Social Media should I stay or should I go? Have you ever asked yourself this question? What is the right answer?
If you are anything like me at one time or another, these questions have crossed your mind.
Social media not only didn’t exist when I was younger we didn’t even imagine it or the impact it would have on our world individually and collectively.
Where Did It All Begin
Before the twentieth-century social media was a pen and paper followed by the telephone. Hardly what we think when we hear the word social media.
The first social media as we think about it today was Six Degrees and began in 1997 followed by blogging sites in 1999.
With the advent of the 2000s, social media sites began to appear with Facebook and Twitter first appearing in 2006.
Now there are so many social media sites it’s hard to keep up with them. But are they good or bad and should we take part?
At its best social media is a place of connection and community.
Personally, it has allowed me to reconnect and keep in touch with friends and family. I love seeing the pictures of what is going on in their lives and hearing their stories.
It also gives me a place to share my writing.
And who isn’t entertained by the cute videos of kitties, puppies, and babies?
Social Media is also a place to live out your faith online not by being preachy but by sharing things that are uplifting and encouraging. And what others post also makes a great prayer list.
However, if we are not vigilant, it can be an all-consuming time trap.
We sit down to take a quick glance at our social media app of choice and the minutes quickly turn into hours.
If we are not careful, it can turn into an addiction. Yes, scientific studies show that social media can develop into an addiction.
I have also seen friendships and family relations damaged or destroyed by rants or political debates online.
It’s important to remember who we are and be real when we are sharing. But while we don’t want merely to share the highlight reel we also need boundaries with how much of our personal lives we share.
It also can be potentially dangerous.
I’m not just talking about the viruses we can pick up on our devices by clicking on “take this quiz” or “If you agree copy and share this post.” Although we need to be knowledgeable about all the technical dangers that can cause significant damage to our devices and our friend’s devices, there is an even greater danger.
I’m talking about our physical and spiritual wellbeing.
Recent studies show that excessive time on our devices can change our brains. For instance, causing shortened attention spans. And we are yet to see what the long-term effects of this might be.
We also need to guard against making it a place we turn to seek approval or comparing our life to someone else.
And ultimately, if we are not careful, it can turn into an idol pushing God further out of our life.
A Social Media Strategy
While doing research for this post, I read articles that depicted social media as having no redeeming qualities and a tool of Satan. While others represented it as the end all be all.
The truth is, it is neither all bad nor all good. But we need to use wisdom and be intentional in the way we use it.
For me, that meant doing a heart check and asking myself some tough questions and then developing a strategy for how I will use social media.
Your strategy will look different from mine but perhaps what I did will give you some ideas on how to create your own plan.
Whatever plan you come up with just make sure it includes your heart, your thinking, your words, and your actions.
My Personal Challenge
This is the challenge I have created for myself. Let me be clear, by no means do I get it right all the time but I review it regularly to see where I need to make adjustments or changes.
- Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and discernment before I log in to a social media platform.
- I remind myself that God loves every person I encounter, and there are real people behind every post.
- Check and approve all links to everything I share before I share them.
- Correctly attribute quotes, articles, and thoughts that aren’t mine.
- Only use social media as a place to encourage, edify, and inform.
- Proofread before I post.
- Be kind and truthful in everything I share and try to add value to the online communities in which I participate.
- Maintain a sense of humor and not take myself too seriously.
- Don’t criticize or belittle others.
- When I tell someone I will pray for them I do.
- Set time limits on how much time I spend on social media.
- I will not text, tweet, Facebook or check my email while driving.
- Don’t respond to the posts of others impulsively.
- No checking social media before I have an alone time with God.
- Take occasional shorts breaks (a day or a week) where I do not check social media.
- I will guard my heart by setting boundaries for what I read and watch.