To hear some people talk, you would think sins like narcissism, gossip, slander, and even adultery hardly existed before the advent of social media. Somehow Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever other social media outlet you wish to name are the greatest ills of our society, or at least they’re the culprits that opened the door to the greatest ills.
But as a wise man once said, “There is no new thing under the sun.” No matter the era, no matter the available technology, people are the same way they’ve always been. We are born with a sinful nature and whether it’s via social media or a cell phone or one-on-one conversation, that sinful nature is sure to reveal itself somewhere.
Sometimes the knee-jerk reaction is to blame the sin on the outlet, rather than the source, which is hardly a modern mistake. I have no doubt there were people who insisted the invention of the telephone would lead to the destruction of society. And I’ve actually found sermon excerpts from the early 1900s labeling the automobile as an abomination. Seriously. After all, it enabled people to “run to and fro” and was “highly esteemed of men”.
Because people tend to fear and condemn what they cannot fully understand or control. Blanket condemnation of new technologies is always easier than teaching people to use those technologies wisely and then granting them the right, (and the responsibility,) to discern for themselves. Like it or not, social media is here to stay and attempting to use it for good makes far more sense than denouncing it because some people choose not to use it wisely.
Personally, I am fascinated at the wonders of social media. Is it abused sometimes? Yes. Is it sometimes a vehicle for lies and gossip? Certainly.
But can a car take someone to the smutty corner nightclub? Yep. Can it be the getaway vehicle after a bank robbery? Sure can!
So what’s the connection between the two? The invention is not the problem: The problem is the DRIVER.
In spite of its misuse by some, there are some amazing and wonderful things about social media.
Social media is a remarkable way of keeping up with current events.
The news media no longer has a monopoly on the spread of information. (That’s reason enough to love social media!) Thanks to outlets like Facebook and Twitter, news of events is instant, more complete, and not limited to a certain viewpoint or political slant. I love being able to read about an event as it happens through the posts of both news organizations and eyewitnesses.
And, hey, I’ll never forget the first time I followed a series of potential tornadoes on the Facebook page of a local weather station. It was incredible — the local meteorologist making constant updates and followers posting pictures or descriptions of what they were seeing in their areas. I can’t imagine a better way to stay informed, (and safe!) in an emergency situation such as that.
It provides access to boatloads of information.
Thanks to social media, I can get regular updates from people, places, and businesses that are of interest to me. I can learn about special sales that save me money or events I want to participate in. I can be a part of a virtual homeschooling, blogging, parenting, homesteading, or Japanese curling champions group, (totally kidding about that last one,) where I can ask questions and find answers. I also have access to blog posts, articles, and informative videos I likely wouldn’t encounter otherwise.
Social media is a great way to get the word out.
The very thing that seems to petrify people most about social media is the same thing I consider one its greatest attributes. News can spread like wildfire on social media outlets, so if you’re trying to promote a cause, organize a fundraiser, or share a prayer request, there’s no better way to do it than by taking to social media.
And while I hear a lot about the negativity spread on these outlets, it’s amazing to me the good things that go viral on social media.
It’s a means of connecting with people I could be in contact with no other way.
Just being honest here, but it’s a lot easier to be critical of social media if all your family and closest friends live fairly close by. My husband, however, is Hawaiian and still has lots of family in the Aloha State. Social media makes it possible for him to keep in touch with family that lives over 4,000 miles away. I can only imagine the kind of blessing social media is to missionaries and to military families who have to be separated sometimes for months or even years.
And let me add, too, that both my husband and I have been contacted by people from our past who were seeking God and needing help, some of whom had literally hit rock bottom in their lives. In these cases there was no other way for these people to find us than through social media. I sure am glad that door of contact was open!
Touching others, even in the smallest ways, is now so easy.
The quick, easy way of touching others, of keeping contact, of staying at least somewhat involved on a personal level, is so convenient and wonderful. And how funny that I’ve met face-to-face with people I hadn’t seen in 15 years and yet conversation between us was easy! Why? Because we were acquainted with one another’s lives through Facebook!
I love being able to drop in and say hello, leave an encouraging word, or send a quick message. Listen, I’m a homeschooling mom to four kids: Telephone conversations aren’t always easy for me and I don’t have the phone number of everybody I know anyway! How amazing that I always have an easy way of dropping in and saying hi, offering a word of encouragement, or just keeping a door of communication and friendship open, even with people I’m not necessarily close to, and ones I don’t see often or at all.
Social media is a marvel. I would rather take advantage of its benefits and influence my friends and followers for good than bemoan the aspects of technology I can’t control. Social media has the potential to be a blessing, both to me and to others. Why would I not want to take advantage of that?
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