Unfortunately, I am late linking up at WLW, but that's okay because as I've been pondering something that took me until today to make a very important decision.
Social media means a lot to me as a missionary. My family and life-long friends live on the other side of the world from me. Letter writing is okay, but it takes a minimum of 10 days to receive a letter or a postcard, and international calls are horrifically expensive. Before my parents had Skype, we would talk once or twice a month, at the most. Now, we chat quite a bit more often than that - and we actually get to see one another.
Facebook has been great for this as well. I have actually been able to locate many friends on Facebook that I had lost contact with years ago. Moving around does that. Often times, all the good intentions in the world to write and keep in touch never pan out - and after a few years you lose contact with people you genuinely love. Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with people you no longer live near.
However, there is a downside to social media.
It can eat up so much of your time.
Honestly, 95% of what I read on Facebook has absolutely nothing to do with me at all. "Staying in touch" with friends often translates as: reading about the fact that they had a Big Mac today, are going to a football game tomorrow, or that they are "at Dairy Queen with so-and-so". More often than not we are no more "in touch" than we were before - the difference is that I just know what they are doing every 1/2 hour or so.
And that can get addicting.
And I pretty much only talk about Facebook, because I don't have Twitter. I have tried it a few times and just don't really get all the hoopla. I officially have an account on Google+ that I have never used - and don't really plan on it. They are just two more ways of keeping me on here and away from my family.
It grows very addicting to see what your friends are doing, wearing, who they are with, and laughing at the witty things they say. It also grows addicting dreaming up some very smart status update or posting a cute picture of your kids and then waiting for people to respond. I have also found Facebook like a vortex that sucks you into senseless debates. I recently joined a group with all my former Bible School classmates (along with mates before and after I attended), and got sucked into a few debates like that. I've been sucked into (and have started) several political and theological debates. Again - complete time wasters.
But worst of all is when you visit a friend's page and notice that they like music groups, TV shows, and movies that you would never approve of. Make comments using pseudo-swearing (OM*, etc), actual swearing, or participate in activities you find distasteful. Enter disillusioned here.
Social media is a double-edged sword. It opens ways for people to stay in touch with one another much more easily, and more affordably, than before. And yet it often gives us a sense of false security about sharing close and personal things about our lives we may not have otherwise shared with the rest of the universe. It also gives us a false sense of knowing others on a much deeper level without really getting to know them at all - making us susceptible to disappointment an disillusionment when we realize that they are not the person we had imagined.
This is not to say that social media is wrong. But one must proceed with much caution, discipline, and great maturity.
That said, I have decided to take a break from Facebook for a season. The reasons are very personal - and I don't wish to share them with anyone at this point, if ever. I am not sure how long I'll this season will be, its a decision I've been pondering for a while, and I know its best for me right now.
My email and Skype addresses are here and on my Facebook page for those who would like to contact me.
Linking up at:
Thank you for sharing...