January 27, 2015

Social Media and TMI

I think its safe to say that most people the world over are connected in some way to the internet.  Believe-it-or-not I can remember when the internet was a novelty.  I was still in college and had to ask some fellow students what was "internet."  I had no idea what they were talking about when they began to explain how to type in a URL address.

I spent many hours at the library computer lab teaching myself how to get around the "web".  The main search engines I remember were Yahoo, Google, and Ask Jeeves. I really picked up the concept of email pretty quick because that was how all the professors were asking students to contact them.

It seems like another life time ago now.  Today I don't think twice about internet searches and emails and twitter and Facebook and Youtube.  There is soooo much to do online, am I right?

And as wonderful as the internet and sharing information can be it is a double-edged sword. Especially when I see how reliant so many people are with social media.  As a teacher I see so many kids and even college students completely incapable of setting down their smart phones or smart pads.  Or if they do set them down they are constantly glancing at their devices to check if someone updated their Facebook status yet.  Honestly, does a 4th grader really need a blackberry?

Its as if we have opened Pandora's Box.  " Pay attention to me!" That's what the message really means when people snap selfies and post them online.  " Look what I did or where I've been/am!"  And then there are the articles and posts filled with opinions.  Everyone becomes a critic and an authority in anything and everything... including this post.  *sigh* See what I mean?

Don't misunderstand me.  I do see good things too like people coming together to raise support for a good cause or creating prayer chains.  Those are great ways to use the internet and social media.

But in general there is too much information.  And by that I mean people are being exposed to too much and becoming increasingly pessimistic. There is so much negative news and sensationalized news about events all over the world.  I honestly don't believe that people were ever meant to know about all the bad things happening the world over.  Its simply too much.

But we our enticed to soak in more and more with the idea that we must remain informed of current events. Could all of this be a way for modern man to try and push God out of the driver's seat? Has knowledge become the modern Tower of Babel?  It seems that mankind wants to believe that through knowing we can have power and control over our lives.  But the truth is that we don't.

The internet and social media have become a drug that either sedates or incites the masses.  It is becoming more and more the tool of choice to manipulate.  And it has become a place where people socialize and fantasize to the point that they no longer know how to have a face-to-face conversation.  Friends don't call or visit anymore they just glance at your Facebook status and have their fill of you.  Its all so sad!

Let me end this post with a few challenges:

For anyone on Facebook try for one month to physically visit with any "friend" whose status you check.  And when you do, don't spend that time checking your smartphone.

For those of you who are news junkies limit your feed to only three articles/news stories for one week.

For those of you addicted to writing posts pull back to writing once a week or less for one month.

The point I want to make is that we don't realize how much time we waste online.  What could we be doing for the Lord during that time instead?  Is there a neighbor who needs a ride to the grocery store?  Do you know someone who needs to visit the pharmacy or doctor office?  Perhaps there is someone at the hospital or at a nursing home.

Do something that requires you to physically be involved and present for the sake of others.  It may take some practice if you don't already do this.  But that's okay!  Practice.  Do little things until they are habitual for you.  The Lord will lead you in how He wants to use your life to be a blessing to others.

I wish you success!

~ Sincerity
" ... dear brothers and sisters, never tire of doing good."
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:13

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