In constant pursuit of coffee and Christ

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Social Media Part 2 - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

In my first post regarding social media, I tell you about the weekend we un-installed ourselves from all social media. For the full story check out Social Media Part 1 - Our Weekend Without.

The Good

Social media, Facebook specifically, is an amazing tool for staying connected with friends and family. Ben and I don't have huge families, but we are spread all over the world. We have close friends and family in Oregon, Tennessee, Georgia, California, New York, Arizona, England, Latvia... the list goes on. Without Facebook we would not be able to stay nearly as connected to these loved ones as we do. Testament to the power social media holds is when Bens cousin, whom I had not met yet, stopped by our house on her way to NY from OR. "I feel like I know you so well already because of Facebook" she said.

Memory sharing has been made incredibly simple. Have a picture with several friends? No problem, tag them and they automatically have access to the photo as well. Celebrate a significant event with family and friends? Tag them in your status and you can all share together.

Because of networks such as Facebook, Instaram, and Twitter small, perhaps unknown, businesses have the means necessary to promote and spread awareness of their existence, for little to no charge. What an amazing tool! These businesses can then connect and learn from others in their arena and continue to grow and become known. The degree of separation has dropped and continues to drop, significantly!

Through the powers of social media there is not one single person who should ever feel alone. Despite your interests, genetics, etc. you have the ability to connect with others similar to you. Seriously. Several years ago my husband decided to create the group 'Ben Potters of the World Unite' and if there is a Ben Potter on Facebook, and they know the group exists, they're in it. Why? Because they are the Ben Potters of the world, and they've united. I don't know, I am not a Ben Potter. There are several of the other BP's that he has made more personal connections with over the years, whether through common interests or the simple fact that most of us are now at an age where we are becoming parents and are blowing up news feeds with pictures, video, and statuses all about our little monsters.

Pinterest is a fabulous way to sort, organize, and share all your creative thoughts, recipes, DIY projects, etc., without having to mess with paper clippings and filling your house with peg boards. My goodness, can you imagine if you had to pin everything in real life that you have virtually? Not only would it take significantly more time but what a mess!

What we have available to us is an amazingly diverse way in which to stay connected and be a positive influence in the lives of others.

The Bad

Obviously, social media takes time out of our day, significantly more time than we should be dedicating to something that, in all reality, we have, can, and at times should, live without. We spend so much time catching up on what is happening in other peoples lives that we miss what is happening in our own. Take time to unplug. Get home from work and put your phone away, you'll hear it should you actually get a phone call. Shock everyone when you're fully present at family events in place of playing on your phone.

Like most everyone else I know, I have the Bible app on my phone, and it truly is fantastic. How is this bad? I can remember seeing my parents reading their Bibles as a child, there was no question in what they were doing. Seeing them reading made me want to read mine too, so I would. What example am I setting to my children if they never see me reading the actual Book? There is no way for them to know if I'm reading the Bible, playing Words With Friends, or going pin crazy on Pinterest, and that's not OK with me. I want them to grow up seeing me with my nose buried deep in scripture, hopefully inspiring them to do the same.

The Ugly

Social media tends to get a bad rap, especially from those who, perhaps, don't truly understand its purpose. Of course, just like everything else, this reputation stems from those who misuse/abuse the system. You know the type of person I'm talking about. There is a time and place for social media; places such as work, church, driving, family meals, dates, weddings, funerals, etc. are not it.

Along with there being a time and place, there are also appropriate topics of discussion and inappropriate topics. Freedom of speech is an amazingly important and beautiful thing, there are those that take this freedom way too far though. Angry with your husband? Take it up with him and leave us out of it. Having family drama? The world doesn't need to know, focus on how to resolve the issues and love on your family. 

One of the worst things I have seen social media provide is the ability for people to put their noses where they have no business being. You are entitled to your opinion, however, when you start stating your personal opinions as if they are factual... then we have problems, potentially, big problems. 

Whatever happened to "if you can't say something nice, say nothing at all"? Speaking the truth in love doesn't mean you can say whatever you want with a smile on your face or by the addition of a heart emoji. We are instructed to restore that person gently not advertise what we feel they have done wrong to all our social media buddies. How much less drama there would be if people would realize that not everything needs to be said! Not everyone needs to stay in your life either, we are given clear direction as to how to handle those who have sinned/sinned against us, and it does not involve lengthy status updates. 

Let's all make the decision to be more present in our own lives, in our own present. We only get one here and now, let's not spend all of it browsing social media. 

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