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Social Media detox and other stuff

Katy posted on her blog that she is going to try the social media detox for April. I guess you follow the calendar she has which details when you should or should not consume social media. I wish her lots of luck on that.

As I think about it I believe that I consume social media in an effort to fill in my free time spaces. In other words, instead of doing something constructive with my brain I scroll mindlessly through my Facebook newsfeed or MeWe or whatever other portal I might have an account on. I have always said that social media is like mind candy. There is a psychological appeal for people to spend more and more time on social media which causes an unhealthy addiction.

Just this Saturday I was at a meeting at church for one of our ministry teams. Before the meeting began there were more people staring at their cell phones than not. I assumed that most of them were consuming social media posts. I made a mention of it and everyone just laughed and kept staring at their phones. While this has become a cultural norm in America I feel as if it is rude when you are in a group setting. The whole point of coming together in a group setting is to exchange information and ideas with one another in a personal way.

I am just as guilty of this as the next person. I am trying to become more self aware and put the cell phone down and ignore it while I am out in public with others. Katy and I will go out to eat and both of us wind up staring at our cell phones. One of us will be on Facebook or one of us will be reading a book on our kindle reader. Sometimes we put down our devices and talk and then sometimes we give each other permission to do it.

I remember a time when there were no social media portals. If you wanted to talk to someone you had to pick up the phone and call them or write them a letter. One of my pastors from a church we used to attend told me that some people are wired for more fellowship than others. I am talking about one on one interaction with others via the spoken word. There is no substitution for that type of communication. It is more personal and intimate than typing out a message and posting it on social media.

Typically at church there is 10 or 15 minutes before the service where people can walk around and talk with one another. During the week you do not see your church family and before social media took over if you wanted to chat with a church member you would either find time to go visit them or pick up the phone. Now we just post our life events on social media and connect with people digitally.

There are times when I will go to church or another social setting and I will ask someone if they heard about something that had happened that week. Most people are like sure, I saw you posted about that on Facebook. Some people will say, I am not on Facebook that much so I guess I missed that. Tell me what happened. When that happens you understand how different it is for people to not be digitally connected. Not being so digitally connected might mean that the quality of life for the person who is disconnected may have increased for them.

I understand the convenience of using social media to connect with family and friends who are far removed due to being in another state or country. It does make it more convenient to stay in touch. I believe that when we go the extra mile and write an email or letter or pick up the phone that it increases the quality of the relationship. It helps us to separate ourselves from the digital noise and helps us to focus on relationships that are more important to us.

When it comes to social media I think that we get trapped into believing what we read is factual and real. If it is posted on the Internet it has to be real, right? More often than not, if you do some fact checking you will find that what you are reading might not be real but instead fake news.

No matter where you are on on the political spectrum everyone spins their stories to fit their agenda. Sometimes the stories have no basis in reality. It is just the figment of that persons imagination. It is fake news and it is deisgned to polarize us against one another. Just more digital noise to get people stirred up and angry. I have found that if you remove yourself from that digital noise and fake news you find out that people do not hate one another as much as the Internet pundits would make you think we do.

Also, lets not forget the clever memes that we love to share on Facebook. The memes do the thinking for us and have cleverly crafted words that are there to project a thought or ideology. It is so easy to. jump on the emotional rollercoaster and share them with all of our friends. I am just as guilty as the next person for doing this.

Instead of filling up our digital corridors with memes and messages designed to stir the pot maybe we should be more objective about the social issues we are talking about and come up with some real solutions. I would like to see people stop taking the me vs them attitude and come together to identify the problem and see how can work together to find a compromise or solution.

 

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