The Use and Abuse of Social Media
Keeping Social In Check
The widespread use and popularity of social media has comes with a price tag. For every upside of sites like Facebook there are at least as many countering downsides to the world of virtual friendship and reality. Mark Zuckerburg, founder and CEO of the social media giant Facebook has already set his sites on virtual reality, but I would argue it already exists. The truth is virtual reality is what the network Facebook has been all along. Here are a few thoughts to keep the world of social interaction online in check.
Real community comes through face to face relationships.
Facebook never will take the place of face to face communication or genuine community. Call me old fashioned but if I don't know you offline I don't want to friend you online. Especially people locally or in my church. Social media is an extension of real life relationships, not a replacement. Facebook doesn't take the place of real relationships it enhances them and provides an avenue to stay connected and easily communicate.
I hope I am not the first to break it to you that people only put their best foot forward on social media. You don't have the full story of anyone's life. You're seeing the highlight reel not the actual story. You're seeing the mountain top experiences and the valley's are left offline. This of course is to be expected, no one is going to share their intimate details on Facebook.
No one is posting about their struggles, pains, or problems. But you can be sure they are there, you'll just actually need to really friend someone to know about them so you can care about them.
Your social media stream is a filtered reality. So much so that apps like Instagram have become popular because of the build in capability of altering reality. The visual enhancements can make a mundane ordinary photo look sublime. Take an ordinary day at the park and make it look earth shaking with a filter of new reality. I am all about new technology and frankly I enjoy the use of filtered photography and lighting but take what you see with a grain of salt. Its a filtered reality.
If you have something to say to one of your friends, please don't take to a social media network and spread your issue with one person to all people. Have the integrity to talk to the person face to face. Social media isn't meant for subliminal messages and code language. The Bible is pretty clear on face to face communication is the way to go. Nothing will change that.
In conclusion social media/Facebook was never meant to take the place of real life relationships. If it has you've missed the point, sorely. Getting to know people for who they actually are is more difficult than browsing someone's photo stream and making presumptions and assumptions of someone else's life when you really have a tiny sliver of the story. Real relationships take time and energy to build and are often much messier and more involved than the ease of virtual relationships, filtered and at arm's length. That's probably why we love social media so much. It's easier but the price is ultimately much higher.