Finally! I get to talk about social media! (And hopefully I will come up with a better title soon)
For those of you who know me personally, you know I hate social media. That always shocks people and I feel like a lot of people don’t get the backstory or reasons why. So I figured, why not do a post?
Ok in complete honesty, that’s only a little part of why I am doing this post. February 9 actually marks one month of me having an Instagram and Facebook account (still working on doing a business page for this blog). So I figured why not do a post about my experience.
Why I Hate Social Media
Technology has advanced a lot over the last ten years. It’s so insane (and kinda scary) how fast things advance!
Recently, I had the honor of helping my youth group pastor and youth group pastor’s intern/my friend write the message they did on this very same topic, social media. As soon as they had announced the topic, I offered to help and I said some of these very same things I am going to share with you.
I always got surprised looks when anyone found out I didn’t have a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Whenever someone asked me why I would always answer “Because I don’t need to know every single thing you are doing (every single second of the day) and you don’t need to know what I’m doing.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to know what you ate for breakfast every day of this week. Or that you got a new piece of clothing. Or that you just ate out at McDonald’s. This is why I HATE Snapchat and Insta stories. That just puts the focus on you. The focus shouldn’t be on you. It’s not all about you. It’s never been all about you. Too many people think too much about what should be their next hashtag or caption. Or what the best pose would be for a picture. Or how often they should post. Or how they can go about posting to get as many likes as possible. It doesn’t matter! And frankly, I don’t care, and neither do a lot of people watching your stories.
Note: It doesn’t matter how many likes you get on a photo or how many friends you have on Facebook or how many followers you have. One thing that always stuck with me is “It doesn’t matter how many followers you have. Hitler had millions; Jesus had 12.”
Sometimes liking a photo a friend posted becomes a task because they like your photos. Isn’t it sad when your posts become something that someone else doesn’t even see important enough to look at? I was told after I got an Instagram that when someone follows you it is courtesy to follow them back. What the heck? I don’t care what courtesy is, I am not going to follow everyone who follows me, and definitely not doing it for more likes on things I post, which you or a lot of you know do.
For the people who do care about everything everyone else is doing or saying, all you want is the latest gossip. You want to know and be involved in everything. That puts the focus on everyone else’s lives and what they are doing. It often makes people envious of others. But really you should be worried about your own actions and what you are doing. Are you keeping your head on straight? Are you staying out of gossip? Are you following what God has told you to do? Those are way more important than worrying about what someone else ate for dinner or went shopping at.
Actively engage with others. It’s not going to hurt you. When you have your phone out it means you care more about your phone than you do that person. And for those who feel they can’t connect with people will turn to their phones. Believe me. I know. It’s something I have experienced and deal with. Both sides can change that.
Why I Have Social Media
If I hate social media so much, why do I have it? That’s the question you’re probably asking if you have made it this far in the post.
See, I saw a lot of the people I knew, friends, family, acquaintances, getting sucked into that world and I didn’t want to be one of them. Someone could say well then I should control myself. But I saw what it did to people. It’s addicting and I didn’t want to put myself in that position.
I got an Instagram and Facebook account for this blog. I wanted to get the word out. At first I had been greatly opposed to this idea. I didn’t think I needed social media to grow my blog and I still don’t truly believe I do. But I went for it anyway. I had to face that social media was consuming the world and if I wanted to reach the world I had to use it.
There is Girl Meets World episode that comes to mind. Girl Meets World is a great show by the way and I was so sad when they cancelled it! In season 3, episode 3, “Girl Meets Jexica,” the main characters, who have just started high school, have joined the social network. In that episode, Cory, the teacher and one of the main character’s father (He is also the main character of Boy Meets World), says this
“A social network is something that has its roots firmly planted in out history. Cave paintings, stone tablets, scrolls and papyrus leaves, they all help decode what went in on a society.”*
He goes on to ask, “Now what are historians in the future gonna use to help determine who we were?” It’s such a important question and it definitely got my attention. Cory tells the call that no one will know that we were more than some dancing cat video if that’s what gets a billion views. (I totally recommend watching that episode and that show.)
You see what we post and what we like shapes what others will see in the future. Many people don’t pay attention or give a lot of attention to the important topics and issues. And when there is attention given, it is often negative.
I wanted to give an example of what social media accounts should look like. No, I’m not saying I’m perfect, and I’m not saying I will do this perfectly. But it should be about honoring others, capturing milestones (eating breakfast is not a milestone), and spreading God’s word and His love. That’s what people should see.
My experience is that there is a lot of stuff I just scroll through. There are just too many political rants, expecially on Facebook, and that’s not what I what to fill my mind with. So I don’t. And I don’t just like an Instagram post because my friend posted it. I look at it and look at the captions and if it is something I support, I will like it. If not, I don’t. Simple as that.
I still have yet to make a business page for my blog but it will be coming soon!
I Have To Admit, there are perks…
I’ve gotten to meet new people and connect with people I hadn’t seen and/or talked to in a while. I love that.
And If You Really Want To Know…
Ok I get it. There are times when you really want to see what someone else is doing and catch up with someone. Ok that’s fine. Text them. Call them. Talk to them. Hang out with them. No need to stalk them or stop communicating with them. Communication is a good thing and phone calls go a long way.
Electronics control you if you let it. Don’t let it. We have to be careful of what we let in because the devil knows how to mess with you. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Why give him the tools to do so?
Let people see the real you, not who you are behind a screen. Let people see you for who you are. Open your eyes and see what God has for you and what He has created you to be. Never be ashamed of that.
The bottom line is technology is amoral; it is neither good or bad. It all depends on how you use it and what you use it for. Social media and technology is a tool, it should be used for the right thing. In the end, it’s what you do with it that counts.
Here are some guidelines that I wanted to leave with you to help you when using social media:
- Don’t post anything in the heat of the moment. Acting on emotions (anger, sadness) can cause you a lot of heartache. You may post something and later regret it. It’s not the same as when you say it to someone in person, you can apologize for that. But when you post it, it’s out there for the world to see and it never goes away after that. Ever. Even if you think you deleted it. Colleges, employers, they all look at this stuff.
- Don’t share your personal information. Never have your address or where you live out in the open. If someone was looking for you, they could find you by looking at your social media accounts. Be careful of what you share.
- Don’t post inappropriate or compromising pics of yourself. Many people could use it as blackmail and you may never know that someone saved it until they try to use it against you.
- Promote yourself. Show your talents (photography, art, writing, music). Since colleges and employers are looking at your accounts, show what you can do.
- Honor others. Honor the people in your life. Don’t make it all about you.
Christians, you represent Jesus. Represent right. Are you going to be the reason someone turned to Christ? Or are you going to be the reason they turned away?
*Girl Meets World quote is taken directly from the show. I do not own or claim to own any rights to the show. I quoted it purely for example.