The Right Social Media Relationship
It is obvious that social media has become integrated into every facet of our lives. Personal, professional, friends, family, love, politics, spirituality…there is not one aspect that this medium does not come in contact with. Make no mistake; social media in all its many forms is a tool. It is really up to us to determine if we control the tool or if the tool controls us.
There are many positive aspects of social media. It opens and connects us with people and cultures we may have otherwise only had a passing knowledge of. We are able to give and receive advice, recipes, “life hacks,” and DIY tips. We can keep up with family and friends across the globe simply with a press of an app on our phones, and we have information available to us every moment. Our huge world becomes no more than an iPhone away.
Unfortunately, there are also negatives to social media that cannot be ignored. The popularity of social media has led to the rise of cyberbullying, trolling, and the keyboard warrior. Comparison is rampant as we forget the reality behind the post and causes us to diminish our lives and place in the world. One particular negative attribute that I feel tends to be ignored, is what I call the “Christmas Card Effect” of social media. The “Christmas Card Effect” is simply constantly giving superficial updates. (i.e. Susie got all A’s, Jerome broke his arm, etc.)
I believe social media has caused us to become so superficially connected, we have lost the desire to dig deeper with the people we know. We say to ourselves “I know what so-and-so is doing, so I don’t reach out to connect further.” We do not have those small talks that lead to larger conversations because we see the small talk bullet points posted every day. But the truth is, we need deep relationships!
I am not saying that staying connected through social media is bad, but we cannot have those relationships be the standard. We cannot allow mass connection supplement the deeper relationships, 1,000 superficial social media friends will never equal the one or two true close friends we connect with.
We are relational beings. Our God is a relational God; He wants a relationship, a close relationship with us. And in turn, He wants us to have that with others. All the way back in Genesis, God stated we were not to be alone. Genesis 2:18
So, what did He do for a relationship with us? John 3:16. The desire our Father has for a close, everlasting relationship with us is so great that He sent Jesus to die for our sins. And Jesus’ desire to see that relationship fulfilled is so great that He willingly gave His life to make sure it was attainable. That is how important relationships are to our Father.
Now the question is, what do we do knowing we serve a relational God and knowing He wants us to strive to be more like Him? The answer is both easy and difficult at the same time… put yourself out there and start building relationships!
My challenge to all of us this week is this…
Find one or two people on social media that you have not talked to in a while or don’t really know that well and direct message them. Ask them how they are doing, really make an effort to know, get into details, go deeper in the conversations. Go beyond the posts. Even if you say “Hey, I was thinking about you! Hope that you are doing well and the week is treating you kindly!”
We need to start using social media as a tool to build up and strengthen real relationships. No more trolling, no more comparisons, no more depression. One profile at a time we can bring a light to those online as much as those in the “real” world. Every time you log on, think “what relationship can I strengthen today?” It may not always work out the way you plan, but for those that you do connect with, God has a reason!