Social media was one of the key factors that caused division in my past relationship.
A desire to be seen and known by me was replaced by a greater desire to be seen & known by others, by strangers, by "followers."
Cultivating emotional intimacy in our relationship was replaced with cultivating popularity to the unknown faces of a thousand user names.
Until that time I had no idea of the destructiveness that social media could bring.
Social media is described in this article by Tony Reinke as a "drug we prescribe and consume in order to regulate our emotional life."
I immediately had to ask the question, "Do I prescribe this drug to myself? Am I under its power to become addicted to being "known" and seen and affirmed?"
I've been up and down in the social media world.
I've gone months without it, I've deleted it, I've practiced discipline with how much I was using it, & I've also been addicted to it. I've experienced destructiveness at the hands of it & I've also allowed its drug-like power into my own life.
"The allure of social media is the desire to be seen, omnisciently seen, if not always affirmed, at least always put in view of others." (Tony Reinke)
If the power of social media is such, and as followers of Christ, does that mean we should approach the use of social media gingerly, carefully, cautiously, & sober-mindedly? Does it mean we are better off using it sparingly & purposefully?
As Christians we know that to seek our fulfillment by anything besides Christ is not only wrong, but it cannot deliver what we seek.
The longer I use social media & the more I see its effects on myself & others, the more I believe that we should be wary of it & consider it like a type of drug to be handled carefully & with caution.
I believe that it can be used for great good but more often than not it becomes a vice & an addiction to secure the things only truly had through a closeness with our Savior.
"We live in perpetual fear of suddenly being seized and called to task by the infinite and would rather socialize or go to the movies until we are finally carried to our grave." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)
Is social media, or rather our growing use of it, really so serious that it effects the way we will live our lives all the way to our grave? Does it really lull us to sleep, distracting us and pacifying us with its subtle drug-like addiction?
I believe so.
Even the secular world recognizes the destruction it weilds in their lives & the lives around them. They recognize the growing rise in disconnection, dissatisfaction, depression, & comparison.
The use of social media to replace the need for Christ is nothing new. We've always struggled with it, warred against it (or not). But social media is the kind of thing that is not being recognized for its power to replace, satisfy, & fulfill the same way we are tempted to use anything else.
We are not only losing true connection with people around us but we are finding it a easier to lose connection with the Creator of that need for connection built within us only meant to be truly & ultimately satisfied in Him.
The use of social media should be approached carefully & soberly. It shouldn't be seen as harmless. The wrong use of social media has the power to numb us, isolate us, destroy relationships, & become the thing we elevate above Christ.
Social media effects our present & our future. It effects our usefulness for the Kingdom. It effects the intimacy we are or are not building with Christ. It effects our relationships, either for bad or good.
If social media has the power to destroy, we should soberly consider if its destroying us.