As an avid Android user I was pretty excited when Instagram finally came out with an application for Android phones. Although I still have my reservations about it I was excited to be part of the instagram community. I don't like to be left out of things so it felt pretty awesome to finally join something the iPhone users were all a part of.
BUT something didn't feel right.
For the past two weeks I've been feeling really overwhelmed with the amount of social media networks I've become a part of. Facebook, twitter, blogger, pinterest, instagram, linkedin, tumblr and I'm sure there are other ones that I have unknowingly joined. Last week I was debating what to do with Facebook -- whether I should give it up for good or stay on. I understand the good things about it like how it lets you stay in touch with friends around the world and it's an easy way to share what's going on in your life. But the downsides of it outweigh the positive aspects of it. After having a few conversations with different friends I was leaning more towards entirely leaving facebook in order to re-discover some things I felt I had lost.
It cheapens the way we communicate and relate to others. We all know that it can't ever replace real-life relationships but it's almost there. We no longer ask people what's new in their lives or take the time to retell our day to day lives because we've already shared it on instagram and on twitter. We have short attention spans since everything we read and look at can be done so quickly. Tweets are limited to 140 words, I can skim through all my friend's pictures from the day before in less than a minute and blogs are so easy to browse through because there's less words and more pictures (thank you to those who actually read all of this!) None of these are necessarily bad, but I felt my mind turning into mush.
We're no longer investing in people around us, but rather hoarding in all kinds of information from everyone we're connected to without really knowing them. Real relationships take time and doing inconvenient things like driving to someone, calling long distance or skyping even when its 'not your thing'. The dissonance I was going through was bugging me so much that I knew I needed to do something soon.
After reading Jeff Bethke's article on our addiction to activity, noise, facebook and twitter and listening to Pastor Christian's sermon called "Don't Get Robbed by Facebook" (which is REALLY GOOD and hilarious) I was convicted to really limit my use of these social networking websites.
Here are some main points from the sermon that shed some light to the dangers of facebook and other similar websites.
1. Facebook is addictive: somehow you lose track of time because of all the browsing you're doing through some unknown person's photo albums. The first free moment we have we get on facebook. It robs us of our TIME. Time for a confession - I was/am addicted! I wake up and turn on my phone, I check at least 10 times a day and stay on it for more than I should.
2. Facebook is enslaving: It controls us more than we control it. I know I'd wake up and check facebook, lie down before bed and go on facebook, go on facebook while I'm on vacation, while working, while walking and talking and breathing! It was my master and this is foolishness. Technology is supposed to SERVE us, not control us.
3. Facebook will rip you off and rob you without you knowing it: it robs you off peace, relationships and growth. As I mentioned before we're so used to retaining information really quickly that we're no longer reading books or having good conversations or resting our minds. I think this is how I've developed some mild form of ADD!
4. Facebook can be deceiving: it deceives you that time is well spent on facebook and that you are more connected than ever before. These can be true in some ways, but more often they aren't true. You spend endless hours on facebook when you're supposed to be doing something else and you end up feeling more lonely even though you have thousands of friends
Obviously Facebook isn't inherently all these things but the way we use them has made it pretty dangerous.
The sermon ends with a challenge to CONSECRATE Facebook through limiting how often you go on these websites. Through reading the Word and praying we're able to avoid the dangers mentioned above and ultimately have some control over these mediums.
I think it's time for me to step away from all this noise and reconnect with hearing from the Lord as there are times He speaks in a still small voice. If it means readjusting to life without facebook it's ok because hearing from the Lord is more worth than my addiction to checking up on comments and notifications every 10 minutes.
Am I the only one that feels like this? Maybe I'm just now falling behind as technology is advancing and want to resist all these changes. This is a sign of aging!
1 Kings 19:12
After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.