote:
“The personal screen, especially with its attached and always available camera, invites us to star in our own small spectacle. As our social network chimes, blinks, and buzzes with intermittent approval, we are constantly updated on our success in gaining public affirmation. But having attracted us with the promise of approval and belonging, the personal screen can just as easily herald exclusion and hostility…”
I have wrestled with the power of social media as it affects my soul. As I’ve been thinking about this, I see at least 5 purposes for social media (and a lot of it is good!):
1. Sharing information or resources.
2. Community connection and encouragement.
3. Mobilization of folks around a cause.
5. Self-promotion thinly disguised as sharing information. (See also, “humble brag”)
As a writer and a speaker wanting to reach others (hopefully FOR Jesus and in a way that honors HIM), the conventional wisdom says I have to communicate through social media. Build a platform. Grow an audience. But whenever did Jesus go with conventional wisdom, right?
Whether your job “needs” a platform or not, social media can impact the health of your soul like sugar can affect the health of a diabetic.
When we post or scan or link or like, maybe we can ask ourselves:
In this moment is social media a tool or an idol?
- Is this a tool that I am using in a way that will enable me to love God and others better?
- Or is this an idol – tempting me to live out of my false self – the self that is dependent on titles and likes and comparison and promotion to be validated.
In addition to the potential toxicity, there’s also the distraction factor of social media.
Let’s face it. We are all spiritually ADD and no amount of Ritalin is going to help. We are so bombarded with STUFF from the world that maybe cultivating some boundaries in order to focus on Jesus is a good strategy.
“Oftentimes the very things that look like opportunities are the things that later on distract us and derail us.” Michael Hyatt
I see tremendous value in social media. I just think we need to submit it, like everything, to God (which is hard!) I’m not sure the details of what’s best for me, so I’m continuing to pray. I’m asking “Lord are there boundaries of time, or sites, people, or posts that will help me love You and others better?”
“Do the right thing for the right reasons at the right time.” Greg Mckeown
My reading this morning just “happened” to be warnings on idols from Deuteronomy. He is timely, eh? 🙂
“Don’t fool around with other gods, the gods of your neighbors, because God, your God, who is alive among you is a jealous God.” Deut. 6
I know this isn’t an issue for everyone, but I’m interested in hearing thoughts from those of you who have struggled in the area of social media and your soul.
**One is too many