Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Monster That Is Facebook (And Other Social Media Sites)

After spending an unexpected three hours on Facebook, have you ever found yourself wondering, “What happened? Where’s the time gone?” Do you find yourself accepting the requests of people you barely know? Or maybe you have a better relationship with someone online than you do in real life. Any of this sound familiar?

Yeah, it does to me, too.

How did something as simple as a way to interact with our friends turn into such a Monster? Don’t get me wrong. Social media sites can be great for communicating with our friends and reconnecting with friends lost, but they are also dangerous.

Think about it:
  • Hours of our day disappear
  • We create a façade, becoming whoever we want to be.
  • In the effort to “be real” with one another, we tell people every little detail about ourselves that, honestly, they don’t need to know.
  • We no longer have close friends. Everyone becomes our “best friend” and we spill our problems publicly.
  • With the excuse that we “socialize more” through them, we play games and constantly bombard each other with notifications while wasting our time.
  • We lose the ability to interact in person and would rather message one another.
  • We spend more time posting a picture of what we are doing than actually doing it.
  • We can no longer deal with boredom. It drives us crazy.
All of these things are major problems. We, as a society, are feeding our little Monsters. And the more we feed them, the hungrier they get and the bigger they grow.

I guess this may bother me more than most partially because, as a missionary kid, I have been a “public figure” for most of my life. Everyone knows everything about me and everything I’m doing. If I don’t post, people begin to wonder if I have fallen off the face of the earth. People I don’t even know keep up with me, watching me, expecting me to be a good role model even in the internet world. That’s a lot of pressure.

But on a more internal note, Facebook creates in me a need to know what everyone is doing. When you get right down to it, it’s basically an addiction to gossip. Think about it- instead of everyone talking about us behind our backs, we talk about ourselves and supply the information- both good and bad. It’s inverted gossip! Facebook also dampens my creativity because instead of alleviating boredom by creating something, I turn to Facebook. My “boredom span” is growing short and shorter.

Therefore I’m on Facebook more.

Therefore I don’t create.

So please forgive me, friends and distant relatives, if you find yourselves no longer on my “friends list” within the next few months. It’s not that I don’t want to be friends with you or want to be rude. It’s because I need to do what God is calling me to do- create. And I can’t do that if I’m keeping up with you. If you still want to keep up with me, please feel free to follow me on either of my pages, this blog, Goodreads, or Twitter. I’ll even post something “publicly” from time to time. And send me a message or e-mail! I’d be happy to respond and give you an update.

How is social media affecting your life? Is there anything that it prevents you from doing?

Think about it.

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