Social media. It’s a wonderful invention, isn’t it? All you have to do is whip out your phone, and you are able to contact whomever you want, whenever you want. Without a doubt, there are numerous benefits to technology: the speed of communication, the ability to stay in touch with those who live at a distance, the ease of keeping up with current events. However, as with most modern technology, there is a serious downside to it which we cannot ignore.
Our world has grown increasingly artificial. What happened to the days when people relied on face-to-face interaction to build relationships with people? Sometimes, we begin to lose sight of who our real friends are, and they may not always be the ones who ‘like’ our Facebook posts. We start to feel closer to the people whose lives we watch on our phones than the ones who live around us.
There is a security in the world of social media. When we interact with others in person, they can see all our sins and struggles, the things we would most like to hide from the public eye. Not so with social media. On the internet we have the power to portray ourselves exactly how we want to. On one hand, we can open ourselves up on social media, showing our lives to be picture perfect, the ideal image everyone should strive for. On the other hand, we can show the messy side of our lives, spilling our guts to the world in order to receive encouragement and affirmation from our online friends.
Regardless of what approach we take, we are still painting a picture of our lives: a carefully crafted image which others view and use as the basis of their knowledge of us: how we live, how we look, what our personalities are like, etc. The problem is that this world we design for ourselves is artificial. The real world is the one we get back to when we put down our phones, yet that is the ones we often neglect because of the distraction of our fake world.
It’s easy to ignore the negative impact social media has on our relationships with those around us. Think about how much time is spent on social media that could be spent in actually investing in other people, in sitting down with them and having real conversations, getting to know who they really are, not what their Facebook profiles tell us about them. How can we truly enjoy spending time with our family and friends if we are too busy updating our every move on Facebook? How can we soak in the beauty of God’s creation if we are focused on trying to capture it for our Instagram followers? How can we converse with the people who live with us if we’re messaging the ones who don’t? People are real. They need to be talked to in real life, not just through our phones. God’s creation is made for us to appreciate and love, but we miss out when we only view it on a screen.
Imagine what it would be like to break free from our social media worlds, and shift our focus to the real world. Imagine what it would be like to live in the here and now, working to make a difference in the lives of those who are closest to us. Imagine what it would be like to be in control of how our time is spent, instead of being in bondage to our phones. This is not to say that all social media is bad and that we should completely cut it out of our lives. Rather, we should consider how much time we spend using it on a daily basis and seek to limit it.
You can’t put a price on time. It’s there; and then, it’s gone. Think about all the hours you have wasted online, and what you could have done instead if you hadn’t allowed yourself to be sucked into the artificial world of virtual interaction. Habits may die hard, but they can be broken if you ask God to help you prioritize your time and make every moment count in the life that He has given you.