This may not be the most popular of posts. I’m choosing to write it with that full understanding. You see, I’ve been reading a lot of articles, seeing cleverly done videos and impassioned views about awful/terrible/horrible social media. But, honestly, I beg to differ.
Social media has been a tremendous blessing in my life and I enjoy it very much. I have re-connected with former foster children, cousins I’d lost touch with and my lovely college roommates. Because of social media I get to peek into the windows of the lives of people I love but am many miles away from. Through social media I have developed real relationships with real people in other countries and places I have never been. I have been able to minister to, share devotions, teach, pray for, inspire, encourage, advise and connect with people that my present season as a homeschooling, stay at home #momofmany would never have allowed me to.
Can social media be bad? Well, not really. No more than a gun can be bad in it’s own right. Used properly, it can be a wonderful tool to accomplish a worthy purpose. In the hands of a foolish person, social media can be a travesty, a waste, destructive and dangerous – as could a gun, a club, a wrench or words being spewed out from a hateful tongue in person.
The problem is not any of these things, it is the people using them. Some people get carried away. They get angry. They have no sense of discretion. They may not practice common sense, common kindness or common decency. People can take what could be a useful thing and misuse it until society is in an uproar about it. People, you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them.
As a foster mother for fifteen years and now the adoptive mother of seven, I have been able to draw on resources such as blogs and chat groups who were facing similar circumstances that my ‘real life’ friends and family had no experience with. I was not shutting out the world, I was expanding my world. As a writer, I have gleaned so much from support groups and web pages, it is immeasurable.
The real culprit here is not social media. There is a deeper matter here that needs attending to. It is a matter of the heart. If you are ignoring your children to chat with internet buddies, stop it. But, understand this, if you had no internet, you may still do the same thing. If a person is intent on avoiding their real life they will find a way to do so. There are many ways to escape. In the past there were moms who escaped into the fantasy world of soap operas. How about books? You can hide there too. Working extra hours? Over committed at church? Such a busy schedule that you never see those you are avoiding? Drugs? Alcohol? If you are determined to escape reality, you’ll find your tool, but don’t blame the tool.
Moderation seems to be an almost obsolete concept. Moderation is a Biblical concept and for those who call ourselves Christians, it should be a healthy goal to strive for. When applied to the way we live our lives it keeps us out of the ditches of extreme behavior and extreme consequences.
If you have gotten carried away with your use of social media or your consumption of chocolate bars, develop a strategy to address it. But, don’t get on social media and tell people how bad social media is. Does anyone else see the irony in this? Don’t tell people to put down their phones, put down yours if you need to. Demonstrate moderation. Be an example of doing it right. If you are going to have a Facebook page or a shotgun. Learn to use it properly and practice safety measures. But, don’t tell me I shouldn’t have one because you don’t know how to use one.